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THE TIM ES LIT ER ARY SU P P LE MEN T J UN E 1 2007 www.thc-tls.co.

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3 SO C IAL STUD IES Michel e Pridmore-Bro wn Birth - A hi story T ina Cassidy . Born in th e U SA - H ow a brok en m aternity syste m mu st be fixed
to put wo m en and ch ildre n first M ar sd en Wagner. Bio ethics an d W om en - Acro ss th e life span
M ar y Bri od y M ah o w ald

4 S C IEN C E Michael C. C o r balli s M ind as M achin e - A hi sto ry ofco gn itive science M ar g ar et A. B od en

6 LITER AT URE Tim K endall T h e N o tebooks ofRobert Fro st R ob er t Faggen, editor

7 P O ETRY J ames Cam p bell The C ollected Po em s ofRobert C reeley , 1975 - 2005 R ob e rt Creeley
S te p h en B u r t One Big Self - An investigat ion . Lik e Some thing Flyin g Bac kwards C . D . Wright
Joe Phela n Last T h ings - E m ily Bronte's po em s J an e t Gezari
C live Wilmer Selec ted T ranslations Ted H ug hes; ed ited by D aniel Weissbort
Angel a L eighton C ollected Po em s Tony Harrison

11 P OE M S O liv er R eynolds D ear An gel o


15 D avid L ehman Ambivalen ce

13 HIST ORY C h ri s P atten R ealm of th e Black Mountain - A h isto ry ofMonten egro E liza beth Robe rts

14 C O M M EN TA R Y HuPing The G en eral Sec re tary' s tale - A best- sellin g in side story from C hina
J. C . N B : Muriel Spark an d on eself, M et afiction 11 , What pri ce is a book?, RIP Eu gen W eber
Michael G reen berg Freelan ce

17 LE T TE R S T O TH E E D ITO R Int ellectu al prop ert y right s, Shakespeare an d eo , Marie- C lair e, etc

18 A RT S Tanya H arrod The R eal T h ing - C on te m porary art from C h in a (T are Liverpool)
C la r e G r iffi ths C am ou flage (Im perial Wa r Mu seum). Ca m ou flage T im Newark
Andrew Porter Pelleas e t M eli sande C la ude Debuss y (R oy al Opera Hou se)
R ozKav eney Vern on God Littl e DB C Pie rr e ; adapted b y T an ya Ro n der (You ng Vie)

21 F IC T IO N Bharat Tan d o n Gr anta 97 : Best of Young Am erican N ovelists, 2 IanJack , editor


T oby Li chtig Bet ween Each Breath Ada m Tho rp e
S te p hani e C ross Love Falls Esthe r Freu d
Caroline M c Ginn W he n W e Were Roma ns M a t the w Kneale
Sa meer R ahim A Thou sand Splendid Sun s K ha led H o sseini
Heather Thompson The Opposite H ouse Helen Oyeye m i
Tom Aitken The R esurr ecti oni st J am es B ra d ley

24 M U SIC P atric k O'Connor The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815 - 1930 Susan R ut herford

25 llI O GR APH Y D avid Sexton You C ann o t Live As 1Ha ve Lived an d No t E nd U p Lik e This - The thoroughly disgracefu l life an d
tim es ofWillie Donaldson Terence Bl acker
Sharon Ruston Romantic Liars - Obscur e wo me n w h o becam e impostor s and challenge d an em pire Debbie Lee
M atthew Sturgis Alfred Douglas - A po et 's life an d hi s fin est wor k Caspar W in termans
M atthew J . R eisz The Invisible W all H arr y B er n stein

28 l3IBLI O GR A PH Y Jame s Fergusson Pro ofs, firsts an d file co pies


H.R. Woudhuys en Fin e editions and th e futu re

30 I N ll R IEF The Final Reminder - How I em pt ied m y parents' house Lydia Flem . Shake speare and th e
Am erican Popular Stage Frances Teague . Freudian M ythologies- G reek traged y and modern
identity R achel Bo wlb y . T h e Accid ental Mind - H ow br ain evo lu tio n has given us love,
m emory, dr eam s, an d G od D a vid j. Lin d en. Mother s ofH ero es, Mother s ofMartyrs - Wo rld
W ar One and th e po liti cs ofgrief Suzanne Evans . Ech oes ofViol en ce - Lett ers from a war
reporter C arolin Emcke. T h e Lo ng Exile - A tru e story ofdeception and su rvival amongst th e
Inuit ofth e C anadian Ar cti c M el anie M cG rat h. Ga sto n de Blondeville A n n Radc1iffe

32 LI TERAR Y C R IT IC ISM G e o ffr ey A . Hosking N ikolai G ogo l - ll etw een U kr ain ian an d Ru ssian nationalism E d yta M . Bojanowska
l an T'hornson No tizie su A rgo n - G li an te na ti di Prime Levi d a Francesco Petrarca a C e sare Lombroso A lberta
Cavaglion

33 R ELIGI O N Anthony K enny C risis ofDoubt - Honest faith in nin eteenth-centu ry England Timot h y Larsen

36 CULT URAL S T UDI ES PhilBaker The Iron W hi m - A fragm ented histo ry oftyp ew riting D ar ren Wersh ler - Henry

35 This wee k 's co n tribu to rs 35 Autho r, Author 35 C ro sswor d


C over pictur e: Still from " Gate 20CH" Wa ng Pcng. Other pictur es reproduced by kind permi ssion of: 1'3 Gerrit GrevelCorbis; 1'7 C hristophcr Fclver/C orbis; I'll Co lin W illoughby/ArenaPal;
p 14 Bcttm ann /C orbis: p 18 Wa ng Gongxin ; p19 Imperial W ar Museum ; p2 0 Donald C oo pcr/P ho tostagc: p25 An na Blackman ; p29 ]arndycc Antiquarian Bo ok seller s; p36 M ary Evans
Picture Library
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SOCIAL STUDIES

Cradle or grave
The natural and unnatural perils of pregnancy
uch of birthing women's misery MI CH EL E PRIDMOR E-BROW N Cassidy unpacks various notions of the It followed that, when Queen Victoria, the

M can be traced to "cephalo-


pelvic dispropo rtion". Bipedal-
ism severe ly constra ins our hip
size - and big brains mean that even though
babies are born too early in their development
Tina C ass i dy
B I RT H
A history
"natural" and shows the extent to which birth is
in fact not j ust some timeless event, but culture-
and class-mediated - whether it occurs among
the !Kung San of the Kalahari (wome n give
birth alone) or in Marco Polo' s China (where
revered temporal head of the Anglican Church,
inhaled chloroform, this seemingly inconse-
quential private act unleashed a paradigm shift
in assumpti ons and practices on both sides of
the Atlantic; the wealthy forthwith embraced
for anyone' s comfort, they are still likely to get 320pp. Chatto and Windus. Paperback, 12.99. fathers were put to bed for forty days with their chlorofor m a la reine. Soon enough, in another
stuck in the birth canal. Rather aptly known as 978 070 118 1192 newborns) or seventeenth-century Europe, when telling paradigm shift, "refined" women were
Eve' s curse, the brain-pelvis stand-off is an evo- M ar sd en W a gn e r "barber surgeons" wrested the practice from per- seen as being too delicate to do anything but be
lutionary compromise that leaves little margin secuted but far more competent midwives, or knocked senseless duri ng birth.
for error. This stand-off accounts for the fact B OR N I N T H E USA early twenty-first-cent ury Brazil, where up to 90 Much of the territory Cassidy traverses is well
that most women experience far more pain dur- How a broken maternit y system must be fixed to put per cent of wealthy women opt for an elective known, especially sections on iatrogenic disease
ing childbirth than their primate co usins; for an wo men and children first C-section. Involving the highest of stakes, birth - that is, disease caused by medical treatment
Africa n proverb stating that pregnant wome n 305pp. University of California Press. $24.95; practices are in many ways one of the most itself: for instance, in the twentieth century,
distributed in the UK by Wiley. 15.95.
have one foot in the grave; and for the fact that telling barometers of cultural mores. the tragedies of foetal X-rays, and of DES
978 0 520 245969
the skill of an attendant can easily make the Religious beliefs, too, have obvio usly had a (Diethylstilbestrol) and Thalidomide prescrip-
difference between life and death. Up to the M ar y Briod y M ah o w ald signilicant role in birth - in persecuting mid- tions - and the more recently discovered infelici-
1930s or so, it is estimated that abou t I per cent wives as witches, in adjudicating who was most ties of episiotomies. Birth: A history also
B IOET H ICS AN D WOMEN
of birthing women died (and far more of their worth saving (mother or baby), and in interpreta- includes chapters on the practices that so
Acros s the life span
babies). tions of pain. In 1853, Queen Victoria notably obviously mirrored iconic cultural moments:
286pp. Oxford University Press. 23.99
Historically, women with cramped pelvises (US $39.95). delied clerical wisdom by inhaling chloro form "twilight sleep" and stirrups of the 1950s; the
were likely to expire into the oblivion of that I 978 0 195 176179 during her eighth accou chement, The Lancet Lamaze movement and conscious birth of
per cent. But one case stands out for creating a had lirmly deplored such unnatural tinkering the post-60s; epidurals, birth plans and elective
notable swerve in British royal history. with "natural" labour but, as Cassi dy explains, C sections of the 90s and the twenty-first cen-
In 1817, the popular and vivacious Princess ence" (each word semantically loaded in her tell- it was not the fact that it was a tremendously tury. As Cassidy quite rightly reminds us, birth is
Charlotte, King George IV' s twenty-one-year- ing) ended up being quite the opposite, thanks inexact science that bothered the public. Rather, a ripe terrain for fads.
old daughter, suffered from a now textbook to her small pelvis, induction, an epidural and the problem was that taking away pain appea red Her romp through modern history bears
case of ce phalopelvic dispropo rtion; two weeks ultimate ly an emerge ncy Caesarean section. to tamper with divine decree (ie, Eve's curse). repeating because it also remind s us that
ove rdue and weighing 9 Ibs, her baby was far "science", or at least med ical obstetrics, is often
too big for her pelvis, and after fifty hours of a vigilante affair. For instance, after the move
active labour, he was delivered stillborn. Char- from midwives to doctors, mortality rates
lotte herself expired live hours later from inter- initially shot up, as did rates of postpartum
nal bleeding. Since she was King Georges only debilit y. Hospital births starting in the eight-
legitimate child, his throne passed to his eenth century were a huge liability; impatient
brother, and then to his niece, who became obstetricians zealously used their instruments to
Queen Victoria . Th is is an oft-to ld tale in obstet- wrest babies from only partially opened
rics - and one in which history on a grand scale wombs; and docto rs often did not wash their
was altered by the too-n arro w strait s of o ne hands and so transmitted the deadly puerperal
woman' s pelvis. fever from woman to woman - or, indeed, from
The story doesn' t j ust end there . By the corpse to woman. Even in the early twentieth
time of Charlotte' s delivery, midwives had, century, after germ theory was known about,
amon g the moneyed class, given way to hospitals were still the worst places to give birth
"barber-surgeo ns" - an initially disastrous and yet, paradoxically, they became the birth-
shift insofar as many book-learned young ing place of choice for an ever- increasing
men were unleashed on the female birthing number of women; infant mortality j umped 50
popul ation with no prior hands-on training. per cent between 1915 and 1929 in the United
Charlotte's atte nding physician, Sir Richard States in lockstep with the widespread across-
Cro ft, did, however, have plenty of experience class shift from home to hospital.
and had even written a textbook on the subject. This is where Marsden Wagner' s book on
Nonetheless, he was publicl y vililie d for what birth in the US comes in. Where Cassi dy is a
was perceived as poor deci sion-making: for, in wide-eye d outsider with a lively style, Wagner
effec t, failing to use the instrument of his trade, is an emigre de l 'interieur , A paedi atrician , peri-
forceps, on his roya l patient. The fact was that natologist, policy wonk, expert witness at count-
forceps cou ld be alarmingly destructive and so less trials, and World Health Organization
had momentarily fallen out of favour. Forceps, (WHO) adviser, he is a whistleblower with a
however, could also save lives if wielded by a clear agenda: namely, to convince his public
competent hand - and this was a case in which that, in the US, obstetrics is still a vigilante prac-
they very well might have saved three lives. tice and that the public is being duped in much
Unable to bear the public' s opprobrium, Sir the same way as it was in pre vious eras. In a nut-
Richard committed suicide. shell, the birthing industry is in the midst of yet
The journ alist Tina Cassidy ' s book on birth another dangerou s fad: too much medical inter-
describes the diverse ways in which humans vention in the names of two cultural values:
have addressed, rationalized and assigned "convenience" and "control". Wagner believes
blame for the perils of birth. She motivates her these values are dangerous in the obstetrical con-
excavation by using her own twenty-first- text. Proof that things are amiss in the US: it has
century experience with cephalopelvic dispro- the second worst newborn mortality ligures in
portion as a point of depa rture; what was the industrialized world, despite having the
to be her " planned" "natural" "birth experi- most expensive maternity system. Women are

