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At the Hydropathic

T.J. Binyon, 6 December 1984

Agatha Christie 
by Janet Morgan.
Collins, 393 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 00 216330 6
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... of irony here: yet Ms Morgan is referring to the world’s best-selling author writing in the English language, whose works had sold, between the publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles and 1980, over four hundred million copies. In the last three years the trust controlling her copyrights has had an annual turnover of over a million pounds. No ...

Impossible Conception

T.J. Reed: ‘Death in Venice’, 25 September 2014

Deaths in Venice: The Cases of Gustav von Aschenbach 
by Philip Kitcher.
Columbia, 254 pp., £20.50, November 2013, 978 0 02 311626 1
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... into more thoroughly. From Romanticism onwards (German Romanticism is quite unlike the French or English versions), a powerful anti-intellectual strand dismissed any display of critical intelligence in favour of a half-mystical, naive spontaneity. What marked the writer out as a Dichter, in verse or in prose, was an immediate response to beauty, a refusal of ...

Geraniums and the River

Nicholas Penny, 20 March 1986

The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers 
by T.J. Clark.
Thames and Hudson, 338 pp., £18, April 1985, 0 500 23417 5
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by John Pope-Hennessy.
Macmillan, 324 pp., £85, October 1985, 0 333 40485 8
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Alessandro Algardi 
by Jennifer Montagu.
Yale in association with the J. Paul Getty Trust, 487 pp., £65, May 1985, 0 300 03173 4
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... with Manet, and he dwells on Mallarmé’s suggestion (which frustratingly survives only in an English translation) that Manet’s aim was for painting to be ‘steeped in its cause’ – i.e. to be about the way painting is made. This hypothesis, in modified form, could perhaps be reconciled with Clark’s: but the reconciliation has not been ...

Murder Most Mythic

W.V. Harris, 23 May 1996

Remus: A Roman Myth 
by T.P. Wiseman.
Cambridge, 243 pp., £35, September 1995, 0 521 41981 6
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The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c.1000-246 BC) 
by T.J. Cornell.
Routledge, 507 pp., £50, September 1995, 0 415 01595 2
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... Cornell implies that those who take a more critical view of the sources than he does (and in the English-speaking world that means nearly all other scholars) reject most or all of the literary evidence for the early Roman Republic. It simply is not so. In practice, Cornell is more of a sceptic than he lets on, and at important junctures he recognises that ...

On the Hilltop

Nicholas Penny: How the Getty spends its money, 4 January 2007

Guide to the Getty Villa 
by Kenneth Lapatin et al.
Getty, 131 pp., £8.50, June 2006, 0 89236 828 4
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History of the Art of Antiquity 
by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, translated by Harry Francis Mallgrave.
Getty, 431 pp., £45, March 2006, 0 89236 668 0
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The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing 
by T.J. Clark.
Yale, 260 pp., £20, August 2006, 0 300 11726 4
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... in the history of art, among them a new translation of Winckelmann’s Geschichte (it is the first English translation of the first edition). The translator’s foreword announces that ‘appreciation for the incomparable artistic achievements of sculptors of the high and late classical periods of Greece is now universal.’ Twenty years ago, few readers would ...


James Wood: Pushkin’s Leave-Taking, 20 February 2003

Pushkin: A Biography 
by T.J. Binyon.
HarperCollins, 731 pp., £30, September 2002, 0 00 215084 0
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... and the marks that Onegin makes in the margins of his books, and Veuve Clicquot, and English pantaloons. Sylvia Plath once longed to write a poem that might be roomy enough to include a toothbrush. But Pushkin anticipated her: his marvellous picture of Onegin’s dandyish bedroom sees brushes ‘of thirty kinds –/ these for the nails, those for ...


