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Humanitarian Juggernaut

Alex de Waal, 22 June 1995

War and Law since 1945 
by Geoffrey Best.
Oxford, 434 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 19 821991 1
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Mercy under Fire: War and the Global Humanitarian Community 
by Larry Minear and Thomas Weiss.
Westview, 247 pp., £44.50, July 1995, 0 8133 2567 6
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... Hague that US aid to the Nicaraguan Contras was not ‘purely humanitarian’. Larry Minear and Thomas Weiss respond that ‘humanitarianism is simply what the International Committee of the Red Cross does.’ Among the 1949 Geneva Conventions is a provision for the protection of humanitarian relief, with strict conditions to ensure that this brings ...

Murdering the Millefeuilles

Thomas Jones: Emma Richler, 3 January 2002

Sister Crazy 
by Emma Richler.
Flamingo, 258 pp., £12.99, September 2001, 0 00 711822 8
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... and plastic (as well as something about the cynicism of corporate merchandising). Jemima Weiss, the narrator of Emma Richler’s first novel, is as a nine-year-old devoted to Action Man. With each purchase of an item from the Action Man directory, you were awarded stars in proportion to its value . . . When you had collected 21 stars you won a free ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann Family, 6 November 2008

In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... Thomas and Katia Mann had six children. It was clear from early on that Katia most loved the second child, Klaus, who was born in 1906, and that Thomas loved Erika, the eldest, born in 1905, and also Elisabeth, born in 1918. The other three – the barely tolerated ones – were Golo, born in 1909, Monika, born in 1910, and Michael, born in 1919 ...

Heavy Lifting

John Palattella: John Ashbery, 7 June 2001

Other Traditions 
by John Ashbery.
Harvard, 168 pp., £15.50, October 2000, 0 674 00315 2
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John Ashbery and American Poetry 
by David Herd.
Manchester, 245 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 7190 5597 0
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... and 20th-century poets who for the most part have endured long periods of neglect: John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Raymond Roussel, John Wheelwright, Laura Riding and David Schubert. ‘I myself value Schubert more than Pound or Eliot,’ Ashbery says, and one can imagine some members of his audience gasping. In the introduction to his 1966 ...

Rendings

Edward Timms, 19 April 1990

Thomas Mann and his Family 
by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ralph Manheim.
Collins, 230 pp., £20, August 1989, 9780002158374
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... of radical Jewish dissent extends from Adorno and Benjamin through Kafka and Lukacs to Peter Weiss and Arnold Zweig. But his argument simplifies a more complex problem. His generalisations about Jewish trouble-makers would apply almost equally well to a Catholic like Heinrich Böll, a Marxist like Brecht or a feminist like Christa Wolf. Moreover, at the ...

Other Things

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 February 1984

Soor Hearts 
by Robert Alan Jamieson.
Paul Harris, 166 pp., £6.95, January 1984, 0 86228 072 9
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The Life and Loves of a She-Devil 
by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 240 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 9780340332283
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Cathedral 
by Raymond Carver.
Collins, 230 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 00 222790 8
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The Cannibal Galaxy 
by Cynthia Ozick.
Secker, 162 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 0 436 35483 7
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The Collected Works of Jane Bowles 
introduced by Truman Capote.
Peter Owen, 476 pp., £10.95, January 1984, 0 7206 0613 6
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Let it come down 
by Paul Bowles.
Peter Owen, 318 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 7206 0614 4
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... years, returns to the fishing village from which he had fled under suspicion of having murdered Thomas Pole. Nearly everyone believes him guilty, since the two young men had been seen to quarrel. Both had been drinking heavily for a fortnight, and when Pole was found ‘with his head crushed under a fearful blow’ Doull took fright and bolted from the ...