- 3- TLS J UNE I 2 007


SOCIAL STUDIES & SCIENCE

70 per cent more likely to die in childbirth in would not only lower death rates but save vast
the US than in Europe.
Wagner has three main bugbea rs. C sections
- which have done a wonderful job of bypass-
ing too-small pelvises - are now being over-
sums of money.
A call to action, Born in the USA include s a
list of sensible recomm endation s: for a nation al
health care system that would provide care to
Think so?
used, to the point of radically increasing medi- all pregnant women, for more home deliveries, argaret A. Boden, the author of MICHA EL C . CORBALLIS
cal risk, he argues; in the US, rates are 30 per
cent and rising, in the UK, 22 per cent and
rising, while in the Netherland s (a paragon of
sound practic e, according to Wagner), rates are
stable at about 10 per cent - partly because of a
for increased use of midwives, and, of course,
for increased scrutiny, transparency and
account abilit y of the health care system. It' s
hard to argue with any of this. What makes
these recomm endations compellin g is the vast
M Mind as Machin e, a monum ental
new history of cognitive science,
first encount ered the discipline in
1957; it was a propitious year, marked by the
publication of two book s, one signalling the end
Margar et A . Boden
MI ND AS MA CHI NE
A history of cogniti ve science
birth cultur e based in low-tech home births. quantity of studies and court cases Wagner of an era and the other the beginning of a new Two volumes, I,704pp. Clarendon Press. 125 (US
Wagner laments that all too many Americ an cites, his copiou s and careful footnote s, his one. The lirst book was Verbal Beha vior , $225).
fascinating use of cross-count ry compari sons, B. F. Skinner' s attempt to conquer what many 978 0 1992 4144 6
women, includin g some female obstetricians,
imagine C sections are safer for newborns and the sheer volume of supporting informa- consider the psycholo gical summit, language.
because surgery avoids the hazards of the birth tion. What weakens his book somewhat is a The other was Noam Chom skys Syntac tic The heretical idea that the human mind might
canal; this is not at all true for low-risk pregnan- lack of nuance. Rising mortality rates are not Structur es, which proved in essence that Skin- be prey to mechanical laws has often been
cies. Obstetrici ans themselves are likely to ju st due to excessively zealous unmonit ored ner' s beha viourist approach couldn 't possibly suppressed by religious authoritie s. Princess
prefer C sections becau se they can be scheduled obstetricians and their uninformed patient s, but work - a conclu sion that Chom sky hammered Elizabeth of Bohemia , granddaughter of James
and rendered routin e, which obviously could also linked to women giving birth at older ages home in his scathing 1959 review of Skinner ' s I of England and a niece of Charle s I, famously
never be the case for vaginal birth. - something he fails to mention. He cloyingly book in the jo urnal Language. So ended behav- wrote to Descartes quer ying how the human
Wagner' s second bugbear is induction , informs the reader that he is a feminist and that iourism, and so began cognitive science. Like soul could possibly influence the physical body,
which, by triggering undul y forceful contra c- he will refer to obstetricians as "he" - which some Pied Piper, Chom sky effectively enticed and later wrote that she "could more readily
tions, can fatally rupture the uterus. In the seems problematic given that women are gradu- the rats (and pigeon s) out of the psychology lab- allow that the soul has matter and extension
I990s, a drug called Cytotec was quite com- ally colon izing the obstetrics profession. He oratories, and in marched human guinea pigs, than that an immaterial being has the capacit y
monly admin istered (in a vigilante manner) to also extrapolates from cases that went to trial mostly in the form of undergraduate s. of moving a body and being affected by it". A
induce labour, even though its risks were to speak of men ' s totalit arian control of a It was not ju st the linguistic revolution that de vout Calvin ist, she would not allow her let-
entirely unkno wn; this was an off-label use, woman ' s reproducti ve life - which seems like a gave rise to cognit ive science, though. From ters to be printed at the time, and they remained
since Cytotec was approved by the FDA solely statement that needs some qualilication. Invok- Boden ' s perspecti ve, in Mind as Ma chine, the undiscovered for some 200 years before being
for stomach ulcers. Claiming pregnancies were ing feminism is a risky move in itself, since fem- priorit y lay with the development of artificial published in 1889. In the eighteenth centur y,
postdate after forty weeks (which they are not - inists are all over the map when it comes to med- intelligence. This in turn arose from the develop- Julien a ffray de la Mettri e wrote several books
there is no increase in neona tal mortality ical interven tion - and in fact it is hard to show ment of comput ational systems for codebreak- advocating a materialistic view of mind. He
through to forty-two weeks), doctor s induced that new medical technolo gies have led to the ing during the Second World War. The most was obliged to llee the religiou s authorities in
women for what was clearly their own conven- greater subordination of women. What is true is famous of the codebreakers was Alan Turin g, France and take refuge in Leiden, and was later
ience. Wagner, who is fond of colourful meta- that, by electing for C sections or induction, who is credited with the initial insight that the hounded out of the Netherlands to lind security
phors, likens induct ion to taking a baseball bat women may well be exercising their choices in human mind itself might be understood in term s in the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin. In
to a mosquito - and believes patience would be a conte xt of incomplet e and false knowledge. of computa tional principl es. Turing died at the the nineteenth centur y, materialism was further
a far safer strategy for all parties. Mary Briody Mahowald ' s Bioethi cs and age of forty-one after eating a poisoned apple. reinfo rced by Darwin' s theory of natural selec-
His third bugbear is the tribal nature of the Women takes a similar moral stance to that of Boden, ever respectful of the charact ers in her tion, with the strong anti-Cartesian implication
obstetrics profession, which prevents doctor s Wagner and also promul gates the adjudi cating story, records the doubt that still hovers over that human s did not diffe r in kind from other
from informing on each other. He boldly asserts powe r of evidentiary medicin e. A bioethicist the general assumption that Turin g, a homo- species . Religiou s oppo sition cont inues to this
that litigation , malpract ice suits and investiga- and professor emerita at the University of sexual, had taken his own life. day. Even the beha viourists, treated rather
tive reportin g are a good thing in the US, and Chicago, Maho wald offers no clear recipes or The idea that a living organism, includ ing the slightingly by Boden, were materiali sts. As
perhaps the only thing separating many obstetri- conclu sions. Where Wagners tone is often human body, might be regarded as a machine J. B. Wat son put it in his 1913 manifesto, the
cians from wholesale vigilantism. He also inllamm atory, hers is earnest, at once less enter- was not itself new. Boden traces the argument behaviouri st "recognizes no dividing line
belie ves malpractice suits hasten the day when taining and more nuanced . That said, she shares for "man as a machine" back to early thinkers between man and brutes". Beha viourism still
obstetricians will cede at least some power to Wagner' s drive for an ethics of ega litarianism such as Democritu s (c 460- 370 BC), Hero of persists in pockets, but its decline was due not
mid wi ves. (between mid wi ve s and o bste tricians and Alexandria (c AD 10--62), and the rationalist tra- so much to a deni al of mind as to a paucity of
Why are women letting them selves be between medical personnel and patients) and dition in philosoph y. With the de velopment of theoretical architecture to study it.
duped ? Because of this tribalism and its age-old for an informed sceptical patient capabl e in mechan ical devices in the seventeenth and eight- As Boden make s clear, it was in the
shamanistic qual ities. Obstreticians are still too most cases of choo sing between treatment eenth centu ries, there was a llurr y of interest in post-I 945 period that computati onal and mathe-
much "like priests in white robes", writes Wag- plans. In many ways, Bioethi cs and Wom en automata, leading to mechani stic accounts of matical studies gave impetus to the view that a
ner, practising in insular "cathedrals"; continu - provides the theory behind Wagner ' s attempt to how the body worked. Reno Descartes even machine might be programm ed to simulate
ing the metaphor, pregnant women are then foster greater "ju stice" for pregnant women. argued that the nervous system was a mechani - mind, if not actually possess it. She covers this
faith ful parishioners when they should be scep- Mahowald applies "standpoint theory" (a cal device, and that non-human animals were period in all of its manife station s, in comput er
tics. Wagner enjoins pregnant women to shun kind of postmodern count er-hegemonic ethics essentially reflex machines. This was partly science, psychology, linguistics, neuro science
any birth book that advises "trusting your doc- par excellence that privileges the standpoints of true of humans, too, but only up to a point. The and philosophy. She sets the stage by identify-
tor" or "listening to your docto r". Such phrases multipl e and especially non-politically domi - freedom of express ion evident in human lan- ing different broad approaches . In one corner is
are red llags. Instead, they should trust the scien- nant perspectives) to the clinic al setting - but guage and free will implied the existence of a the Legend, which is the notion that science is a
tilic evidence and "trust their bodies". I am not with the caveat that, in the case of birth, the rational, non-material soul, which operated purely objecti ve activity; in the other are what
sure what trusting one' s body means, given that pregnant woman ' s perspective must be priori- through the pineal gland. Boden calls the neo-Kant ians - postmodern ists,
interpret ing bodily signs is itself a culturall y tized because she has the greatest stake in the Althou gh the pineal gland has fallen from cultur al relat ivists and discourse analysts who
mediated, indeed often fadd ish, affair - as matter. The problem here is that a shifting tapes- grace, Cartesian duali sm - the separation of were, and in some pockets still are, oppo sed not
Cassidys book makes abundantly clear. But, try of interests, stakes, knowledge claims and mind and body - still rules, at least in the popu- only to the notion of mind as a machin e, but to
certa inly, basing de cision s o n scie ntific ev i- po we r rela tion s means that med ical deci sion s lar mind . A prominent cog nitive scientist, Paul scie nce itse lf. On e of the vic tims o f the so-
dence is sound advice - that is, assum ing the must be made on a case-by-case basis. Thi s Bloom , has argued in his recent book Des- called science wars was anthropology, which
evidence is robu st. And Wagner does marshal makes medical decision-mak ing an art, and cartes ' Baby (2004) that duali sm itself is innate. Boden calls "the missing disciplin e", lost to the
plenty of evidence that midwives are the safest messy. Mary Briody Maho wald offers no reci- Childr en, he says, are natural dualists, with a anti-scientilic forces of darkness, though cogni-
attendants for low-risk births - because they are pes for balancin g comp eting claim s - of groups born disposition to believe that mind and body tive anthropol ogy eventually emerged as a
trained to wait patiently for and facilitate birth, and individuals, for instance - or for adjudic at- are distinct, and that the mind can control the viable component of cogniti ve science, helping
rather than to intervene in andlor hasten it. Evi- ing pesky moral dilemma s like sex selection. body. Most adults, I think, would intuitively to provide a much-needed evolutionary perspec-
dence also suggests that when the C-section She is more hopeful than Mar sden Wagner agree. A few years ago in the Spec tator, the late tive. Psychology, too, suffered from the post-
rate goes over 15 per cent , the maternal mortal- about the clin ician, believing that the obstetri- Frank John son complained of "boffin s" who modern onslaught, especially in Europe, but
ity rate increases. And evidence also shows that cian, with the right incentives and information, would reduce human s to robot s, proudl y declar- retained a core of scientilic integrity.
planned home births for low-risk patient s are as can be transformed into a consistentl y virtuou s ing his belief in an immortal soul. "Human Boden has little time for the neo-Kantians,
safe as hospital births. But Wagner' s trump practitioner. I am not sure this would have beings" , he wrote, "will always top the earthly but is clear too that the Legend is false. The pur-
card when it comes to policy is probably the helped Sir Richard Cro ft. Still, her ethics stands hierarchy." No doubt he would not have suit of truth is far from disinterested, and often
bottom line: acting on this evidence in the US as a postmodern ideal. approved of Boden ' s book. cloud ed by personal amb ition and antagoni sm

TLS J U NE I 20 07 - 4-
SCIENCE

Deep Blue ma y have beaten Kasp arov at chess ,


but it played like a co mp uter, not like a human.
In another rece nt book on cognitive scie nce ,
Models and Cog nition (2006), Jon athan
W ask an assert s tha t "Cognitive science is suc-
cee di ng brill iantl y, but it is, despi te frequent lip
service to the co ntrary, no t in the least commit-
ted to the computat ion al theory of m ind or to
the discover y of inten tion al ge nera lizati ons".
No one rea lly beli e ves that any com puter is co n-
scio us, or is capable of intentions. Ju st how to
sup ply the m issin g ingre dient rem ain s a matter
of specu lation. Perh aps co mputers are simply
made of the wrong st uff. Pe rhaps they are too
isolated from the inpu ts of the real wo rld - in
linguistic ter ms, too mu ch sy ntax and not
eno ug h se ma ntics. Pe rhaps they don ' t ge t ou t
eno ug h. Perh aps they need an evo lutionary
histor y. Or perh aps the re is a lim it in prin cipl e
on j ust how far a machin e, eve n the hu man
mach ine , ca n understand itsel f.
In her preface, M argaret Bod en rec omme nds
that the reader star t at the beginning and read
thro ug h to the end, but rel uctantl y concedes that
peo ple will prob abl y not do that. A ltho ug h
her Mind as Machine is scholarly, readabl e
and eve n entertai ning , it is simp ly too long
and covers too mu ch gro und for continuou s
" G la ssh ous e" (2003-7) by David Breu er-W eil; from Proj ect 3, an exh ib ition at 9-13 M ercer Street , London W C2 , June 1 to July 19. rea ding. Instead, it will serve as an inva lua ble
resource, with a persona l touch that raises it
towards riva ls. One of the mo st bitter disputes twe ntiet h ce nt ury. Cho msky does not, ho wever, that there are broad afIini ties between hum an above the more us ua l edited handb ook . At
has been between advocates of symbolic artili- emerge from Bodens treat me nt wi th much langua ge and anima l communica tio n. present it has no riva l, and it is hard to
cia l intell igen ce, or what Bode n ca lls Goo d credit. To the despair of research ers, his theory Despite the eup horia of the ea rly days, the imag ine any other work that co uld so co m-
O ld- Fas hioned A I (GO FA I), and the new breed of syntax wa s co ntin ually reca st, e ludi ng the developm ent of cog nitive scie nce has no t been pletely docum en t the inte llect ua l ferme nt of the
of co nnectionis ts, who preferred to mode l the possi bility of empirical verilication. His high - smooth . Interd isci plin ary laboratories, suc h as past fifty yea rs.
mind in terms of neural networks. Bode n handed rejection of opposing view poi nts, his H arvards Ce nte r for Cog nitive Stud ies or Edi n-
records that she was subject to extreme per- de nia l th at language co uld have evo lved burgh ' s Department of Ma ch ine Inte llige nce
son al abuse for eve n me ntio ning sym bolic A I through natur al selection, his anti-emp iricism and Percep tion , o pened wit h fanfare s but we re
at an otherwise convivial meeting of ne ural and extreme nativism , all co mbined to create a later closed owi ng to a perceived lack of
networkers . guru-like image that some how set him apart progress. Ar tificial Intelli gence , in particular,
Henry Kis singer is said to have decl ared that from other mortals. His popularity amo ng stu- suffered from se vera l bombshell s whe n fundi ng
aca de mic di spu te s are vicious because the de nts and many aca demics was enha nce d by his wa s wi thdraw n. Som e of the lead ing ligh ts of Evil , God , The Greater Good and Rights:
stakes are so sma ll. But per ha ps there is more at attac ks on the US m ilitary-indu strial esta blish- cog nitive scie nce , such as Hilary Putnam , Te rry The Philosophical Origins of Social
stake her e than in traditional academic disputes. men t. Boden lists ten beli e fs abo ut lingu istics Win ograd and Jerom e Brun er, defected. And Problems
The nam e s of Nobel Prizewinn ers are sprin kled and mind shared by those who follow Cho m- there is alwa ys a genera l o pposition, part ly intui- Bryan Fanning
..Dr Fanning shows that philosoph y matter not to special-
throu gh the pages of Boden' s treatise, desp ite sky, and takes them apar t one by one . She tive , partly religiou s and sometimes po litical, to ists, but to tho se who organize the world ...
there being no No be l category specilically re vea ls, for exa mp le, th at Chomskys work on any idea that the hum an mind is a machi ne. " Professor Hugh Ridle y, Univer sity College Dublin
linked to the science of the m ind. So me, like syntax, ofte n taken to be the pinnac le of mat he- Bod en , to her cre dit, has soldiered on thro ugh April 2007 / 244pp / 978-0-7734- 54 14-9 1 HB I 69.95
John C. Eccles, David H . Hubel, To rsten W ie- ma tical rec titu de, wa s marred by imp reci sion all of this , tak ing the bod y blows, incorpora ting
sel, Eri k Kand el , Ko nra d Loren z and Niko laas and mathematical er rors . new ideas and main tain ing an opti mistic front. Defining Music: An Ethnomusicological and
Ti nbergen, received their prizes for Physiology Of co urse every gur u has his day , and So what has been ac hieved? In on e se nse , a Philosophical Approach
and M ed icin e. Bode n states that only two psy- Chomskys inl1uence was pro bably more posi- lot. Co mputers have tran sformed ou r lives. The Andy Nercessian
", ..This book is an attempt to differentiate between defining
cho logists, Her bert Simon and Da nie l Kahne- tive than negative, eve n if diflic ult to esca pe . hum an m ind is a mir acle of mem ory storage, mus ic and discovering the true meanings found in the cul-
man , have been awarded No be l Prizes, but for Wh at now seems clear , however , is that studies but co mpute rs have vas tly increase d o ur acce ss tural manifestat ion s of mus ic..." Professor J McCollum,
Econ om ics. She neglects to note that a th ird psy- of language have entere d a new and revolution - to stored infor mati on . They co mpute far mo re University of Alberta, USA

