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Selected Poems 
by James Merrill.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £9.95, April 1996, 1 85754 228 2
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... what a cuff!’ one is tempted to add, all stiff with brocade. Early on, the poet and critic Richard Howard stigmatised him as a bejewelled poet, and that characterisation stuck, though it suited only his earliest work. In that way, as in so many others, Merrill was like Proust. Just as no one, after reading Les Plaisirs et les jours or Proust’s ...

The Dignity of Merchants

Landeg White, 10 August 2000

In Search of Africa 
by Manthia Diawara.
Harvard, 288 pp., £17.50, December 1998, 0 674 44611 9
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... darkness’ homeland? Yet Harris’s ‘thank you’ is not just a perversity. It finds an echo in Richard Wright’s question: ‘What does an African facing an African American see?’ It also finds an echo in Manthia Diawara’s answer: I see Toni Cade Bambara, I see Kamau Brathwaite, I see James Baldwin, I see Bob Marley, I see James Brown, I see ...

White Power

Thomas Meaney, 1 August 2019

Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America 
by Kathleen Belew.
Harvard, 330 pp., £23.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 28607 8
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Revolutionaries for the Right Anti-Communist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War 
by Kyle Burke.
North Carolina, 337 pp., June 2018, 978 1 4696 4073 0
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... were serving in Croatian nationalist battalions in the Yugoslav wars, with underground American white power organisations promoting wider recruitment – and seeking out and funding East German neo-Nazis. More recently, some 15 American freelancers have joined gonzo-fascist Ukrainian units in the Donbass to fight ‘Putin’s communists’, though others ...


Anne Enright: Boys’ Aliens and Girls’ Aliens, 21 September 1995

... programme affecting ‘up to two million’ carefully selected Americans. You have to be white to qualify. Just after the Secret Histories documentary, broadcast on Channel 4 on 28 August, which showed autopsy footage of aliens who crashed in New Mexico in 1947, Michael Moore’s TV Nation described the Jerusalem Syndrome, which affects a similar ...

Black and White Life

Mark Greif: Ralph Ellison, 1 November 2007

Ralph Ellison: A Biography 
by Arnold Rampersad.
Knopf, 657 pp., $35, April 2007, 978 0 375 40827 4
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... speeches given on ever larger stages (up to various arts advisory committees in Lyndon Johnson’s White House). But the thing that made Ellison’s life truly complicated after Invisible Man was his steady promise of a spectacular second novel, begun in the mid-1950s, which he worked on, though never finished, for forty years, all the way up to his death in ...


Richard Lloyd Parry: Alex Garland, 15 October 1998

The Beach 
by Alex Garland.
Penguin, 439 pp., £5.99, June 1997, 0 14 025841 8
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The Tesseract 
by Alex Garland.
Viking, 215 pp., £9.99, September 1998, 0 670 87016 1
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... a thing. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for my name is Richard,’ the prologue (which is called ‘Boom-Boom’) concludes. ‘I was born in 1974.’ Richard’s nostalgia is not so much for the Vietnam War as for his own fictional encounters with it: I saw 84 Charlie Mopic in ...

Forster in Cambridge

Richard Shone, 30 July 2020

... walk. His look of quizzical apprehension changed to an amiable apology when I explained I was the Richard Shone to whom he had sent a note a few days earlier asking me to ‘drop in’. ‘Yes, of course you are,’ he said. The note had been prompted by Nancy Ackerley, a friend of mine and the sister of Forster’s great friend J.R. Ackerley, who had written ...

In Weimar

Richard Hollis, 26 September 2019

... The project for a Nietzsche memorial was left to Hitler. At the Neues Museum van de Velde’s white-painted, ink-stained desk is displayed under a spotlight. It is a functional design, with a lift-up drawing board. Another example of applied ergonomics can be seen in Goethe’s townhouse in the centre of Weimar, a kind of easel-desk which he could adjust ...

Why do white people like what I write?

Pankaj Mishra: Ta-Nehisi Coates, 22 February 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 0 241 32523 0
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... exporting of equipment, technologies of torture and bad lieutenants. To take one instance, Richard Zuley, a specialist at Guantánamo, had become reassuringly ruthless while working for a Chicago police unit that for decades interrogated predominantly African-Americans at so-called black sites. It’s only now, with a ...

After the White Cube

Hal Foster, 19 March 2015

... out for a space that mirrored its homeless condition, a space that came to be known as ‘the white cube’. In turn this model came under pressure as the size of ambitious work expanded after World War Two – from the vast canvases of Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman and others to the serial objects of Minimalists like Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Dan ...

Kermode and Theory

Hayden White, 11 October 1990

An Appetite for Poetry: Essays in Literary Interpretation 
by Frank Kermode.
Collins, 242 pp., £15, November 1989, 0 00 215388 2
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... criticism, and he aligns himself with similarly inclined critics (Hugh Kenner, John Hollander, Richard Poirier, Lionel Trilling, and above all Empson) who use theory, when they use it at all, for the most part to clear the ground for attentive reading. The phrase which serves as the title of the collection is taken from Paul Valéry’s remark about ...

Dangerously Insane

Deyan Sudjic: Léon Krier, 7 October 2010

The Architecture of Community 
by Léon Krier.
Island, 459 pp., £12.99, February 2010, 978 1 59726 579 9
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... Decades after his visit, he set a class at Yale the task of redesigning Le Corbusier’s gleaming white house, the Villa Savoye, retaining the energy of its plan and composition but using traditional materials and techniques. Whatever did or did not happen in Marseille, it didn’t stop Krier from going to London in 1968 to work for James Stirling. Often ...


Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... has been particularly grumpy in her gearshift ever since it went on.I resent it myself. As a white Australian who rather likes living here, I am the beneficiary of an invasion. If honour is due to Captain Phillip, a brave leader with amazing management skills, more is due to the convicts, who fetched, carried and built on the fatal shore, often in ...

Signposts along the way that Reason went

Richard Rorty, 16 February 1984

Margins of Philosophy 
by Jacques Derrida, translated by Alan Bass.
Harvester, 330 pp., £25, May 1983, 0 7108 0454 7
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... who are able to carry off a nearly impossible task). To see Derrida at his best, try the essay ‘White Mythology’. This is the most convincing piece in this volume (except perhaps for a remarkable essay on Heidegger, ‘Ousia and Grammé’, which is, however, impenetrable for those unfamiliar with Heidegger). Derrida starts off this essay by quoting ...

At the National Gallery

Richard Taws: Louis-Léopold Boilly, 9 May 2019

... insect fluttering against a screen. So that’s what they’re looking at. Note, too, the red, white and blue colour scheme, brought together in the boy’s tricolore shoe and the children’s toys. It’s both a patriotic display and an advertisement for the colours Gohin stocked in his shop: ‘bright, rich carmines of every shade, red lakes, Prussian ...

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