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M.A. Screech, 16 June 1983

Collected Works of Erasmus. Vol. V: The Correspondence of Erasmus 
edited by Peter Bietenholz, translated by R.A.B Mynors.
Toronto, 462 pp., £68.25, December 1979, 0 8020 5429 3
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Collected Works of Erasmus. Vol. XXXI: Adages Ii 1 to Iv 100 
edited by R.A.B. Mynors, translated by Margaret Mann Phillips.
Toronto, 420 pp., £51.80, December 1982, 0 8020 2373 8
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Le Disciple de Pantagruel 
edited by Guy Demerson and Christiane Lauvergnat-Gagnière.
Nizet, 98 pp.
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... on as usual. Names central to Renaissance scholarship appear on page after page – Thomas More, Peter Giles, Martin Dorpius, Pirckheimer, Amerbach, Tunstall, Lascaris, Zazius. So do the names of people for whom Erasmus scholars feel especial warmth – Grocyn, say, or William Warham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who put up with a great deal, for Erasmus ...

The Eerie One

Bee Wilson: Peter Lorre, 23 March 2006

The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre 
by Stephen Youngkin.
Kentucky, 613 pp., $39.95, September 2005, 0 8131 2360 7
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... eggs, others preferred to call them poached. Either way, any attempt to describe the appearance of Peter Lorre must deal with those eyes. What teeth are to Julia Roberts and lips to Angelina Jolie, his bulging eyes were to Peter Lorre, his unavoidable calling card and a feature quite out of proportion with the norm. He ...

Bring me another Einstein

Matthew Reisz, 22 June 2000

American Pimpernel: The Man who Saved the Artists on Hitler’s Death List 
by Andy Marino.
Hutchinson, 416 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 0 09 180053 6
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... rates and restrictions on currency movements was to deal with a crook called Kourillo, ‘a Peter Lorre character’ who was ‘barely five feet tall’ and had a handshake ‘like an empty glove’. (When Kourillo later betrayed him, Fry took out a murder contract and forced him out of Marseille.) A strange and colourful group assembled in ...

Not Just Yet

Frank Kermode: The Literature of Old Age, 13 December 2007

The Long Life 
by Helen Small.
Oxford, 346 pp., £25, December 2007, 978 0 19 922993 2
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... refer to these claims. Among the novels about which she has most to say is Death in Venice. Thomas Mann was 35 when he met the original of the boy Tadzio, whose beauty prevents Aschenbach from achieving ‘Platonic sublimation’. Consequently, Mann, with his aesthetic imperative, cannot offer ‘a primarily moral account of ...
The Nabokov-Wilson Letters, 1940-1971 
edited by Simon Karlinsky.
Weidenfeld, 346 pp., £12.50, October 1979, 0 297 77580 4
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Vladimir Nabokov: A Tribute 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 139 pp., £6.95
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... is a long list of manifest frauds and charlatans, headed by Dostoevsky and Freud. Eliot is a fake, Mann no better. In one letter, out of compassion for Wilson, he explains in some detail why Malraux is a rotten writer; but Lawrence he simply jeers away, and when Wilson put him on to Faulkner he wrote back incredulously: ‘Are you pulling my ...

Knowledge Infinite

D.J. Enright, 16 August 1990

The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... Miller reflects on the difficulty posed nowadays by the introduction of devils and hell. Thomas Mann, modern enough, has his Faustian character succumb to syphilis and madness, and evokes hell in terms, chillingly authentic, of the concentration camps. In their appearance as Romantic heroes, rebels against religious law, social convention or political ...
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
Parsifal 
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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Parsifal 
by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... sexual-pathological element, which so impressed and disturbed Thomas Mann (an authority on such matters), is one of the Parsifal problems; the issue of whether or not the work is ‘Christian’ is another. Nietzsche isolated these two problems together with a third, which is more peculiarly German: like ...

A Welcome for Foreigners

Peter Burke, 7 November 1991

The Golden Age of Painting in Spain 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 330 pp., £39.95, January 1991, 0 300 04760 6
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Spanish Paintings of the 15th through 19th Centuries 
by Jonathan Brown and Richard Mann.
National Gallery of Art, Washington/Cambridge, 165 pp., £50, April 1991, 0 521 40107 0
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... I Judge that Spain is a pious mother to foreigners and a very cruel stepmother to her own native sons,’ complained the 17th-century painter Jusepe de Ribera, a Valencian who spent most of his career working in Naples. This variation on the theme of the prophet without honour in his own country will doubtless strike a chord for many writers and artists today, from Australia to Brazil ...