ary phase. The connectionist approach to lan- April 2007 1 348pp 19780-77345385-2 1 lIB 174.95
cho logist, Roger W. Sper ry, also received the accu rate ly and q uic kly than human s ca n, and
Nobel Prize for wo rk that wa s strongly re leva nt guage was at fir st derid ed by the GOFA I-ists , reach ed their finest hou r in chess when IBM' s
to a mech anistic theory of m ind, tho ugh he also but see ms no w to be making ge nuine progress. Deep Blue defeated the wor ld cha mpi on Garr y How Political Singers Facilitated the
es po used a rat her o bsc ure form of du ali sm . In 1866 , the Li nguistic Society of Paris Kasparo v in 1997. They are at least making Spanish Transition to Democracy,
Sperry is briefl y mention ed , but for unrelated famo usly bann ed all discussion of the evo luti on pro gress in pallern recogni tio n, tho ugh still lag- 1960-1982: The Cultural Construction of a
wo rk. An othe r psyc ho logist and for me r co l- of lan guage, and Cho ms ky 's negative co m- gi ng beh ind hum an s in such ro utine matt ers as New National Identity
leagu e of Sperr y, Don ald O . He bb, was nomi- ments on evo lutio n prob abl y hel ped keep the lid the parsi ng of visua l sce nes or the rec og ni tion Esther Perez-Villalha
"...the originali ty of this book lies in looking not only at
nated for a No be l Prize, and his inl1uent ial on, but the past decade has see n an ex plosion of of faces. W ith or witho ut A I, cogn itive scie nce these artists ' biographies but most importantl y at how their
theo ries on the neu roph ysiological bases of book s, arti cle s and co nfe rence s ded icated to the co ntinues to flo urish , reach ing beyond the mus ic could be experienced and understood." Dr Mercedes
Carba yo-A beng 6zar , Nottin gham Trent Univers ity
memory an d thou gh t are extensively d iscussed. top ic. Wh ere Cho ms ky had decl ared that lan- study of rea so ning and logic into intuition and
April 2007 14 12pp 19780-7734-54 17-0 1 HB 179.95
Neverthe less , the towe ring inte llects of the guage co uld be studied entirely through the intui- emoti on, as in Paul Thagard's latest book,
cog nit ive revo lut ion have been ove rlooked for tions of a single spea ker of a single language, Hot Tho ught (2006) . Com pu ter s are slow ly
The Polemical Force of Chekhovian
such honou rs, per ha ps becau se of the lack of an the co mparat ive study of languages has shown becom ing more c uddly.
Comedies: A Rhetorical Analysis
available category. The se incl ude the fathe rs of much mo re diversity than expected, and seri- But there is still somethi ng m issing. Go ne are
John McKellor Reid
artificial intell igen ce, Alan Turi ng and his US ously cha llenged Chomskys notion of a "univer- the days whe n it was wide ly acce pted that "This stud y, the culm ination of man y years of reflect ion and
co unterpart, John vo n Neum ann , later A I gurus sal gra mma r" und erlying all languages. And hum ans are finite automata, describ abl e in prin- reading is exciting and compelling." Or William Green slade ,
Univer sity of West of England
such as Seym ou r Papert and Marvin M insky, where Chomsky, like Descartes, insisted that cip le by input-outp ut rules and look -up tables.
April2007 /216pp 1 97S-0-7734-5388-3 1 lIB 169.95
and co nnect ionists such as Geo ffrey Hinton and hum an langua ge was qu ite unl ike any oth er T he idea that the co mputer is the prop er mod el
David M . Rum elh art. And then there ' s form of an imal comm unication, com para tive for the m ind on ce had the sta tus of an ax iom,
Chomsky , who appea rs to have single-handedly psycho logists are gaining insigh ts from the but eve n afte r fifty years of intensive effort, no The Edwin Mellen Press
tran sform ed lingu istics and uni ted it wi th a study of com municative systems in primates co mputer reall y comes close to passi ng the www.mellenpress.co.uk
co m putationa l view of m ind, and is wide ly and in those most loqua ciou s of species, birds. famo us T uri ng test, whic h requires tha t a com- Tel: ++44 (0) 1570 423 356
Chom sky him sel f has rece ntly acknow ledge d emailcs @mellen .demon.co.uk
acclaimed as one of the major inte llect s of the puter per form indistinguisha bly fro m a hum an.

- 5- TLS J UNE I 2 007


LITERATURE

Obert Frost is the poet of aphorisms. He that the most able children of slaves cou ld be

R creates, cherishes and exploits them, set-


ting them at oblique angles, dramatizing
their tensions and limitations. They help to make
Well mixed freed. This policy would be a logical extension
of the New Deal, in which, Frost estimates, a
nation of 160 million people has been given an
him the most quotable of modem poets. "Some- obligation to care for 15 million paupers. Why
thing there is that doesn't love a wall", "Mending TlM KENDALL encompa ssed, as evidenced by Frost' s repeated should those paupers object to a slavery which
Wall" famously begins, and it concludes no less aphoristic attempts to encomp ass it. offers them safeguards? As Frost neatly puts it,
memorably: '''Good fences make good neigh- Rob ert F agg en , editor When they are not aphorizing about poetry, "There is always freedom in chains where there
bors' ", Cou ld it be that constructing walls is any- the notebook s dwell more expansively on is co nse nt to chains".
thing but constructive? Never willing to restrict TH E NOT EBOO K S OF poetic form, or on Frost' s theory of sentence It is hard to gauge how seriously such philo-
himself to one road when he can take both, Frost ROBERT FROST sounds, or on what makes a good critic. Much sophies are intended, because the notebooks
suspends his poem between aphoristic possibili- 560pp. Harvard University Press. 25.95 of what they say is already familiar from Frost' s seldom countenance the prospect of a wider
ties, and lets others do the arguing. Those others (US $39.95). public (and therefore more polished) pronounce- audience. Frost gave one of his notebooks to his
978 0674 023116
can be characters as well as readers. So husband ments, but the notebook s still offer their share earliest biographer, Robert Newdick, with the
and wife light over the word "home" in "The of brilliant surprises. The unpardonable sin for invitation to "get what he can out of by ingenious
Death of the Hired Man": '''Home is the place vide hardly any clues about the origins of individ- the reader of poetry, Frost argues in one of the inference". But only in an undated notebook
where, when you have to go there, / They have to ual poems; Frost destroyed most of his drafts, notebook s, is "to take a hint where none is entry, mysteriously dropped at proof stage from
take you in"'; '''I should have called it / Some- and those few which survive among the note- intended". That particular warning ought to Faggen' s edition, although still referenced in the
thing you somehow haven't to deserve' ''. Frost books are imaginative dead-ends. But because of cause unease among one or two o f his mo st index, does Frost seem deliberately to be
would later describe the fir st viewpoint as Repub- their aphoristic intensity, the notebooks live by - prom inent disciples. The opposite problem - passing information to a readership: his much-
lican and the second as Democrat, but in reality and are always alive to - the creative processes the failure to take a hint when it is intended - anthologized poem "Birches", he reveals, com-
the paper-thin distinction calls to mind one of of his best work. They are most usefully meet s with ev en more seve re punishment. He prises "two fragments I saw different put
Frost' s aphoristic truths about aphorisms: "all approached as a compendium of aphorisms, as likes "dark sayings" because they exclude the together so long ago that I have . . . forgotten
the fun' s in how you say a thing". Saying things understood in a generic sense: Robert Faggen' s inattentive, and in both his notebook s and his where the joint is" . And he hopes that his "word
ought not to preclude action. While the couple excellent introduction to The Notebooks of poetry he approvingly recalls Christ' s defence will be taken for it" that many of his best poems
struggle to out-aphorize each other, the hired Robert Frost also refers to "proverbs", "max- of parable as a way of shutting out the unworth y were written "without a false fumbling . . . sen-
man whose return has prompted their dispute ims", "se ntentiae", "dark sayings", "epigrams", from salvation: "These things said in parable so tence". Across the notebooks, Frost likes to per-
dies alone in the next room. "thinks" (used by Faggen as a noun, following the wrong people wont understand them and get ceive himself as a self-taught poet with few if
"A poet never takes notes", Frost once Frost' s example), "fragments", "paradoxes", saved". To reach heaven, you need lirst of all to any debts, a happy state for which he gives
observed. "You never take notes in a love "phrases" and "maxims". In total, they must be a percepti ve reader. And to be a percepti ve thanks to his nationality. While Europe is laden
affair." The claim sounds disingenuous: taking number several thousand. reader, Frost considers that there is merely the with cultural artefacts, the United States remains
notes in love affairs is almost diagnostic of a cer- The cumulative effect is to entwine poetry minor matter of approaching a poem "in the "less clogged": "Our most precious heritage is
tain kind of poet. Frost's forty-odd notebooks, and aphorism. If, as Frost once argued, poetry light of all other poems ever written" . what we haven' t in our possession - what we
stretching from the 1890s to late 1962, demon- represents the human will "braving alien entan- Frost' s notebooks do not hint or disguise them- haven' t made and so have still to make". Never-
strate his own fetish for note-taking. They pro- glements", the aphorism embodies in miniature selves like the poetry, but nor do they expose his theless, the Atlantic Ocean constitutes only a
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, that same desire to contro l and make sense of own or anyone else' s affairs. "Our ruling pas- partially satisfactory barrier. Frost' s First World
the world in all its strange variety. Classically sion", Frost argued against Freud, "is to mind War fantasy that the Germans, having so thor-
SHEARSMAN BOOKS educated, Frost would have known that "apho- each others business", but even in his notebooks oughly destroyed Rheims Cathedral, ought to
rism" has its roots in the Greek for "boundary". Frost resolutely minds nobody' s but his own. have blown "Shakespeare out of the English lan-
- RECENT TITLES -
He builds his walls to discover not only whether The most signilicant exception is also the dull- guage" while they were about it, betrays an
they will stand or fall, but what they can hold est: Notebook 11, dated by Faggen at appropriate anxiety for a poet whose notebooks
within them. Like his notebook opinion of "the 1916-191 9, constitutes a near-unreadable satire are littered with explicit and covert allusions to
best philosophy", the best aphorism is "that mainly at the expense of Ezra Pound ("Ezekiel the Bard.
which accounts for the most realities". Poise"), although with a few self-deprecating Shakespeare' s presence through Frost' s
The notebooks serve as an unassailable touches for good measure. (Frost would more writings exposes the only detectable weakness in
reminder that Frost the poet and Frost the than make it up to Pound several decades later by Robert Faggen' s editorial work. Why, for exam-
aphorist are not easily separated. "I never dared campaigning successfully for him to be released ple, should "the Winter of our Discontent" merit
be radical when young / For fear it would make from j ail.) Otherwise, the various family trage- a reference, if "Let me not to the marr iage of true
me conservativ e when old", he states in a poem dies which blighted the poet' s life, the death at minds'" or "Absent thee from felicity a while"
from the 1930s, but the leaden rhythms signal a Arras of his best friend, Edward Thomas, the con- (as Frost fractionally misquotes it) do not? This,
rare awkwardness in his attempt to accommo- versations with American Presidents and Soviet it must be stressed, is to cavil at an otherwise
Cesar Vallejo - Th e Black Heralds
&- Other Early Poems date aphorism into verse. More often, even his Premiers - none o f these ev ents warrants so superb job . Faggen's footnotes are informative
(Translated by Valentino Gianuzzi (:7 Michad Smith) prose aphorisms can become a seemingly effort- much as a mention, and they cannot even be said without interfering unnecessarily as they track
(268pp, paperback, 12.95 /$21 / Isbn 9781905700103)
less poetry: "Like a piece of ice on a hot stove to ghost the notebooks unless perhaps in a pecu- Frost' s wide variety of interests. Editing Frost' s
Alfred Kolleritsch - Selected Poems the poem should ride on its own melting"; "No liar phrase which recurs sporadically and without notebooks in all their vastness - complete with
(Translated by lain Galbraith) tears in the writer, no tears in the reader"; "I had explanation: "Dark Darker Darkest". excisions, repetitions, contradictions and utterly
(108pp, paperback, 8.95 /5\5 / isbn 9781905700301 )
a lover' s quarrel with the world". Poetry is the The notebook s are more revelator y on the enigmatic interjections - must have been a
Rachel Tzvia Back - On Ruins <7 Return abiding preoccupation of Frost's aphorisms. As subjec t of Frost' s politic s. (Politics, he consid- labour of love. Anyone who dips into them has
(104pp, paperback, 8.95 /515 / isbn 978 1905700370 )
if making their pitch to some future book of ers, is "a n honest effort to misunderstand one reason to be grateful to their editor. For who
MTC Cronin - Notebook of Signs quotation s, many notebook entries begin with another".) Several times referring to himself as could fail to be swayed by the music of one
(112pp, paperback, 8 .95 /S15 / isbn 9781905700110) the formula "A poem is . . ." : "a triumph of asso- a Democrat, he describes liberalism as "virtue contextless entry: "I have envied the four moon
Jeremy Hooker - Upstate ciation"; "a run of lucky recalls"; "the act of at its most charmin g point of relaxation" , and planet"? Or by the insight that "Gambling is an
A North AmericanJournal having an idea and how it feels to have an idea"; an illiberal as "a man afraid of other people' s abuse of prophesy"? Or by Frost' s melancholic
( 148pp, paperback, 9 .95 /S 17 I isbn 9781905700226)
"the renewal of words"; "a momentary stay ideas because he knows he will have to accept rewriting of Villon' s "neiges d'antan": "No blue-
Gerry Loose - Printed on Water against confusion"; "a dwelling on the fact , a them ". Howe ver, so me o f the notebook entries berries any more"? "The object of life is to feel
Newer Selected P Orn1J gloating over the fact, a luxuriating in the fact"; offer better reasons for being afraid of other curves"; "Evolution is the doctrine that like pro-
(144pp, pap erback, 9.95 /5 17 / isbn 978190 5700073 )
"a fresh look and a fresh listen"; "the only way people' s ideas, as well as for keeping poets well duces unlike" ; "Morality is merely organized
Michae! Haslam - Mi d Life to tell yourself or confess yourself with good away from the legislature . Frost advocates com- pity" ; "All the state is for is to protect the baby".
(208p p, p'back, 11.95 /520 / isbn 9781905700394)
taste"; "that good in human nature which can pulsory exogamy as an immediate solution to Page after page offers its delights: the setters of
Isobe! Thrilling - The Language Creatures never become habit". These and other aphorisms the race problem, and shows sympathy with university entrance exams will lind countless
(88pp, paperback, 8.95 /$15 / isbn 9781905700219) come with Faggen' s timely caution that each slavery as long as it is not organized along examples to which they need only append the
Elizabeth Treadw eII - Birds and Fancies statement may be "j ust one voice among an racial lines. Rather like Aristotle, who main- word "Discuss". And undemeath it all can be
(I OOpp, paperback, 8.95 /$15 . ISBN 9781905700165) array of conl1icting voices" (as Frost succinctly tained that some people were naturall y slaves, detected a perfect marriage of the commonsensi-
put it, "I' m not confused. I'm just well mixed"). Frost envisages a society where, regardless of cal and the miraculous, as typilied by one note-
SHBARS MAN BOOKS
Nevertheless, the persistence of Frost' s need to ethnic origin , the most vulnerable and incapable book entry in which Frost wonders whether it
; 8 VelweII Road
capture the nature of poetry in a brilliant one- are, as it were, benignly enslaved in order to be is possible to bring the dead to life. His answer
Exeter EX4 4LD
www.shears me n. com liner makes it see m more of an obsession than a protected. There would be a system of promo- silences generations of theological debate:
performance. Poetry is that which cannot be tion - Frost says nothing about relegation - so "Maybe if the corpse hasn't been too long dead".

