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What Life Says to Us

Stephanie Burt: Robert Creeley, 21 February 2008

The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1945-75 
California, 681 pp., £12.55, October 2006, 0 520 24158 4Show More
The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1975-2005 
California, 662 pp., £29.95, October 2006, 0 520 24159 2Show More
On Earth: Last Poems and an Essay 
by Robert Creeley.
California, 89 pp., £12.95, April 2006, 0 520 24791 4
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Selected Poems: 1945-2005 
by Robert Creeley, edited by Benjamin Friedlander.
California, 339 pp., $21.95, January 2008, 978 0 520 25196 0
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... For a spell during the 1960s, Robert Creeley’s ‘I Know a Man’ may have been the most often quoted, even the most widely known, short poem by a living American. Here is the poem: As I sd to my friend, because I am always talking, – John, I sd, which was not his name, the darkness sur- rounds us, what can we do against it, or else, shall we & why not, buy a goddamn big car, drive, he sd, for christ’s sake, look out where yr going ...

Among the Graves

Thomas Laqueur: Naming the Dead, 18 December 2008

The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction 
by Mark Neely.
Harvard, 277 pp., £20.95, November 2007, 978 0 674 02658 2
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This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War 
by Drew Gilpin Faust.
Knopf, 346 pp., $27.95, January 2008, 978 0 375 40404 7
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... Stonewall Jackson, the deeply neurotic but irresistibly romantic, swashbuckling Confederate commander, thought that the great and swift destruction of life and property seen in the American Civil War was the essence of war generally. But this war was not swift. It was long and gruelling: 425 men, on average, died every day for 1458 days ...

Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names, 23 September 2010

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... of as normal classic names: Simon, Mark, Peter, Andrew, Paul, Martin, Michael, Stephen, Richard, Robert, David. Girls’ names remained more modish: some Sarahs, Anns and Elizabeths and even some residual Marys, but also plenty of Janets, Jackies, Lisas and Debbies, who soared and plummeted through the bestseller lists in the space of a couple of ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... too much to say, as the publishers do, that his is the most wide-ranging study since Holbrook Jackson’s The Eighteen Nineties. John Harwood’s biography of Olivia Shakespear is elegant and thorough. She was one of that aspiring multitude whose fate it was and is to add to the unthinkably vast piles of unread, unremembered novels; hers are discussed ...

The great times they could have had

Paul Foot, 15 September 1988

Wallis: Secret Lives of the Duchess of Windsor 
by Charles Higham.
Sidgwick, 419 pp., £17.95, June 1988, 0 283 99627 7
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The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor 
by Michael Bloch.
Bantam, 326 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 9780593016671
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... has been greeted with a tremendous shout of fury. ‘Universally slated’ was how Sidgwick and Jackson described its reception to me. It has been passed over for serialisation. Film rights, once assured, are now in jeopardy. Writing in the Spectator, Frances Donaldson, modestly omitting to refer to her own worthy, if rather pedestrian biography of Edward ...

Living on Apple Crumble

August Kleinzahler: James Schuyler, 17 November 2005

Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler 1951-91 
edited by William Corbett.
Turtle Point, 470 pp., £13.99, May 2005, 1 885586 30 2
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... were smart and talented, as were the painters associated with the gallery: William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Grace Hartigan, Alfred Leslie, Larry Rivers, Norman Bluhm and Fairfield Porter. It all made for a vigorous little scene, a fair bit of it played out at the Cedar Bar, then on 9th ...

The Tell-Tale Trolley

Stefan Collini, 8 September 1994

Townscape with Figures: Farnham, Portrait of an English Town 
by Richard Hoggart.
Chatto, 205 pp., £16.99, June 1994, 0 7011 6138 8
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... reference-points have always been overwhelmingly literary. Arnold Bennett, Virginia Woolf and Robert Louis Stevenson appear in the first, short, paragraph of this book, and Auden, James and Flaubert have all made their appearance before the end of the second page. Re-reading The Uses of Literacy now, one notices that a work usually recalled for its ...

Further Left

R.W. Johnson, 16 August 1990

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Hogarth, 357 pp., £9.99, July 1990, 0 7012 0903 8
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Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 398 pp., £18, July 1990, 0 7011 3361 9
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... of Noam Chomsky, unjustly pilloried, Hitchens feels, for having written a preface to a book by Robert Faurisson. Faurisson is one of the nest of ‘revisionist’ historians to be found at the University of Lyon (which Hitchens insists on misspelling as Lyons) who believe that the Holocaust was a hoax got up to blacken Hitler’s good name. Not ...

I live in my world

Barry Schwabsky: Willem de Kooning, 22 September 2016

Willem de Kooning Nonstop: Cherchez la femme 
by Rosalind Krauss.
Chicago, 154 pp., £22.50, March 2016, 978 0 226 26744 9
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... and post-minimalist sculptors of her own generation or slightly older – figures such as Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra – and then with the promotion, through the journal October, which she co-founded in 1976, of a somewhat younger group of postmodern artists who substituted photographic imagery for painting, among them James ...

Staying Alive in the Ruins

Richard J. Evans: Plato to Nato, 22 April 2021

Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe after World War Two 
by Paul Betts.
Profile, 536 pp., £25, November 2020, 978 1 78816 109 1
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... When the surviving German war criminals were put on trial at Nuremberg, the American prosecutor Robert Jackson told the judges that ‘the real complaining party at your bar is civilisation.’In 1945, the victorious Allies faced many of the same problems they thought they had faced in 1918. But the destructive effects of ‘barbarism’ were now ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... to heaven? Is he playing a game on his PC?On the voice-over to the first Fellowship trailer, Peter Jackson, who directed the movie, portends: ‘The technology has caught up with the incredible imagination that Tolkien injected into that story of his. And so, this is the time.’ Of the many strange things there are to observe about Tolkien, the way his ideas ...

Sisyphus at the Selectric

James Wolcott: Undoing Philip Roth, 20 May 2021

Philip Roth: The Biography 
by Blake Bailey.
Cape, 898 pp., £30, April, 978 0 224 09817 5
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Philip Roth: A Counterlife 
by Ira Nadel.
Oxford, 546 pp., £22.99, May, 978 0 19 984610 8
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Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £18, May 2020, 978 0 525 50524 2
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... receive the royal nod. Instead, Roth chose Blake Bailey, the well-regarded biographer of Charles Jackson (The Lost Weekend), Richard Yates and John Cheever, three alcohol-plagued novelists whose torments kept late hours. As it happened Atlas would outlive Roth only by a year, dying in September 2019 from complications of a lung condition. At the close of ...

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