Many Causes, Many Cases

Peter Hall, 28 June 1990

Confessions of a Reluctant Theorist 
by W.G. Runciman.
Harvester, 253 pp., £30, April 1990, 0 7450 0484 9
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... works of Perry Anderson, Ernest Gellner, Anthony Giddens, Geoffrey Hawthorn, Steven Lukes, Michael Mann and Runciman himself, not to mention many others, take up the challenge of the classical sociologists, often on the terrain of world history. Runciman’s own response to the question of what sociology must do is similar in scope to those of the others but ...

Enemies of All Mankind

Stephen Sedley: Pirates, 24 June 2010

The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law 
by Nigel Rodley, with Matt Pollard.
Oxford, 697 pp., £85, August 2009, 978 0 19 921507 2
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The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 295 pp., £21.95, November 2009, 978 1 890951 94 8
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The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates 
by Peter Leeson.
Princeton, 271 pp., £16.95, May 2009, 978 0 691 13747 6
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... beyond the title, one recalls that Captain Hook himself, in the prose version, lures the flying Peter Pan into using his foot instead of his dagger to deliver the coup de grâce and tumbles into the crocodile’s jaws with the gratified riposte: ‘Bad form!’ Even better, in the stage version he goes to his death with the words ‘Floreat Etona!’ on his ...

Coruscating on Thin Ice

Terry Eagleton: The Divine Spark, 24 January 2008

Creation: Artists, Gods and Origins 
by Peter Conrad.
Thames and Hudson, 529 pp., £24.95, September 2007, 978 0 500 51356 9
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... however, could never withstand much critical scrutiny. It certainly doesn’t receive much in Peter Conrad’s encyclopedic new study of artistic creation. For one thing, God’s act of creation is from nothing, which can scarcely be said of Mansfield Park or Dead Babies. Like cooking or carpentry, art requires raw materials. Conrad misses the point that ...

Games-Playing

Patrick Parrinder, 7 August 1986

The Golden Gate 
by Vikram Seth.
Faber, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13967 1
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The Haunted House 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 139 pp., £8.95, June 1986, 0 330 29175 0
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Whole of a Morning Sky 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 156 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 86068 774 0
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The Piano Tuner 
by Peter Meinke.
Georgia, 156 pp., $13.95, June 1986, 0 8203 0844 7
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Tap City 
by Ron Abell.
Secker, 273 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 436 00025 3
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... and megabytes, and in his spare time, we are told, he ‘likes to read/ Eclectically from Mann to Bede’. If so, he reads merely from boredom, since it has no measurable effects upon his life. There could hardly be a more striking contrast with Pushkin’s characters. Onegin and his Tatyana may not have been great readers, but they were steeped in a ...

Günter Grass’s Uniqueness

J.P. Stern, 5 February 1981

... With the deaths of Thomas Mann in 1955 and of Bertolt Brecht and Gottfried Benn in 1956, a major era in the history of German literature comes to an end. These three are not only the greatest writers of their age, they are also its witnesses. Each of them worked in a different genre: Thomas Mann in the convoluted, partly essayistic prose of his novels, Bert Brecht in the drama and narrative poetry of social dialectics, Benn in the lyrical poetry of radical Modernism ...

Societies

Perry Anderson, 6 July 1989

A Treatise on Social Theory. Vol. II: Substantive Social Theory 
by W.G. Runciman.
Cambridge, 493 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 521 24959 7
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... is not alone in thinking they can. The same assumption can be found in the work of Michael Mann, of which Runciman has been a severe critic, but whose scale and focus invite comparison. The common source of this bias is Weber – the dominant influence on this cohort of British sociologists. Fixation with power has, of course, gone much further ...

Whiter Washing

Richard J. Evans: Nazi Journalists, 6 June 2019

Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer: From Inner Emigration to the Moral Reconstruction of West Germany 
by Volker Berghahn.
Princeton, 277 pp., £35, December 2018, 978 0 691 17963 6
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... that ‘raison d’état can never be humanitarian.’ Zehrer’s prewar writing is discussed in Peter Köpf’s Schreiben nach jeder Richtung (1995) about the postwar West German press. Berghahn, however, doesn’t mention this book, and indeed seems almost completely ignorant of previous work in his field. He fails to overturn the verdict of another ...

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