T LS JU N E I 2007 - 6-
POETRY

poems", Creeley once said, while knowing,

Just rain surely, that that can never be so (is the split-
open head in "The Warn ing" to be j ust a split-
open head?). His popul arity scarcely ever rose
above cult status, but the affectio n in which he
n 1976, Robert Creeley published Hello: A J AM ES CAMPB ELL is held by a significant group is an offshoot of

I journu l, a notational record of his idiosyn-


cratic glimp ses into "the small I spaces of
exis tence" during a poetry-reading tour of
Rob e rt Cree ley
the seductive individuality of his nervy rhythm,
a "beat" that affected his prose as much as his
verse. In his TLS essay , he wrote: "I want to
New Zea land and the Far East. All the familiar T HE C O L L EC TED POEM S OF give witness not to the thought of myself . ..
ingredients of Cree ley 's poetry are prese nt: a ROB E RT C REE LEY , 19 7 5- 20 0 5 but, rather, to what I am as simple agency, a
cata logue of mundane observations, given 662pp. University of California Press. $49.95; thing evidently alive by virtue of such activity".
shape by the poet's appro priatio n of them; a distributed in the UK by Wiley.32.50. In the late I 960s, Creeley's meandering
continuous ripple of "nervo us shudders" at the 978 05 2024 1596 apprehensions dwi ndled practica lly to vanish-
apprehension of "whateve r there is"; and many ing point, existing as little more than a mark in
exa mples of the mannered minimalism which space after a hand has waved or a head been
became rife in his later work, from the faux- shaken. The riddling which had once beguiled
profoun d - "The world is I many, the I mind is I and intrigued increasingly began to seem like
one" - to the studiedly plain: "Ho urs I pass". the jo kes shared by dope smokers, funny on the
Hello, which occupies the first ninety pages inside, silly on the out: "Here, there, I every- I
of The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, where"; "Oc- I tag- I on- I al"; "One and I one,
UNDER SLEEP
1975- 2005, reminds the reader that practically two I three" - and so on for pages, ju stified per- Daniel Hall
all Creeley's poetry, amounting to over 1,300 haps in the minds of those who share the poet' s "Under Sleep revolves around a shimmering
pages in two handsome volumes (The Collected convictio n that "Words I are I pleasure. I A liI series of oppositions: galax y and gull, promise
Poems, 1945-1 975 has ju st been reissued in words", but not otherwise. and loss, th e fixed stars and the fugiti ve de-
paperback), is a jo urnal, one that aspires, with When Creeley does settle on a subject in his sires. To each Daniel Hall bring s his sympat hy
surprisingly freque nt resort to despair, to say later verse , it is likely to be a plainer version of and skepticis m; from each he dlstills a head y
elixir. Thi s is poetry of the highest order :
"Hello". his old black dog (" the darkness sur- I rounds
febr ile, delicate, and immensely moving ."
Cree ley, who died in 2005, began writing in us"). As Volum e Two of the Collecte d Poems -J. D. McC latchy
the mid-1940s as a disciple of William Carlos progresses, more and more poems lean towards CLOTH 14.00

Williams. Blessed by his mentor, he pursued the point where the poet fends off death by
the vocatio n of being true to his own voice, urging love. There is a lot of "The ducks are
measured according to " breath" as opposed to gone I back to the pond ... I Life' s like that"
classical metre, which was despised by both type of philosophizing, and while several
master and pupil as a falsifying agen t. The poems in Later and the succeeding collections -
modern American , in contras t to the European including the posthum ous On Earth, incorpo-
from whom he had hitherto taken his cue, "must rated into the Collected - live up to the best
so realize eac h specific thing of his own - 'as of his work, I kept thinking of a remark in the
though it had never I happened before'''. preface to The Charm (1969), a retrospective
Cree ley stuck to the practice, not without occa- Rob ert Creeley, 1983 collection of his early poetry, in which Creeley
sional anti-Old World chippiness, through six refers to the breakthrough made when he felt
decades of a writing life, in the course of which activi ty" - he is closer to abstract express ionist able to acce pt "a kind of statement in poetry
he came to be the representative America n painters (the remark strikes a deliberate echo of that acc umulates its occasion as much by means
avant-ga rde poet. Jackson Pollock ' s situation of himself "in my of its awkwardnesses as by its overt succes ses".
While it often assumes a note-taking painting"), and, more tenuously, to a notion of Bad poems are as valid as good ones, the "awk- HONEY WITH TOBACCO
Peg Boyers
form, Cree ley 's early poetry is surprisingly j azz improvisatio n. "I have never explicitly ward" as deser ving of collecting as the smooth
"Peg Boyers's poems have a rare power : they
impersonal, even abstract. Between 1947 and kno wn - before writing - what it was that I and intact. In a long and involved Paris Review match the pr ivate to the pub lic, th e inti mate
1955 , he was married (to Ann MacKinnon), wou ld say", he wrote in "A Se nse of Measu re" ioterview in 1968, probably the best iotroduc- to the political. Her own memorable phrase
fathered three children, bred pigeons and chick- (first published in the TLS of August 6, 1964). tion to his work, Creeley disdained the very puts it best: 'spiky but benign.' The range is
ens which he displayed at Boston fairs, rented In the first half of his career, the approach pro- idea of paying heed to readers' tolerance as formid able. From lyric deso lat ion to ' funky ir-
a New Hampshire farm, then lived for many duced poems (and short stories, collected in The "some odd form of entertainment of persons reverence.' But unifying thi s diversity, we hear,
u n mistakably, th e voice of a tru e poet ."
years in the South of France and Mallorca, Gold Diggers, 1954) of engagi ng uncertainty, one never meets and probably would be
-George Steiner
where he ran the small publishing house, Divers creating a tense stand-of f between the writer' s embarrasse d to meet anyway". PAPER 10.50
Press - yet there is scarce ly a trace of all this, in will and his equally insistent doub ting self- It would take a separate essay to chart
the simple factual sense, in the poetry. A strong scrutiny, all bound together with ingenuous Creeley' s bibliographical course, though the
personality is transmitted via the poet' s habit charm. "I Know a Man" is a typical Cree ley effor t would be worthwhile. The Collected is
of confronting reality clo se-up at hazardou s poem from the early 1950s: mystifyingly deficient in this respect. For exa m-
angles, making his report in characteris tically As I sd to my ple, in Volum e One, The Charm is presented
neat stanzas. Creeley and Ann were divorced friend, because I am without date or list of poem s, nor anything but
in 1955, and while this informa tion is not always talking, - John, I a brief note by the author to say that The Charm
necessary to an appreciatio n of a poem such represents his earliest work - poems written
as "The Warning", writte n shortly befo re, it sd, which wa s not his between 1945 and 1950, though you have to
adds an ominous frisson: name , the darkness sur- work that out for yourself. The copyright page
For love - I would rounds us, what gives its original date of publication as 1979,
sp lit open your head and pu t whereas it wa s a decade ea rlier. In the prefatory
a candle in can we do against note, Creeley makes reference to "The Whip
behind the eyes. it, or else, shall we & (effectually a selected poems)", A Form of
why not, buy a goddamn big car, Women and The Kind of Act of, but none of DRAFT OF A LETTER
Love is dead in us these discrete volumes is represented by title in James Longenbach
if we forget drive, he sd, for the table of contents in the Collected , all "j ames Longenbach's dazzling lyrics dra w
thei r stre ngt h from the charged zone where
the virtues of an amulet christ' s sake, look being subsumed into For Love (1962). The
change and permanency meet . The necessary
and qu ick surprise. out where yr going. new volume is little better: again the contents coexistence of these two state s results in poe tr y
Fello w natives from the 1950s are usually This poem has been the subject of vario us inter- page offers merely book titles, without dates, as inevitab le and preci se as a flower."
identi fied as Charles Olson, Robert Duncan and pretations, including one that involves John the for which readers must seek out a note on -John Ashbery
Edward Dorn, together with various Beat associ- Bapti st, but there is no reason not to read it at page 639. Otherwise, the two-volum e Collecte d PAPEII 10.50

ates; but aesthetically Creeley has little in com- face value, as a simple incident, made out of Poems ofRobert Creeley is a substantial monu-
mon with any of them. In his way of approach- words dredged from a depth at which they ment to a poet who made it his task to transcribe
ing the page - "In writing . .. one is in the might act symbolically. "Rain is ju st rain in my the rhythm of "one life at one time".

- 7- TLS J UNE I 2 007


POETRY

Lowered gaze
ach of C. D. Wri ght ' s book s has a ST EPH EN BURT

E project, easy to sum up, but endless ly


fruitful in its unfolding word s. Often, the
words are unusual words in them sel ves, drawn
C. D. Wri ght