Six Wolfs, Three Weills

David Simpson: Emigration from Nazi Germany, 5 October 2006

Weimar in Exile: The Anti-Fascist Emigration in Europe and America 
by Jean-Michel Palmier, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 852 pp., £29.99, July 2006, 1 84467 068 6
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... names and destinies. It would have been relatively easy to write a story around the big names – Thomas Mann, Freud, Adorno, Schoenberg and their kind – but this is not Palmier’s strategy. He doesn’t find a meaningful pattern in the data he records. Personal idiosyncrasy and historical accident have more to do with the dispositions and destinies of his ...

Wrecking Ball

Adam Shatz: Trump’s Racism, 7 September 2017

... the Confederate South, led by General Robert E. Lee, has successfully seceded from the Union. D.B. Weiss, one of the producers of Confederate, explained the thinking behind the series: ‘What would the world have looked like if Lee had sacked DC, if the South had won – that just always fascinated me.’ On 12 August, in Charlottesville, Virginia, ...

Diary

Thomas Laqueur: Memories in German, 4 December 2003

... I seem to have had a peculiar loyalty to the German language from about as early as a child can have articulate views. I was told by my parents that when they urged me as a three-year-old to learn Turkish, so that I might communicate more effectively with my playmates in Istanbul, where we had come in our flight from Hitler, I would have none of it ...

Not to Be Read without Shuddering

Adam Smyth: The Atheist’s Bible, 20 February 2014

The Atheist’s Bible: The Most Dangerous Book That Never Existed 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lys Ann Weiss.
Chicago, 249 pp., £21, October 2012, 978 0 226 53029 1
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... of Disputa intorno (Basel, 1561), and ‘that villain and secretary of hell’ (according to Thomas Browne) who converted to all three religions in turn, before becoming (in Kenelm Digby’s words) a ‘developed and manifest atheist’. De tribus didn’t need to exist to do its work: attribution alone was a slander. The condemnations were accompanied ...

Little Lame Balloonman

August Kleinzahler: E.E. Cummings, 9 October 2014

E.E. Cummings: The Complete Poems, 1904-62 
edited by George James Firmage.
Liveright, 1102 pp., £36, September 2013, 978 0 87140 710 8
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E.E. Cummings: A Life 
by Susan Cheever.
Pantheon, 209 pp., £16, February 2014, 978 0 307 37997 9
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... Moore who sang his praises, but other, very different kinds of poet too: Robert Graves, Dylan Thomas, Octavio Paz, Louis Zukofsky and Charles Olson. As did any number of critics: Edmund Wilson, Harry Levin, Jacques Barzun, Lionel Trilling, Guy Davenport. Were all of them hornswoggled, taken in by the surface polish and acrobatics of Cummings’s style ...

Lectures about Heaven

Thomas Laqueur: Forgiving Germany, 7 June 2007

Five Germanys I Have Known 
by Fritz Stern.
Farrar, Straus, 560 pp., £11.25, July 2007, 978 0 374 53086 0
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... far from what would in Britain be called ‘Victorian’. Not surprising, perhaps, given how much Thomas Carlyle took from German literature and philosophy; how important Goethe was for George Eliot; how much Matthew Arnold admired German education. It is also telling how compatible a veneration for Kultur was with the Victorian values of service and civic ...
... some extent an effect of poetry. Reflecting on the takeover of poetry by the university, Theodore Weiss makes a wry point: ‘Alas, in an increasingly unliterate, if not illiterate, age where else can poetry be preserved?’ And of course there are honourable exceptions, in whose hands the critique still serves the text instead of contrariwise. There are ...

Itemised

Fredric Jameson, 8 November 2018

My Struggle: Book 6. The End 
by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Martin Aitken and Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 1153 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 84655 829 0
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... Caesar. His death. I always did whenever I read biographies. Because of course they all die. Thomas Alva Edison. Henry Ford. Benjamin Franklin. Marie Curie. Florence Nightingale. Winston Churchill. Louis Armstrong. Theodore Roosevelt.’ ‘You read Theodore Roosevelt’s biography when you were a kid?’ ‘I did, yes. There was a series. About ...

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