J.P. Stern, 3 April 1986

Reflections of a Non-Political Man 
by Thomas Mann, translated by Walter Morris.
Lorrimar, 435 pp., £19.50, February 1986, 9780804425858
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... Long before the English began worrying about their national identity, the Germans fought a war to assert theirs – or so many German intellectuals felt in August 1914. Thomas Mann’s contribution to this eruption of nationalist self-consciousness was delivered in a series of essays written over the following four years, and it is among the strangest things he ever wrote ...

Veronese’s ‘Allegories of Love’

T.J. Clark: Veronese, 3 April 2014

... I should say in passing, is the hardest of the four traditional titles to translate. The English Scorn, which has come to be attached to it, is surely wrong, both visually and in terms of philology. Disinganno is a strong Baroque term. It is the moment of being robbed of one’s illusions and seeing the actual state of things. There is an element of ...

Masters and Fools

T.J. Clark: Velázquez’s Distance, 23 September 2021

... disaffection characteristic of the Habsburg court (or its fringes) came to mean disillusion in the English sense: not a shrugging aside of illusion, that is, nor the hope of a realism prised apart finally from pretence and deception; but at least an achieved disillusion, a partial detachment from role; perhaps even the idea of living with illusion in full ...

Reservations of the Marvellous

T.J. Clark, 22 June 2000

The Arcades Project 
by Walter Benjamin, translated by Howard Eiland.
Harvard, 1073 pp., £24.95, December 1999, 9780674043268
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... thing. I do think that Benjamin’s Arcades Project – over a thousand pages of it in this first English-language edition – is some kind of prose Communist Cantos to set beside the verse Fascist one we have. And the comparison immediately suggests the problem. Even Bunting is scribbling to keep his spirits up. Admiring the Cantos is one thing, reading them ...

Priapus Knight

Marilyn Butler, 18 March 1982

The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824 
edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny.
Manchester, 189 pp., £30, February 1982, 0 7190 0871 9
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... Richard Payne Knight was an important English intellectual of the era of the French Revolution. He flourished from the 1770s until his death, perhaps by suicide, in 1824. Most of that time he wielded great influence in the art world, as a leading collector, connoisseur and aesthetician, but as the theorist of potent subjects like myth and symbol he mattered almost as much to the poets ...


Nicholas Penny, 18 February 1988

Painting as an Art 
by Richard Wollheim.
Thames and Hudson, 384 pp., £28, November 1987, 0 500 23495 7
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... admires for their ‘learning and originality’ the ‘two great proponents of this method in the English-speaking world: T.J. Clark on the theoretical, Francis Haskell on the anecdotal, wing’, but dismisses both as not promising much ‘as far as my interests, or the central problems of the study of art, are concerned’. Both these writers have done much ...


Michael Wood, 10 November 1994

The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Matthew Bruccoli.
Cambridge, 352 pp., £30, June 1994, 9780521402316
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The Great Gatsby 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Matthew Bruccoli.
Cambridge, 225 pp., £27.95, October 1991, 0 521 40230 1
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Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 400 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 333 59935 7
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... is a movie producer in love with his dead wife, whom he finds reincarnate in the person of an English girl who strays into the studio on the night of an earthquake. Hollywood is Western, in Fitzgerald’s terms, because it repeats the past, because its simulacra point to real loss. The narrator describes the studio back lot in the moonlight as ‘thirty ...

Strange Apprentice

T.J. Clark, 8 October 2020

... the felt totality, of the moment on display. The ambiguity of the phrase ‘all at once’ in English is useful: it does not point necessarily to things taking place in a flash. It can be about simultaneity as much as suddenness. What marks off French landscape painting of the last thirty years of the 19th century from previous tradition is above all its ...

Abolish everything!

Andrew Hussey: Situationist International, 2 September 1999

The Situationist City 
by Simon Sadler.
MIT, 248 pp., £24.95, March 1998, 0 262 19392 2
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... postwar revolutionary theory. Since 1968 the literature on the Situationist International in the English-speaking world has tended to present the movement as a dead avant-garde, a museum piece. Similarly in France, although Situationist writings have been a significant influence on such Post-Modernist figures as Baudrillard, Virilio and Marc ...

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