from the spee ch pattern s of her nati ve Arkan - ONE BIG SELF
sas, from art photo graph y, from the biolo gy of An investigation
sex . Sometimes the projects corre spond to the 961'1'. Port To wn send , WA: Copper Canyon Press.
old est kind s of poem s: funeral elegy, erotic Paperback, sis.
978 I 556592 584
lyric, ode. Som etim es they mimi c visual art:
documentary photo graphs, landscap es, altar- LIK E SOMETHI NG FLYING
pieces. To gether in this first Briti sh publication, BA CKW ARDS
dra wn from almo st all her prior works, tho se 3201'1'. Blood axe. Paperback, 12. "West Motel Drive, Lordsburg, New Mexico" (2001); from Approaching Nowhere:
projects add up to a dur able, sexy, profound 978 I 85224762 I Photographs by leffBrouws (160pp. Norton. $50. 978 0 393 06274 8)
and - with in the United States - suddenly influ-
entia l bod y of work. trad itional : a set of eleg ies on a young poet that anyone could sound as winning as she does. book , with portraits of inmates in costum es they
Bom in Mount ain Home, Arkan sas, the daugh- whose death see med to steal all the light from Her next project dep icted sex . " I lower my chose, One Big Self now exists in a text-onl y
ter of a jud ge and a court reporter , Wright grew the world. Th e smoky, brief, ob sessive lament s gaze against your clito ral light" , concluded the paperb ack ; parts of its human e, impressiv e, list-
up in the Ozarks, a remote inland section of the in Transl ation of the Gospel Back Into Tongues first of her short " Ozark Odes", with which filled bod y appea r in Like Something Flyin g
American South. She majored in French and stud- (1982), Wri ght' s fourth book , but the first Strin g Light begins and end s: "clitoral light", Backward s as well.
ied writing at the University of Arkansas-Fa yettc- excerpted in One Big Self, make of Stanford an embodied femal e awar eness, the excit emen t On fir st reading, One Big Self seems scattered
ville: there she met the chari smat ic, rakish, Orph eus or an Osiri s, dismembered acro ss and awkwardness and burd en of living in a - so many pages like fragments from much -
improb ably prolific young poet, Frank Stanford du sky, du sty American roads; from his style, woman ' s bod y, before, after and durin g preg- used notebooks, so man y peopl e sketched in a
(1948-78), whose vivid verse rell ects a grungy she inaugurated her own. "Come all ye faithless nancy (even durin g parturi tion), generate d her sentence or two, so much transcrib ed and over-
Am ericanized surrealism, out of Garcfa Lorca I young and crazy victims of love", Wri ght first book -len gth poem , Just Whistle: A valen- heard . Yet the volume att ains its cumul ative
via James Wright (no relat ion), with an admi x- cried in one poem: "Come the lowlife and the tine (199 3), also the first of her collabora tions power thro ugh tho se catalog ues, those acts of
ture of South ern Gothi c tall tale. Stan ford took highborn I all ye upside-do wn shitasses .... If with the phot ographer Debor ah Luster. (Like record ing, whose sharp pangs or soft memorie s
his own life while he and Wright were condu ct- you miss us at hom e I we ' ll be on our way to the Something keep s the whole tex t of Just Whistle , will not liberat e the prisoners whom they
ing a romance and operatin g a literary press reckoning". Th e mix of very high and very low but omit s the pictur es.) Wright' s pro se para- describe .
(Lost Roads, which she still eo-owns). diction , unshod in formal ity and psalmi c serious- graphs and lloating ballad -stanzas achie ved a Wri ght' s accr eti ve techniques strive, as did
Wri ght' s first large proje ct was her mo st ness, would typify Wright' S later wo rk. fine excess, remini scent perhap s of Elizab eth Wait Whitman' s, to bring up for democratic
The narro w compass would not. Wright' S Sma rt, and ripe for (perhap s only for) enj oy- attent ion whateve r seems either especia lly
-
next book, Further Adv entur es with You ment by reader s who alread y grasp Wri ght' s Am erican or else undul y maligned. Som e pris-
P uorr.\ 1)( (1986 ), set out to broad en her scope, drawin g more controlled, more compressed wor ks. oners make their own ob sessive lists: "Count
OK T AY RI FAT on her travels in the US and Mexico with her In Tremble (1997) , control, co mpress ion and the roaches when the light comes on I Coun t
------------------ new husband , the poet and tran slator Forre st jo y becam e goals. Unguard ed in their senti- your kid s after the hou selire ... Count your
T R,\:>:SL\TE Il UY Gand er, and takin g de vices and subgenres from ment s, care ful in their free-verse phra sings, and dead". Other pages record queries which sound
lilm . Th ere was a poem called "Treatment", and " intent on seizing happin ess", these poem s of like apolo gies, and which coalesce into nearly
Ru th C ln-is rie & Ric hard ~IcKanc
a better one , all images, called "This Coupl e" , marit al affection, intense friend ship , and sex ual isolable lyrical passages, phra se after sadde ning
Int mdu((d I~)' et'i'll l Capon
which began with camera -work : yearning portra yed their author as part lover, phrase: "Whom do you see in the
Now is whe n we love to sit before mirrors part praise singer , and some time dial ectolo gist, mirror I A !lick of the con science / before the
A powerful selection
with a dark beer or hand out leafl ets giving out doubl e entendres as adv ice: "T he left windows darken in hard vertical lines". No
o f lyric and narrat ive
at cha in-link gates or co me tog eth er after work / hand protects the rhythm . Wat ch / your head . other poet' s work could be mistak en for
poem s by Turkey's No fires should be / unattended ". One poem Wri ght' s, at least from String Light on: no one
list enin g to ea ch o ther's hard da y.
most cele brated poet announced ingenuou sly, "Today is the best day else uses such mixed diction, such shifts of
And there were attempts not only to depict her
since N:.iZJnl l Iikm ct. Ozark s, but to adapt the point s of view of their since yesterday" ; another confesse d, " I like mode and speed within a sing le sentence, with
citi zens, who some times cho se to leave, and your shoes your uncut hair I I like your use of such propul sive charm. Even in her best short
25" PI'
(J7S 0 :iS6-t() .n o (J some times stayed. space too" . Stanford becam e in these poem s a poem s, Wri ght' s lines can sound delib erately
Before she could make the definiti ve book of per sistent ghost, a shadow to the glow of her imperfect: the middl es of her poems, so averse
" ")5 hom emade ode s: "No poet' s death" , Wri ght had to consecutive logic , can repea t them selves.
tho se Ozark s, thou gh , Wri ght had to settle
do wn elsew here - in her case at Bro wn Univer- to remind herself, "can be the sole author / of The beginnin gs and ends, though , have the
sity in Rhod e Island , where she has taught since another poet' s life". strength of granite, the attract ive heat of a camp -
1983. Her interest in locality, in the speec h Wrigh t' s next project was a travelogu e, a fire, and the immediacy of intimate speech, mix-
cade nces and totemic objects of a region not yet road trip in search of "se lf-conscious South ern ing the ancie nt demands and forms of lyric with
well mapped in modem poems, inspired most of poetr y, preposterou s as a weddin g dress". Th e the speec h Wright heard early in life.
String Light (1991) , a checker-bo ard of geo - result, Deepstep Come Shinin g (199 8), emu- Like Somethin g Flying Backw ard s rightl y
graphy and self-scrutiny, belo ved memori es lated , in scrambled for m, 1930 s docum entar i- reprints the whole of Trembl e: readers new to
and pinhole -camera land scapes. " I was the poet ans such as Jam es Agee and Walk er Evan s, Wri ght' s work should start ther e (with " Key
101' shadow work and towns with quart er-inch / quot ing, alon gside King Lear , a daughter who Epi sode s from an Earthl y Life ", say) , or with
phon e book s, of failed road side zoos", she said: " How can I look myoid dadd y in the face the sheaf of new poems first colle cted in
announced, imaginin g her own ob ituary; "I and say 1 can no longer bring a tom ato to set" . this volume. No one else could hope to "be
Cornpe lling ver sio ns made simple music I out of sticks and string" . For all its beau tifully recorded sentences, the mercurochrome to one anoth er, I bee balm or
of th e g'f e<.H Aust ria n Such mu sic was rarely simple, but it was often book -length prose poem too of ten appro xi- chamomile", then place herself with decepti ve
poet' two pu blished disarmin g in its humility, and clear in its link- mated not a mu sical fugue but a psycholo gical confidence "at the corner of Wat erway I and
huoks toge t he r wit h age of verse craft to place (Basil Bunt ing' s fugue-s tate: it remain s the harde st to grasp of all Bluf f ', where, one new poem admits, " I need
his unco llected work. Northumbria makes one analogy ). Wri ght' s her long works. your help". No one else could co ncl ude a poem
music was also (unlik e Bunting' s) funny. "Do Without the travelo gue, though, Wri ght and (in this case , another new one , "Or: Animi sm" )
not lie or lean on me", she warned; " I' m still try- Luster could never have cre ated One Big Self, a with so resonant an inter section betwe en the
ing to lind a job I for which a simple machin e long, quotation-filled poem in short prose and proph etic and the colloquial, invok ing both the
isn't bett er suited." Th e socia l concern for blue- ver se seg me nts deri ved from visits to Loui siana collective feast of barbe cue , and that mod ern
collar rurality let her persona , in this poem prisons, such as the ma ximum-securit y facility Beast, the automobile: "Th e bea st involuntarily
called "Personals" , put its best foot forward: Angola (famous for its newspaper , its rodeos turns its rack of ribs up for the pack. I He has
Wright shows her verbal deftness, parado xi- and its Death Row) and the women's prison pulled into the breakdo wn lane, burnin g oil. I l l'
cally, by claiming democratically, and wrong ly, St Gabriel. Origin ally a weighty, expensive art these rags are edibl e, we will live" .

TLS J UNE I 2007 - 8-


POETRY

The precise point at


which we die
JO E PH EL A N and its rejection of the conventional pieties of
the era. When she looks into the eyes of a dying
J a n e t G e za ri man, in "A Death-Scene", Emily' s primary
aim is not to offe r Christia n consolation, but to
L AS T THI NG S detect, with unsentimental precision, the exact
Em ily Bronte' s poe ms moment of his dying:
200pp. Oxford University Press. 19.99(US $35). But they wept not, but they changed not,
978 0 19929818 1 Never moved , and never closed;
Troubled still, and still they ranged not -
harlotte Bronte was haunted by the Wandered not, nor yet repose d!

C memory of her sister Emily' s "death-


day" ; Emily was, according to Char-
lotte, "torn conscio us, panting, reluctant though
There is, as Gezari points out, a studied ambigu-
ity in the use of the word "still" here which
produces the paradox of eyes that are both
reso lute out of a happy life" . These words "troubled" and "st ill", both in motion and at
reso und through Last Things , Janet Gezari's rest. Gezari is partic ularly adept at drawing
absorbing study of Emily Bronte' s poetry. For attention to Emily's poetic exp loitation of the
Gezari, the impossible desire "to be alive for resources of homely words such as "still" and
her own death" - to be "co nscious" to the last - "again", and her carefu l attention to the texture
is one of the driving forces behind Emily' s of Emily' s poetic language prepares the gro und
imagination. The "unqua lified affirmation of for her final chapter, in which some of the
the joy of being alive", which Gezari sees as the poetry formerly attributed to Emily is re-
keynote of Emily's poetry, is implicit in Char- assigned to Charlotte. Using both manuscript
lotte' s use of the word "panting", with its sug- evidence and the internal evidence of the poems
gestio n of a hunted animal at bay. And the hint themselves, Gezari indicates the places where
of resignation to the will of a higher power in she believes Charlotte has altered or added to
the word "resolute" is a reminder of the exte nt her sister's work, usually out of a desire to
to which Charlotte 's editoria l and biographical impose a more conventional moral framework
labours have shaped posterity' s view of on Emily' s untamed imagination; and Gezari
Emily' s life and work: one of the aims of Last claims that one of the lyrics which helped to
Things is to disentangle Emily's own poetry, shape Emily's nineteenth -centu ry reputation -
and the vision it embodies, from the interven- "Often rebuked, yet always back returning" - is
tions of her sister. probably the work of Charlotte alone. Having
This is, however, a study which resis ts the read Gezari' s account of Emily' s poetry, it is
temptatio n to read Emily's poetry biographi- difficult to dispute this conclusion. It is sup-
cally. The poems are worth reading, for Gezari , ported by detailed exa mination of the verbal
because they manifest the "subsurnption of the similarities between this poem and Charlotte' s
personal into the imperso nal", which is the other writings , but more importantly it has the
hallmark of genuine lyric poetry. Each of weight of Geza ri's whole book beh ind it;
Emily' s "fragmentary poems" - seemingly o nce we are attuned to Em ily' s vo ice , we
disconnected but actually complete lyric
utterances - is presented as the consecration of
realize that this poem simply does not sound
the right note.
wednesday
"a moment, a feeling, or a sensory impression"
rather than a finished and discursive meditation
on experie nce.
The stripping-out of Charlotte ' s inter ven-
tions makes Emily' s poems eve n more "im-
personal" by removing some of their overt
june 6
There is, nevertheless, a deep underl ying
cohere nce to these frag ments, a vision of
points of contact with the socia l and political
debates of her time. It is, for Gezari, the relative
6:00 pm
human life that overr ides any merely biograph - scarcity of such points of contact that accounts
ical interest, and renders relatively unimpor- for the comparative critical neglect of Emily's
tant the dramatic framewo rk which the imagi- poetry in recent decades, in spite of the large-
nary land of Gondal provides for a number of scale rediscovery of nineteenth-centur y poetry
the poems. Gezari dem onstrates this coherence by women writers during the period. In provid-
thro ugh a series of close readings - almost ing "new reasons for wanting to read" Emily' s
med itations - which combine textual scho lar- poetry, it is not Janet Gezari's aim to make this
ship, phil ological awa reness and critical sensi- poetry more responsive to the concerns of con- st giles- in-the-fields church
tivity in exe mplary fashion. The most sus- tempo rary critics; she is interested less in what
tained of these, the cha pter devoted to the poems have to say abo ut ge nde r than in 60 st giles high st reet
"Re membrance", opens with a careful discrim i- what they revea l about "some larger, more uni-
natio n between the involun tary and painful act versal human condition" . She is unfailingly londo n
of "remem brance" and its more ben ign co usin, courteous to those critics who have made gen-
"reco llectio n". Geza ri's sympathetic focus on der the object of their attention, but there is a
lim ited seat ing, fir st come fir st ser ved
the poetry makes both finished poems like polem ical resonance to this phrase nonetheless.
"Reme mbrance" , and seemingly unpromis ing Her thoughtful and sustained engage ment with
frag ments, glow into life, and reveals the Emily Bronte' s poetry has nothing of the brittle

I~I r09NEDTT~O~
stro ng affi nitie s at work between Emily's "argument" of much contemporary critica l dis-
poetry and her one acknow ledged masterpiece, course; in its determin ed focus on the elemental
Wutheri ng Heights. conditions of human existe nce and its scrupu-
Through these readings, we become attuned lous attention to language, La st Things provides poetryfounda t ion.org
to the characteristic features of Emily' s lyric an example of what a reinvigora ted critical
voice, most notably its abruptness of expressio n humanism might look like.
Photo, : Dcn etd Hall by Nancy erampton;Andrew Moti on by Ad rian Me. ling

- 9- TLS J UNE I 20 07
POETRY

ranslation is an imperfec t art - even an than the fragme ntary sec tions print ed here. It is

