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Raiding Joyce

Denis Donoghue, 18 April 1985

James Joyce 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £20, November 1984, 9780521240147
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James Joyce and Sexuality 
by Richard Brown.
Cambridge, 216 pp., £19.50, March 1985, 0 521 24811 6
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Joyce’s Dislocutions: Essays on Reading as Translation 
by Fritz Senn, edited by John Paul Riquelme.
Johns Hopkins, 225 pp., £22.20, December 1984, 0 8018 3135 0
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Post-Structuralist Joyce: Essays from the French 
edited by Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer.
Cambridge, 162 pp., £20, January 1985, 9780521266369
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... but on Joyce’s work as a whole, he is vigorously interesting and helpful. The body-language of Richard Brown’s book is far more specific than Parrinder’s, but his assumptions are much the same. He has two aims in mind. ‘One tries to place Joyce’s work in the context of ideas in which he participated.’ The ideas in view are mainly connected ...

Spadework

John Brown, 18 November 1982

Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Richard Layman.
Junction, 285 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 86245 027 6
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... for biography, such a delay constitutes a small literary mystery, and in the preface to Shadow Man Richard Layman supplies a terse explanation. It appears that Lillian Hellman, Hammett’s closest friend from 1931 onwards, took steps soon after his death to acquire legal control of all the novelist’s copyrights (despite the terms of Hammett’s will), using ...

Diary

Philip Horne and Danny Karlin: Million Dollar Bashers, 22 June 1989

... a study of Dylan’s lyrics.1 Day was on a panel discussing Dylan’s purported sexism with Richard Brown (Leeds University, Joyce), Neil Corcoran (Sheffield University, modern poetry) and Kath Burlinson, who has just stopped being half of the cabaret act ‘The Wild Girls’ and has settled down to do a PhD in 19th-century women’s ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... and then their grey successors. We were so happy when those fresh-faced challengers, the Blair/Brown and Clinton/Gore double acts, showed them the door. People smarter than I was probably foresaw the compromises that would follow, but I doubt any of us fully anticipated our financialised, deregulated world – a world in which we now individually struggle ...

A Leg-Up for Oliver North

Richard Rorty, 20 October 1994

Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America’s Future 
by Richard Bernstein.
Knopf, 367 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 41156 9
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... In his new book, Richard Bernstein – one of the best reporters at the New York Times – offers some detailed descriptions, and some solid criticisms, of a serious nuisance. Unfortunately, he then tries to inflate this nuisance into a dangerous monster. He offers a lot of useful information about what one segment of the American Left has been doing recently, and his analyses are very acute ...

The Conspiracists

Richard J. Evans: The Reichstag Fire, 8 May 2014

Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery 
by Benjamin Carter Hett.
Oxford, 413 pp., £18.09, February 2014, 978 0 19 932232 9
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... benefited, so the Nazis must have started it. Münzenberg and his team rapidly put together The Brown Book on the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror, published in London in the same year. Aside from the numerous, undoubtedly genuine and often moving accounts of Nazi brutality by its victims, The Brown Book presented ninety ...

This beats me

Stephen Sedley: The Drafter’s Contract, 2 April 1998

Statutory Interpretation 
by Francis Bennion.
Butterworth, 1092 pp., £187, December 1997, 0 406 02126 0
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Law and Interpretation 
edited by Andrei Marmor.
Oxford, 463 pp., £18.99, October 1997, 0 19 826487 9
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Equality before the Law: Deaf People’s Access to Justice 
by Mary Brennan and Richard Brown.
Deaf Studies Research Unit, University of Durham, 189 pp., £17.50, October 1997, 0 9531779 0 4
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... So, then,’ says a founding father, quill poised, to the founding fathers around him in Gary Larson’s cartoon, ‘Would that be “Us the people” or “We the people”?’ If deciding what to write is tough, interpreting what gets written is tougher. Turgid texts need unravelling; obscure provisions need deciphering; occasional nonsense needs correcting; perfectly clear texts may be impossible to apply to novel situations ...

