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Memories are made of this and that

Julia Annas, 14 May 1992

Ancient and Medieval Memories: Studies in the Reconstruction of the Past 
by Janet Coleman.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £50, January 1992, 0 521 41144 0
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... to divide up what for us is a single concern, or bring together issues which we treat as distinct. Coleman’s is an ambitious unifying project of the latter kind; its problems come from the nature of the two issues she yokes together. Inside this large volume, in fact, are two distinct books. The shorter one is a discussion of historical understanding and ...

Literature and the Left

Marilyn Butler, 18 August 1983

English Literature in History: 1730-80: An Equal, Wide Survey 
edited by Raymond Williams, by John Barrell.
Hutchinson, 228 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149820 1
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English Literature in History: 1350-1400: Medieval Readers and Writers 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Janet Coleman.
Hutchinson, 337 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 09 144100 5
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English Literature in History: 1780-1830: Pastoral and Politics 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Roger Sales.
Hutchinson, 247 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149830 9
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The Cambridge Guide to English Literature 
by Michael Stapleton.
Cambridge/Newnes Books, 992 pp., £15, April 1983, 9780521256476
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... writes Clare, two generations on, ‘confound the bitch – I’ll never be her slave.’ Janet Coleman’s study of the 14th century tackles the literature in the more forthright and direct style of the historian. She writes less heavily and more readably than Barrell or Williams. Students will find her book the most usable of the present ...

Blame it on the boogie

Andrew O’Hagan: In Pursuit of Michael Jackson, 6 July 2006

On Michael Jackson 
by Margo Jefferson.
Pantheon, 146 pp., $20, January 2006, 0 375 42326 5
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... describes going to interview Jackson at his California home in 1981. Jackson’s sister Janet was there and Jackson insisted that the journalist ask her his questions, then she would ask Michael, who would tell her the answer and she could then tell Taraborrelli. Here’s part of the exchange: ‘Let’s start with the new album, Triumph. How do ...

I will give thee Madonna

Richard Beck: After Waco, 21 March 2024

Waco Rising: David Koresh, the FBI and the Birth of America’s Modern Militias 
by Kevin Cook.
Holt, 272 pp., £18.99, January, 978 1 250 84051 6
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Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians and a Legacy of Rage 
by Jeff Guinn.
Simon & Schuster, 383 pp., £20, February 2023, 978 1 9821 8610 4
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... ATF, the FBI and the Department of Justice – whose head, the Clinton-appointed attorney general Janet Reno, had signed off on the tear-gas plan – the episode was a disaster from start to finish, as two new books by the journalists Kevin Cook and Jeff Guinn make clear. Among the most damning details is that the ATF didn’t need to carry out the February ...

Sisyphus at the Selectric

James Wolcott: Undoing Philip Roth, 20 May 2021

Philip Roth: The Biography 
by Blake Bailey.
Cape, 898 pp., £30, April 2021, 978 0 224 09817 5
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Philip Roth: A Counterlife 
by Ira Nadel.
Oxford, 546 pp., £22.99, May 2021, 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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... Ass, Copper: Rereading Philip Roth) and the fictionalised portraits of Roth in his former lover Janet Hobhouse’s The Furies, his former protégé Alan Lelchuk’s Ziff: A Life? and his former protégée-lover Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry – it may feel at times as if we’ve made this expedition before, with Claire Bloom hovering overhead.But buoyancy ...

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