T imposs ible one. That is the truism. But it


wou ld be a very eccentric devotee of
litera ture who for lack of Gree k or Russian
Lost and found nothing short of trag ic tha t Hughes never made
an assa ult on the whole poe m. Eve rything one
enjoys in the ori ginal - its descriptive ex uber-
refuse d to read Homer or To lstoy. Lyric poetry ance , the rus h and delay of the narrative, the gal-
is more challenging to the translator than narra- C LI VE WILM ER fatalism. The classica l hexameter, as innumera- lows humour, the rhyt hmic elan - is there, or
tive literature is, since little can be separated out ble atte mpts at it have shown, has no rea l equiv- see ms to be, in Hughes' s version. The perfectly
fro m the choice of specific words, their sounds, T ed Hu gh e s alent in Engli sh. In this res pect , Pound ' s cho ice co mpetent account of the poem by his fellow
rhythms and associations, to say nothing of of allitera tive verse might be co mpared to Yorkshirem an, Simon Armitage , is simp ly tame
poe tic form and the elaborations of syntax . That S E LECT E D T RANS L A T IONS Pope' s of hero ic coupl ets. In both cases the by co mparis on.
is why there are lyric poets of the lirst rank - Edited by Daniel Weissbort metre was adopted for what it signified to an But Northernness must be part of the ex plana-
Goet he and Pushk in are pri me exa mples - 368pp. Faber. 20. Eng lish reader, not as an equivalent to the tion. Hughes once declared that his West York-
whose poem s are not as well known in Britain 978 057 122 1408 Greek . By contrast , when the ori ginal langua ge shire dial ect co nnec ted him and his "mos t
as their fame might lead us to expect. Neverthe- employs structu res for whic h clear equ iva lents intimate self to Middl e Eng lish poetry".
less, most good poets atte mpt tran slation in the as roo ted in a traditio n. He made modern free- exist in English, Pound imitates the original Long before Hughes atte mpted his tran slation,
co urse of a life' s work and serio us rea ders of verse poe ms out of Chinese classics, which are, form, though he ofte n adds some distinctive Seamu s Heaney noticed that " with its beaut iful
poetry will want to have some familiarity with, we are told , co mpou nded of elabora te forms strangeness to mark the poem off as foreig n and allitera ting and illuminated form, its interla cin g
let us say, Catu llus or Baud elaire. There are and co nve ntions , but we reme mber his versions ne w to its English co ntext. Th is is his meth od and trell ising of natur al life and mythic life, [Sir
those who claim , moreover, that poetry is esse n- for hauntin g images and poignantl y unfamil iar for the sonnets of Cava lcanti, and how his Ga wain] is probabl y clo ser in spirit to Hughess
tially metamorph ic - a process that incl udes rhythms - not, pro bably, for anyth ing a Chinese friend Laur ence Binyon , with his approv al, poetry than Hughess poetry is to that of his
negotiations with other texts and the transform a- reader wo uld notice. Th is is the method for translated The Divine Comedy. co nte mporaries " . One might also mention the
tion of expe rience into language, rhythm and which Pound is mostly credited and it has In writing Cathay - at a time when, inciden- laconic wit, the gritty sensuousness and the
form . To such a co nception of poetry, the act of exe rted a co lossa l influ ence on translators eve r tally, he knew no Chinese - Pound discovered a taste for the grim and violent: all things the two
verse tran slation is fund ament al. since , eve n when they have felt obliged to mod- mysterious process that Hughes see ms also to poet s share. So in the case of Sir Gawain
Be that as it may, there are man y different ify it. It co uld be taken to ex plain alm ost eve ry- have hit upon. Anyone who has successfully Hughes was not so much translating as modern -
way s of mak ing over a poem . Metaph rase, para- thing in the Selected Trans lations of Ted translated a poem kno ws something of it. In any izing a wo rk in his ow n language, thou gh do ing
phrase and imitation , said Dryde n. In prac tice, Hughes. But it was not the only meth od Pound poem of value there see ms to be some poetic ele- so with such co ncentratio n and sympa thy, that
though , there are innum erabl e co mbinations pract ised. When he translated a passage fro m ment , some inner intensity, which is separable the result is little less than a major mod ern
and subdivisi ons of these three. The grea test Homer in the first of his Cantos , he turn ed the from the langua ge it is embodied in and which poem . He makes no ob vious attem pt to follow
tran slator of modern times, Ezra Pound , looked Greek hexameters - by way of a Latin tran sla- therefore appears to defy the truism we began the original structure, and yet his version see ms
for the method appro priate to the case . In his tion in linea ted pro se - into something like the with. Daniel Weissbort, who edited this selec- to fit qu ite naturally into an acce ntual metre
masterpiece Cathay , conscio us tha t previous me tre of Beowulf. In this case the metre was tion, tells the story of Hughes tak ing another with alliteration, thou gh no all iterati ve pattern.
attempts at Chin ese had mostly res ulted in mere chose n as app ropriate to his mea ning : one that poet's translation of a work by the Hungarian Apart from Sir Gawain, alm ost eve rything
chinoiserie, Pound abandoned forma l structure evo ked an as pect of Homer whic h he shares Ferenc Juh asz and, without any knowledge of Hughes translates he renders in free verse . In
and every thing that wo uld mark his origi nals with the author of Beowulf, a sort of barba ric the origi nal language and no Hungar ian speaker some insta nces, as Pound discovered in Cathay ,

;:::===================================:;1 to ad vise him , turnin g that version into a thrill-


ing poem that drives the existing versions off the
this method can break a logjam - as I am going
to sugges t it does with Racine ' s Phed re. In
map. It is as if there were, as the race has ofte n others it may seem to impose a misleadin g inter-
dreamed, an ur-Ianguage, some fundamental pretation on the ori ginal. W ith poem s fro m
hum an speech pred ating the Tower of Babel, to modern Euro pe the danger is part icularl y great.
which true poe ts have visionary access. Hughes It is too easy to read our contempora ries as
thought of the poet as a shaman and this expe ri- voices of a shared co nsci ousness, to which cul-
ence of the tran slation process must have co n- tural and linguistic differences are ju st irrele-
ChriH Church firmed him in that view. But even poets of a vant. Th e case in point , for me, is the grea t Hun -
OXFORD coo lly rationalistic outlook have spoken of such ga rian poet , Jano s Pilin szk y, with his vividly
experiences. However we understand it, it see ms disturb ing images of the Holocaust and the hor-
Centenary Celebration IN ASSOCIATION WITH
THE SUNDAY TIMES OXFORD
to account for Hughess successes, the Juh asz
bein g one .
rors of the Sec ond World War. In "Harbach
1944 " , for exa mple, he evokes a ga ng of force d
LITERARY FESTIVAL AND
SATURDAY 23 6i SUNDAY 24 JUNE 2007 TOWER POETRY On the other hand , as we kno w, ecs tatics with labour ers, apparently close to starvation,
the gift of tongues sometimes talk gibberi sh. In dragging an enormous cart:
1969 Hughes collaborated with Peter Broo k on Already their bodies belong to silence.
a theatrical ex peri me nt that - on paper at any And they thrust their faces towards the height
rate - see ms to run that risk. Weissbort incl udes as if they strained for a scent
a passage fro m the dram a in question , Orghast , of the faraway celestial troughs
which was performed at Persepoli s by the
tomb s of the Persian kings. The play is a tran sla- because, prepared for their coming
tion only in the figu rative sense I men tion ed at like an opened cattle-yard,
the outset. Indeed it is not eve n written in Eng- its gates flung savagely back,
lish, but in an invent ed language consisting (it death gapes to its hinges.
wo uld appear) of bird calls, grunts, shrie ks, I cannot and wo uld not wis h to deny that
and frag ments of langua ges Hu ghes had no Hughes, in his quest for the ur-Ianguage,
knowledge of. Without the magic of Brook ' s succee ds in putt ing his finge r on the quality of
production and a ruin in the desert , it is hard to Pilinszky' s visio n. But what about his metre?
make much of it. On e wants to protest that the Pilinszky is techn ically rather tradit ional. Th e
origi ns of language might be traced thro ugh an sta nza form her e is so mewhat lik e that of a
exa minati on of phon em ic shifts or some fuller ballad and evokes the imperson al grimness
under standin g of transformatio nal grammar. of folk poetr y - as we find it in "The Ancie nt
The danger of this surrender to a hypothetical Mariner" or in Goethe' s "E rlkonig". In Hun gar-
ur-Ianguage is that it allows the subjective ian, mor eover, "H arba ch 1944" is inescap ably a
predilec tions of a mono cultural and largely Christian poem , though you would ne ver know
monolingual poet to be projec ted as the it from Hughes' s version.
ex pressi on of a comm on human nature. Writing of Hughess work in the I960s,
Th e principl e of Orghast is disturbingly Char les Toml inson drew this cavea t:
prese nt throughout the present volume. An When in Thrushes, Hughes equates the "bullet
obvious contrast is pro vided, however , by a and automat ic purpose" of thru shes with
THERE WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS, PLUS poe m in a lan guage very close to Hu ghess Mozart' s artistic instinct and then Mozart with
DINNER AND ACCOMMODATION BY ENTERING THE AUTHOR COMPETITION ow n. It wo uld be hard to lind a more inspired sharks ("Mozart's brain had it, and the shark's
IN THE 8TH JUNE ISSUE OF THE TLS version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight mouth . .."). one begins to wonder if Hughes' s

TLS JUNE I 2 0 07 - 10-


POETRY

powerfu l evocation of primitive force s is not only by co nvention; by nature they are more
bought at the cost of knowing what civilization primitive than aborig inals. They are a spider
is. If you isolate Mozar t's musica l sav oir faire people, scuttling among hot stones.
in this way , between the amora l automatism of Th ere is some thing in the serenity of Oedipus
the thrush and the shark's lust for blood, you at Colon us that, like the formal perfection of
work a false rhetoric which prevents the reader Mozart or Racin e, is outsi de Hughes' s range .
asking in what way s human civ ilizat ion and His triumph as a translator, though , if we
the centuries-long traditions of music were exclude the fragme ntary Sir Gawain, is surely
essentia l before Mozart co uld write a note. the very popular Tales from Ovid. It is easy to
It was this limitation in Hughes' s art and out- see why Hughes looked to a vid as his model of
look that enabled him to abridge Ovid' s Meta- the shama n poet in a civilized society, yet it is
morp hoses , eliding the princip le of order that possible to understand the success of these
unilies the poem and its vision, and to reach versio ns without recour se to mystica l idea s. No
for the animal terror at the heart of Racin e' s doub t like any inspired poem - and Tales f rom
Ph ed re , in the process casti ng aside the forma l Ovid really is inspired - it arises from engage-
di scipl ine thro ugh which that terror becom es an ments in Hughes' s inner life that are beyo nd
objec t for co ntemplatio n. On the other hand , all co mpre hension, much as the Juh asz does.
translation s are partial: no versio n can capture Unlike the Juhasz and much else in this fascinat-
every aspec t of a poem ' s qu ality, so the best ing book , however, it takes off from evide nt
translator s - Pope in his Hom er or Pound in his sources in Eng lish literature - from the fabu-
Chinese poem s - co nce ntrate on the things they lous Elizabeth an translation by Arthur Go ld ing
ca n achieve, whic h are very often the things and from Golding's most resplendent ben-
that spea k to their time. It mu st be admitte d From the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes, 1999 eliciary, Willi am Shakespeare. Hughes was
that, whatever the problem s Hughes' s Ph edr e obsessed throughout his life with Venus and
poses, no one else has co me as close to succes s so often the case with poet-translators, it needs sources for Hughes' s Crow - and, on the Adonis, and the avid is aptly represe nted here
as he has - with the possible exce ptio n of Ton y to be seen in the context of his own poetry, other, sonnets by Lorenzo de' Medici. On bal- by the two sections Shakespeare drew his plot
Harrison, whose version is best seen as an ada p- which has both dra wn on these texts and co ntrib- ance , the engage ments with classical poets - from. Reading the book thro ugh consec utive ly,
tation. Nevert heless, I think we should resist uted to the means of their translation. This from Aesc hylus and Euripides to a vid and one is struck on arriving at the a vid by the
the notion that Hughes has got to the root of Selected Translations , meticulously edited by Seneca - are more co nvinci ng than those with ghost of Jacob ean blank verse pervading the
Racine ' s vision, as if the insight embodied in Dan iel Weissbort , represe nts one of the most Hughes' s co ntemporaries, though the omissions rhythm , much as it does in The Hawk in the
the famous line " C' est Ven us toute entiere it important but least recognized aspects of are also striking : Seneca' s but not Soph ocles' Rain and Lup ercal. If I am right that the ver-
sa proie attachee" were mor e funda mental to Hughes' s legacy. It includes work from twenty- Oedipu s, Homer but not Virgi!. Could this be sions of Ovid and Sir Gawa in are the star turns
Racine than the po ise of the alexa ndrine which three writers and fourteen languages, each selec- because neither Sophocl es nor Virgil would of the book, I am poin ting to poems with deep
gives his insight ex press ion. tion unde rpinned by a docum entary appendix. prove responsive to the view of hum an nature roots in Hughes' s ow n langu age and culture,
Hughes's work as a translator, however, is There are things as unexpected as, on the one Hughes ascri bes to the Roman dramatist? and hardl y at all in whatever it was we lost at
both consistent and co mpellingly readable. As is hand , The Tibeta n Book ofthe Dead - one of the The figures in Seneca' s Oedipus are Gree k the Tower of Babe!.

Dear Angelo by Oliver Reynolds


We are look ing at the post. How clear it all is, blo wn in through the holes left by the arrows
ho w detailed! The gra in-lines in these oak planks and mu sket-balls of the Germ an mercenaries A letter of stops and starts and the latest
could be fresh from a prin t-shop ' s Iirst pull who visited their merci es upon us in ' 27. a century back ! Dear Ange lo, goo d da y to yo u!
so distinct and cand id they are: but touch them ! I found this rolled up with writs crumbling into du st ...
Yet your prin t faces the window bright as eve r.
Baulk s of timber , iron pulley-blocks, co ils of rope Today is the day . I resum e at Su mm er ' s end
and piles of helm ets and hamm ers litter the square. in the wee k of the Feast of the Ex ultation of the Cro ss. Pro ud to be Roma n, I am proude r still
They are demoli shin g one of the ho uses opp osite. May' s procedur e is reve rsed: the patie nt stone to have known you. Old now, I see our totterin g life
What joy there is in the rush of fall ing rubbl e ! to be winched aloft till poised above its astragals. suspended in the momen t from its own frail towers:
what we do and what we make of what we do.
A boy trail s hay through the breach in the sacri sty wa ll Dawn mass for the workme n, Sixtu s blessing Font ana .
and hor ses are roped to a windlass not far Crow ds behin d barriers, Cardinals dott ing the roofs, I listen agai n for that cry from the crowd
from where Sixtus and Fonta na strolled a year ago the visiting Duke of Luxembourg diver ted to the square above the gossi p and arg ume nt and rumour since.
talking then of what is to happ en now. to witness what Romans can do in Rome. There was no cry; a Iigment; no, it was "a Genoan
with a garde n on the ri ver . .." (0 God of Detail!);
The obeli sk is to be moved. It may take Swiss Gu ards patrol the mob bound to silence
900 men, 75 horses and 45 cap stans, (a rumou red gallow s waits for the uninhib ited) or, my favourite: "a n English mariner." Wh y not?
but the obelisk - swaddled in reed matting, so as the work ca n proceed to plan: a trumpet Wh y not some lum py sailor with a lump y name -
boxed up in two-inch plank ing and plated with iron bars - sets the ca pstans turn ing, a bell stops them. Wegg or Warin g, Higg inbotto m or Hod ge -
or eve n a fugitive Milord on the spree ...
is to be plucked up by its roots like a leek. 360 ton s and 80 feet of ancient granite
Tree-length levers and wrist-thick rope carve d, raised and honou red by the Egypt ians Pigafetta says the not ion of ropes saved by water
reeved and sheave d from a myriad pulleys as the petrilied seed of the Go d of the Sun (and here' s how I lose my cases) does not hold water.
will free it from the muck of 1,500 yea rs. and shipped here by Ca ligula (ballasted by lentil s) Excep t if they were alight. I rememb er no fire.
Do I rememb er a sho ut? Som et ime s I think it was me.
Dandl ed from two oak towers, it will be tilted now tremble as lant in Sept emb er light.
onto a sled and hauled on roll ers to its new site Hooves clatter and slip on the cobbles, the ropes groan Mo stly, though, it seems an ex halation of the crow d,
in front of the new St Peter' s: one in the eye and hold as the bell sounds one clear note and the ropes something rise n from us like stea m above ca ttle
for the heathens of Helio polis and Witt enb erg ! groan louder, shivering out pizzicati like a giant harp . as we watch not with envy, but knowledge.
The obeli sk would not have stood without our watching.
The gold ball said to cont ain Caesar' s as hes Th e stone wave rs mid-air , uncertain, held up by our eyes ,
has been removed from the point of the obeli sk. til one of us shouts, a repeated shout (what is he shouting?): Enough. I send these lines. I think of you
Pigafetta has exp lained it (there is no inscri ption) Water the rop es! Men runn ing with buckets. Water the at your tabl e swee ping the tiny sprigs and coils
and put its con tent s to the test of lire and water. ropes! of co pper into an inky hand to toss them in the grate
They are not hum an. Merely du st and earth The trump et blasts the thing upright and the wedges go in. where they flare gree n in the n ames and are gone.