Sunflower

Peter Burke, 20 March 1986

Velazquez: Painter and Courtier 
by Jonathan Brown.
Yale, 322 pp., £35, March 1986, 0 300 03466 0
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El Greco and his Patrons: Three Major Projects 
by Richard Mann.
Cambridge, 164 pp., £35, February 1986, 0 521 30392 3
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... the centre to the periphery. It is only in the last few years, thanks to scholars such as Jonathan Brown and some of his Spanish colleagues, such as Julian Gallego, that the art of 17th-century Spain is beginning to be seen again in its intellectual, social and political context. Jonathan Brown is the author of monographs on ...

At Tate Modern

Richard Taws: ‘The Making of Rodin’, 18 November 2021

... finished bronze, but also as a corpulent power-posing nude whose genitals morph into a torrent of brown-coated plaster. Sometimes we just get his legs, sometimes the head, the marks of the mould still visible. In one version Rodin evacuated Balzac’s body entirely: a ghostly dressing gown, rigid with plaster, contains nothing more than the empty space where ...

Rough Wooing

Michael Brown: Flodden, 23 January 2014

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 
by George Goodwin.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £20, July 2013, 978 0 297 86739 5
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... in defence of Tudor England are interesting, given their – sometimes exaggerated – support for Richard III against Henry VII in 1485 and the widespread support for the Pilgrimage of Grace, the massive northern revolt against Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1536: dislike of Scotland trumped dislike of the Tudors. The recent coverage of the ...

Southern Discomfort

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, 8 June 1995

The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism 
by Eugene Genovese.
Harvard, 138 pp., £17.95, October 1994, 0 674 82527 6
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... Karl Marx, Karl Barth, Reinhold Niebuhr, the Nashville Agrarians and their latterday apostles, Richard Weaver and Melvin Bradford. Liberals thus find themselves confronting a shrewd scholar who denies them the luxury of easy retort – he lashes out from both right and left to rough up the bourgeois middle. What can one do with a once-loyal Marxist who ...

The Greatest Geek

Richard Barnett: Nikola Tesla, 5 February 2015

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age 
by W. Bernard Carlson.
Princeton, 520 pp., £19.95, April 2015, 978 0 691 05776 7
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... humour.’ After spending the harsh winter of 1885 digging ditches, Tesla met two men – Alfred Brown, a senior official in the Western Union telegraph company, and the lawyer Charles Peck – who helped him to become a major force in the War of the Currents. Impressed by his capability and charisma, Brown and Peck went ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Da Vinci Code’, 8 June 2006

The Da Vinci Code 
directed by Ron Howard.
May 2006
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... no one knew it. It’s the greatest cover-up in human history, to quote Ian McKellen quoting Dan Brown. During the Cannes screening of the film critics are said to have laughed when a crowd of bewigged ghosts shows up for Newton’s funeral in Westminster Abbey, forcing the live characters to elbow their way through the shades to continue their quest for the ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2013, 9 January 2014

... muddy underfoot, an illicit delight. It’s warm and windless, the stones of the abbey sodden and brown from the amount of moisture they’ve absorbed. Spectacular here are the toilet arrangements, the reredorter set above a narrow chasm with a stream still running along the bottom. Unique, though (or at least I haven’t seen another), is the tannery ...

Men He Could Trust

Richard J. Evans: Hitler’s Stormtroopers, 22 February 2018

Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts 
by Daniel Siemens.
Yale, 459 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 300 19681 8
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... their sinister attacks by which Germany should be ‘awakened’. The human quality of this brown heap, in which the sons of the German bourgeoisie were trained in gangland methods, illustrated the desolate human decline of the German middle classes.Later historians called the SA a ‘criminal gang with a political accent’, and the ‘most degenerate ...

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