- 11 - TLS J UNE I 2 007


POETRY

" M e a poet! " Ton y Harri son' s sonnet pro test. Th e skinhead's retort: "So don't speak
"Sel f Justification " begins with an
exclam ation , not a que stion . That
opening gambit, at onc e surpri sed and asse rtive ,
The cock of Baghdad Greek. Don't treat me like I'm dumb " recall s
other accusing dumbn esses in this poetr y.
Meanwh ile, Harri son ' s well-schooled "Greek"
draw s into its orbit not only the particular story is rudely out-cunted and out -fucked by his
of "M e", but the whole sociopolitical context ANGELA LEIGHTON the castles, but also, now , the poem ' s "shaping angry double.
from which it springs. The story of England ' s memories": With its historical moment past, howe ver,
divi sion s, its North and South, Right and Left, Remembrance like iced cake crumbs in the and its last-lin e denouement becom e familiar,
Ton y Harrison
working and middle classe s, has been rehearsed throat , what remain s of V is perhap s no more than a
by Harri son for a period of almost fifty yea rs COLL E C TED PO EMS remembranc e like windblow n Blackpoo l brine llu ant , funn y, con troll ed polemic. Thi s is the
now , and his voice is indissolubly bound to it. 464pp. Viking. 30. overfills the poem's shallow moat shadow-side of Harri son ' s gift. Th e foul-
Thi s, his first Collected Poem s since he started 9780 670915910 and first, ebbing, salts, then, flowing, floods mou thed adversary strugg les against the work's
publi shin g in 1964, is a tribut e both to the life' s this line. too perfect form , and the resul t is not quit e a
work so far, and to the kind of poetr y he has mal, rhyming, metrical poetry, with a strong If this has an Augu stan self-consciousness poem but a shouting match. Shouting in verse is
made uniquel y his own. demo tic streak and a rousing appe al to the ear , about it, the metre extended as if to overfill , not Harri son ' s wea kness. His regul ar metre can be
Never easily plac ed in the Briti sh poetr y complicates the matter. only castles and poem s but eyes , it is also a tub-thumping fist, his passion mere stree t-
sce ne (whatever shifting thin g that is), Ton y It is Harri son ' s own story , however , which mo vingly fit and simple. Th e "ri sing tides" of corner haran gue . The republican verses in
Harri son ' s abilit y to irritat e, pro voke and scan- fuels his work. "Me a poet!" is, of cour se, the tears or memory push against the wishful sand - " Laureate' s Block" , for instance , are rhymin g
dali ze has often distracted from his art. If his declaration of the Northern, working-class, ca stle of the poem, which only ju st hold s rant s. Like all heartfelt rant s, they impose a
style, with its metric al count and punch ing scholarship boy, whose divid ed root s, betw een against them. Thi s is Harrison at his best, takin g kind of straitjacket on the reader - a clamp
rhyme , see ms in the tradit ion of Betjeman and home and school, upbrin gin g and education, grie f, regret and guilt, and lettin g them pack which lea ves no room for demur. Th e smutty
Larkin , his poli tics lie in another direction. The yield a prolon ged and produc tive quarrel. Th e into the poem ' s sma ll castle , full to bursting. crud ity of "L egal Rulin g" , which Harri son has
Daily Mail' s notoriou s outcry at V - "a torrent exten t to which that story, (mostly) male and reprin ted but I won ' t, doe s nothing for republi-
of four- letter filth" in which "the crud est, most Northern, inspire s the wri ting, become s clear canism, or for poetr y.
offensive word is used 17 times" - is testimon y when readin g Harri son' s Callected Poems. Th e In the end , the works wh ich will survive
to the Mail' s power of out rage, as well as its earl y work, with its hectic verbal bravado and their first readin gs are those which are unsure,
assiduous clo se read ing. Mor e temp ered crit i- sex ual strutting , its anxiou s egotism and techni- unhecto ring. The poet who can , in "T wo Poem s
ci sm, however, like Herbert L om ass remark cal profici enc y, read s like j uvenilia. "My whit e For My Son in his Sickne ss", "out of unbearabl e
that "one doesn 't com e to film or poetr y to be shorts tighten", he notes in "The Zeg-Z eg Post- panic at his pain / .. . light a candle in a church in
lectured at" , is less ea sy to dismi ss. card s", then pract ises some rough sex in rhyme : Spain", or buy a rice-paper man in Japan , is a
Harrison's role as soci al comm entator has "She' s back in England pregnant. Now he can / better poet than the one who must declaim his
al ways shadowe d his poetry; not that the two flood the damn ed valley of his African". But atheist credentials. Thi s has something to do,
are separable, in his view . "Poetry is all I then, sudde nly, Harrison finds his voice . In the not with opinion s, but with poetry. As William
write", he has declared man y times. " Poe try" self-ironizing, sixtee n-line "M ered ithian" son- Carlo s WilIiam s noted , " It is difficult / to get the
covers much that is not incl uded in this book : nets of "The School of Eloquence" (1978) , he news from poems". Harri son might be one of the
the plays, screenplays , librett i, tran slation s, tele- disco vers that it is not what he has but what he best political poets of the age, but only when he
vision and film poem s - those dramatic form s owes which makes for poetr y. In particular, it is is not see king to con ve y e ithe r mere ne w s or
he has made so much his own. The voice which what he ow es his own upbrin gin g: mere opinions. The lovely poem "Ini tial Illumina-
can inhabit and rein vigorate Greek tragedy, How you became a poet' s a mystery! tion", which moves from the Lindi sfarne cormo-
medieval Morality pla ys, the bizarre burial Wherever did yo u ge t yo ur talent from? rants, via the illuminated V of the old Gospels, to
ritual s of a Neapolitan cem etery , the plight of I say: I had two uncles, Joe and Harry - "the Baghdad cock who was betrayed / by
Alzheimer patient s in a hospital , as well as one was a stamme rer, the other dumb . bomb s into believin g day was dawnin g", is a fine
con front the fatwas of fundam entali sm or the The sonnets which follow unfold the story, political poem , not because it takes a stand and
war in Iraq, is one for whom " poetry" is indee d not only of the poet' s childhood in Leeds, rails again st ills, but becau se it gives the reader
a capacious and troubling term. "Isn ' t it your but also of a whole generat ion of scholarship freedom to think. So too with the poem sent from
sort of poet' s task / to find words for this fright- boys in twenti eth-century Britain : a story of "Self Justification" , then, is in fact beset the front in Bosnia . In "The Cycles of Donji
enin g mask?" , the blasted Iraqi soldier asks in anger, misunderstanding, superiority, amb ition, with pain. Rem emb ering that stammer, which Vakuf", the theft of a child ' s cycle and mandolin
"A Cold Com ing". "Your sort of poet" has a but also guilt, love and, ultima tely, a difficult mad e Uncle Joe so de ft and fast a print er, the ex pos es w ar's vici o us lotterie s, but al so hints at
jabbin g, accu sator y poin t which cannot be acknowledgement of dues. These back -to-back poet concedes that his own poet ic heritag e is other cycles of violence. Here , Harrison speaks
ignored. sonnets , with their small room for poeti c one of: with an understated clarity and poignanc y which
Harri son ' s willingness to " find words" for mano eu vre and their satisfy ingly metred idiom s, aggression. strugg le, loss, blank printer's e ms could only be his own:
politic al events makes him, indeed, a rare sort of can be startlingly poign ant and powerful. It is as by which all eloquence gets justified. And tonight some small boy will be glad
poet in British cultur e - one who has spoken if the form were waiting for this tale. "Me a In tho se uncharacteri stic mid-line spaces, which he' s got the present of a bike from soldier dad,
out, against and for, versus and pro, the trouble s poet!" is an achievement gained here, not in look like the tinie st experimentation, or impedi - who braved the Serb artillery and fire
of the day, and thus acqu ired a very different pro- proud isolati on, but against the stammering and ment , Harri son lets us hear the cost of to bring back a scuffed red bike with one
file from most cont emporary poet s. When, in dumbn ess of lives that went before. Joe and eloquence. It is when he ca n hear Uncle Joe llat tyre.
1995, the Guard ian sent him out to co ver the Harr y stand like sentinels to these poem s, in in the back ground that the poetry cu ts its And among the thousands lleeing north,
war in Bosnia , he sent back poem s whose pas- which the divisive pri vilege and resources of teeth. Taci turni ty, dumbness, stammering, or another
sionate witne ss clearly belon ged , not in the liter- words are checked again st reticence. "We never ju st " the tongue tha t once I used to kno w / but with all his gladness gutted, with his mother,
ary supplements, but on the front pages. Th is is could talk much , and now don 't try" , the poet can 't bone up on now, and that' s mi mam ' s" , knowin g the nightm are they are cyclin g in,
verse as an ackno wledged legislat ion. Wheth er recall s, sitting alone with his father after his mak e "The School of Eloquence" the powerful, will miss the music o f his mandolin .
the " frightening mask" be that of class, race, moth er' s death. " You' re like book ends, the dri ven coll ecti on that it is. To let the mandolin speak, of what exactl y is
war, or genocide, Harr ison has made it his busi- pair of you, she' d say" - a line that yields the After this breakthrough , ther e' s a ge ntler, lost and missed, gives the read er verse- room, to
ness to write about it. That he has done so in for- small joke of anothe r poem : "and there were maturer voice in the poem s. Th e wonderful imagi ne or feel beyond what is said.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _-r words betwe en us, yes . ..". That "words" lie mid-life meditati on "A Kumquat for John Thi s issue of readerl y freedom is perh aps
between makes the place of poetry itself uncom- Keats" brood s on the limitations of its own most ac ute in the ca se of a poet who can run so
fortable , incriminating. Like many sonnet achievement in the face of history: "a thing no smoothly in the qua train s or coupl ets of a give n
sequences, this one comments on the tools of bigger than an urn explodes / and ravishe s all verse form. It is not the form itsel f, but the
its own trade, finding them doubl e-ed ged. The silence, and all odes". "The Heartl ess Art" puts tend ency to expa tiate throu gh it, which mar s the
words that fill the book s (of poetr y) also keep its own rhymes on trial in the face o f a friend's poetr y. The desire to driv e the point metricall y
the book ends silent and apart. death. Poetry in these later works is besieged home, to fini sh each line with a rhyming
The se poem s, for all their techn ical pana che , by a realit y which overwhelm s verse. "And llourish, to pro ve the stanza's sturdy resilience,
their Classical learn ing and witty conclusions, what the hell' s its use in all our woes?" is a ques- page after page, is to risk, at times, either showy
caut ion again st show, their (grammar) school of tion now dog ging the poet. In V, probabl y his pyrotechnics or prea cherl y coercion . It is when
eloquence temp ered by a homel y silence. In best-known work, Harri son ackn owledg es the Uncle Joe lurk s in the poem ' s workings,
"The Icing Hand ", for instance, Harri son recall s goad that dri ves him: "all these vs: again st! making a pause for thou ght, that Ton y Harri son
makin g sandcastles on Blackpool beach , his against! aga inst !" Like much of his work, this becom es the fine, publi c-speakin g poet we
baker- father' s "icing hand " guiding, not only poem is a se lf-rec koning as well as a social expect and hop e for.

TLS J UNE I 200 7 - 12-


HISTORY

men t in our lives should not be the best way of

H
ave you got the det ail s of the Easte rn
Qu estion at your fingertips? Can you
rem emb er what exactly it was tha t
brou ght Glad ston e out of retire ment to
challenge ev il with all the moral force at his
No more roses act ing as indi vidu als but ho w we should beh ave
as memb ers of a clan. We need , invari ably, to
make up much of the history that sustains this
idea. It abso lves us fro m indiv idual responsibil -
co mmand? W ell , if you are a little rus ty on all C H R I S P ATT E N pende nce? I first met Djuk anovic in ea rly 2000. ity. This is what unleashed all that terror on
these issues - to some ex ten t laid to rest at the He was cleverly distancin g Mon tenegro from the Balkan s in the 1990 s, and wha t und erp ins
Co ngre ss of Berlin in 1878 - Elizabeth Rob er ts Milo se vic' s Serbi a, avoi di ng an all-out cha l- Samu el Hunt ington ' s claims that ou r future will
E l iz a be t h Rob ert s
will tell you about the Black Mountain that lenge, mind ful of the dangers of perha ps having be torn apart by clashin g ci vil izat ion s. So it
was near the heart of this blood y matter and R EA L M OF TH E BL A CK M O U NT AI N to fight the Serb ian arm y with Montenegrin will if, for exa mp le, we forget our sense of civic
about much else besides, in Realm of the Black A history of Mo ntenegro police . I flew into Dubrovnik and was take n by ideali sm , see ing inevitable future strugg les
Mountain , her scho larly, read able and we ll- 52 1pp. Hurst. 25. car to cross the nearb y border of the Serb ian- as bein g played out between Chris tians and
978 1 85065 77 1 2
wri tten history of Mont enegro. Mon tenegrin state, where customs and immigra- Mu slim s, not pre vented by individual cit ize ns
US : Corne ll University Press. $37.50.
A tune by Fra nz Leha r, whose "P ont eved ris" tion officials were still forma lly loyal to Bel- who remember their hum ani sm .
978 080 t4460 16
in The Merry Widow are thinl y d isgu ised grade. We flew up from the coast, in a helicop ter Second, the mo st succe ssful foreign policy
Mon ten egrin s, first introduce d Lady Rob erts to which Djuk anovic had sent to collect us, to pursued by the European Union ha s been
that country: "I come by crue l fate fro m a little wou ld ha ve been we ll adv ised not to pic k a Pod gorica, the cou ntry' s rather grim ca pital. enlarge ment. It has helped to stabilize our co nti-
Ba lkan state" - cruel fate, perh ap s, to be co n- fight with a Mont enegrin. There were behead- Once a Mu slim fortress , it was heavily bomb ed nent while authoritaria n reg imes ha ve falle n,
sume d by in terest in suc h a sma ll co untry wit h ings, poisonings and blind ings as warlords, by the German s in the Second World Wa r and the Russian empire has cru mbled, and dem o-
so little geogra phy but all too mu ch history. Yet prince-b ishop s and kings struggled for po wer. rebuilt with all the aest hetic sym pathy of Social - cracy and mark ets have strugg led into life. It is
her book offe rs, ad mittedl y on a sma ller ca nva s, On e ru ler had his broth er nailed to a cross and ist plann ers in the 1950s and 60s. remar kable that the fall of the Berlin W all did
as much insigh t into the probl em s of the Bal- saw n in half. Head s ro lled and were used for Djuk ano vic is an impressive man. A prim e not lead to blood shed in Centr al and Eas tern
kans as have wor ks by Re becca W est, Mi sha footb all or sent gift-wra pped to Sult an s. Co n- minister be fore he was thirty, he is tall, good- Europe. The exception was the only part of
G lenny , Noe l Malcolm and Mark Mazo wer - vert s to Islam we re massacred. Wom en - and look ing, char ming and no more trustw orthy the formerly Communist wo rld tha t had most
whose book The Balkans (2000) is the best who wo uld have chose n, as one ruler said, to be tha n yo u would expect of a survivor of the distanced itself politica lly from Mo scow. Th e
short introduct ion to the reg ion. eve n a princes s amo ng wo lves? - had cats sew n break -up of Yu goslavia. I met him fairly reg u- death of T ito, the surviva l of his fiss iparous
Unfort una tely, Western interest in the Ba l- into thei r skirts which we re then beaten with larl y in the next few yea rs, listen ing to his co nstit ution, ethnic hatred s between Orthodox,
kans has been and remai ns rather mo re of a rods. Defeated foes had their noses and lips patient efforts to pro ve himself a mod ern izing, Ca tholic and M uslim co mmunitie s, and the
minority one than it should be, give n the hack ed of f. " How can a so ldier pro ve his pro- Europea n, straight-as-a-die lead er. His long destructive genius of Mil osevic, tipped the
regio n's importance in Euro pea n histor y. We heroi sm if he does not brin g in noses?" a replies to the ofte n rather petulant questions Balkan s back into vicious wa rfare .
do not ca re to dwe ll too long on the reg ion that Mon tenegrin schoolteac her said to the write r tha t I was oblige d by European policy to ask For years , Europe had no policy on all this.
- some used to think - brou ght us at Sa rajevo and trave ller M . E. Durh am on the eve of the him were mellifluou sly tra nslate d by his beauti - Wh en eve ntually one began to emerge - for
the First World Wa r. That lack of interest is one Balk an war which preced ed the Europ ean ful inter preter. After the fa ll of Milosevic, inter- exa mp le, the Carr ington Plan in 1991 - it was
of the reasons why, in the 1990s, some found con flagrati on of 1914-1 8. No wonder that the es t in supporting him turn ed into trying to sto p scuppere d by the EU ' s squabbles and irresolu -
it so easy to look the other way , while over Carnegie Repo rt on those regi onal wars him doin g what he was ev ide ntly intent on tion. After too m uch bloodshed, a new policy
200 ,000 men , wo men and children died in the rec orded the use of terro r aga inst civil ian pop u- doing, that is, sec uring Montenegro ' s escape offered West Balkan countries mem bership of
wars that acc ompanied the dism emberm ent of lation s, j ustifie d by nation alist ideologies, to from Serbi a' s embrace. Europe 's official posi- the EU . Nationalists could bury feral xenophobia
Tito 's Yu goslavia. It was the lowest point in drive peop le fro m their land. tio n was to preven t this at almos t any cost, without losing their sense of patriotism. Slovenia
Europe 's pos t-wa r history, exposing the gap This is a wretc hed tac tic that continued mo stly because of the allege d kno ck -on effec t is already a memb er, and Croatia is well on the
between ou r preten sion s as Europ ean s and our into the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Moreover, in Kosovo and Bosn ia-H erzegovina. way to jo ining the twent y-seven. Oth ers, I hope,
ability to act decisively toget her. The most Montenegrin beh aviou r did not see m to have W e twisted ourse lves into knot s trying to will follow , if Europ e does not lose its nerve.
important que stio n in tho se days was not wha t im prove d very mu ch . In 1991-2, Mon tenegrin make this poli cy wor k, trying to design customs That is true elsew he re too: it is true, for
Europe wo uld do - mostly wri ng its hand s and irreg ulars jo ined the Serbian arm ed force s in the agree me nts with Serbi a-Montenegro that took exa m ple, of Turkey , Ukraine and Moldo va. O f
issue co mmuniq ues - but what the Un ited shelling of Dubrovnik, for which two pro minent acco unt of the fac t that the two eco nomie s we re co urse , enlarge ment should not co nti nue indefi-
States wo uld not do . Afte r all, as the Secretary Montenegrins were sentenced at Th e Hague. totall y dissimil ar and that the fede ral trade nitely ac ross the globe. But it sho uld not end
of State James Baker mem orabl y rem ark ed , Ear lier this yea r, I stood in the main cemetery in minister - a Mo nteneg rin - spe nt his time at before we have taken in Europe ' s ne ighb ou rs
W ash ington had no dog in this fight. Dub rovnik on the feast day of St Blaize (the intern ational confe rences sounding out other who share our values, and Turkey, whose Euro -
Elizabe th Ro berts lead s us sk ilfu lly along the city 's patron saint) and look ed up throu gh the co untries abou t allowi ng Monten egro to joi n pean ambit ions and cre de ntials we acce pted
high ways and byways of Mont enegro' s exces- cypress trees at the esca rpment above us from the Worl d Trade Organi zation on its own. The yea rs ago. To turn ou r back s on Turkey no w
sive amo unt of history. A tiny country, with a which only fiftee n yea rs before shells had been smarte r poli ticians in Belgrade did not be lie ve would risk turni ng a policy tha t has crea ted
beau tiful Adriatic co ast (now discovered , alas, lobbed dow n on the defe nce less (now beauti - in the policy of holdin g Serb ia and Mont enegro sta bility into one that accomplishes exac tly the
by Russian touri sts) and a rocky, mounta ino us fully restored) city below. The de puty mayor, a togeth er ei ther, nor reall y did the Amer icans, opposi te. And for what reason ? Becau se we still
interior, it ha s suffe red fro m its geographica l local professor, showe d me the graves of his thoug h they let us in Europe play the hand. believe in the ethnic , religious, ide ntity po litics
position on some of the geo po litica l as we ll as young pupils who were murd ered in this strategi- Djuk ano vic steadily came to the co ncl usio n that pitted Ott om an M uslim s again st Orth odox
geo logical fault-lines of Europe. It has been in cally pointless assau lt. There were rows and that ou r heart was not in the struggle. We said to Serb s and Monten egrin s? Bec ause we still
the lll yrian no-man ' s-land between Venice and rows of youngsters, their pho tos on man y of the him thin gs we did not bel ieve, and he repli ed believe, in the words of J. A. R. Ma rriott ' s intro-
Byz anti um, and on the fro ntier between the headstones, aged eightee n, twe nty, twe nty-four. with answe rs that neith er he nor we thought duction to his The Easte rn Question, that " the
Mu slim and Christia n wo rlds, bet ween Cat holic Perh aps those of whom so much heroism has we re true . The end result was inevitabl e. So prim ary and most esse ntial factor in the prob -
and Orthodox Churc hes , between the decaying been ex pecte d have foun d it difficult to co unte- Mont enegro is now on its ow n, its onl y heavy lem is the presence, embe dded in the living
European empires of the Ott om an s and the nance modera tion. The co urage has never been indu stry, such as it is, in the back pocket of the flesh of Euro pe of an a lien substa nce . . . the
Ha bsburgs. Oth ers have poked abo ut in the in do ubt. It insp ired a pretty awful poe m by Ru ssians (for the bau xite mining concessions, Ott oman T urkey "? If we conti nue to listen to
wrec kage that these clashes have produced - Te nnyson - in his "C harge of the Ligh t Briga de" Roberts suggests) and the rest of the economy voices like Sir John Marriott ' s, then the often
Hohe nzo llerns, Romanovs and sanctimonio us mod e - " 0 sma llest amo ng peo ples! Rough struggling to find a way to be en trepr en eurial ter rible story that Elizabe th Rob erts tells so we ll
Britis h liberals. For all this time, Mon tenegrins roc k-throne Of Freedom! I Warriors beat ing without smugg ling petro l fro m A lbania, or is not ye t over.
ha ve trie d to cli ng on to a sense of their ow n back the swarm I Of Turkish Islam for five hun- cig arettes and peop le to Italy. There used to be
identi ty - Serb ian or not perh aps quit e Serb ian, dred years .. . " . In the Par tisan struggles agai nst Italian prelim inar y ind ictmen ts requ estin g Mr
"a sepa rate ethnic gro up", as Ro berts notes, "of the Germ an and Italian occ upiers in the Second Dju kano vic ' s arre st, but maybe these have been IilFOUR COURTS PRESS
mixed Slav-Alb anian -Vl ach origin s" . It is the Worl d W ar, Mon tenegrins - Djil as prominent diplomaticall y pigeonh oled.
The IRB Second Edition
co untry fro m which Milo van Djilas and Slobo- among them - played more than their propo rtio n- There are sure ly two le sson s to draw from
dan Mil osevic both sprang, represent ing in the ir ate part in that heroic fight against the odds . this story of medieval ferocity that has lasted OWEN Mc GE E
ways the best and worst of the histor y of the More than a third of the Partisans' generals almost to the prese nt day. First, we should have T he first majo r, systematic overall study of what was
land that became, in 2006, the first inde pende nt ca me from Montenegro. Dj ilas - T ito' s lead ing learn ed by now about the dangers of identity arguably the foundi ng organization of the modern Irish
polity : the IRB .
nation sta te of the twen ty-firs t ce ntury. dissident critic - is the nearest person in Rob- politics, a poi nt admira bly made by Amartya
Tod ay 's pop ulat ion of less than 700,000 ert' s book to a real hero . Should we now add to Se n in Identi ty and Violence : The illu sion of ISBN 978-1 -8 468 2-06 4-9 384 pages ills 25
Published: I June
inh eri ts a co untry with a bloody past, which I his the name of Mil o Djuk anovic, the guileful des tiny (2006). So mu ch horro r has resulted , in
suppose goes for most of us. Yet eve n by Prim e M inister and President who manoeu vred Europe and elsew he re, fro m the notion that we
Europe 's c ustomary standards, Mont enegro' s
history is remar kably turbul en t and bru tal. You
Montenegro through the shoals of Serbi an and
European politics to the achieve ment of Inde-
are the inherit or s and custodia ns of pure-
blood ed loyalties, and that the defin ing senti-
7 Malpas Street , D ublin 8, Ireland
Tel. (Dublin) 453 4668 www.fourcourtspress.ie
Iil
- 13 - TLS J UNE I 2 0 07
---I 1--- which he called for a reassessment of Jun e 4 .

The General Secretary's tale Although the letter was publi shed overseas, the
CCP suppresse d it inside China and inten silied
security measures on Zhao ' s conlinem ent. A s
the 16th Part y Con gre ss approached in 2002,
Hu Jiwei, who had served as Editor-in-Chi ef of
A best-selling inside story from China the Peopl e's Dail y from the late 1970 s into the
80s, was amon g a number of peopl e who urged
"Economic de velopment should be HU PING Zi yan g was en titled, even und er hou se arrest. Zh ao to write ano ther letter to the Central Com-
accompanied by modernization of Although Zhao did not actuall y require qigon g mi ttee , but ad vised him to put the em phasis on
the poli tical system." "What is ' revolutionary memo irs' circulating in China treatment, it pro vided a useful pretext for Zon g lifting his hou se arrest and mention Jun e 4 onl y
referred to as modernization is actu- were penned by Part y writers and publi shed Fengming to vis it him regul arly from Jul y 10, in passin g. But Zhao obser ved ,
all y Westerni zation, which requires a con ver- onl y after hea vy cen sorship", Jin note s; "and 1991 to October 24, 2004 . During that time, If in this letter to the 16th Party Congress I put
ge nce with mod ern Western civili zation." "The the y have little historic value." W e are indebted Zon g and Zhao en gaged in more than a hundred the emph asis on my house arres t, it will see m
only wa y to solve Ch ina' s social ills is to to Zon g Feng ming for a book that goes some conlidential con versations, and Zon g recorded frivolous, while downplaying June 4 might sug-
establi sh democracy and rule of law." " So- way to recti fyin g this situation. each one from memory afterwards. He subse - gest that my views have changed. Writing
called politi cal reform mean s eliminating the I should add here that as a longtime critic of quentl y gave the records of their con versations about political reform with the preferen ces of
Part y' s monopol y on power." the CCP who ha s been pointing out the political to Zh ao for approva l, and al so submitted them the leadership in mind is meanin gless, and if
Read ers familiar with China' s situa tion and economic co sts of reform s for years , I was to several of Zh ao ' s good friend s in top -le vel I'm going to put forward my views , my argu-
would readil y ascribe the above quotes to any not surprised when I learn ed throu gh thi s book Part y po sitions. Finall y they we re compiled to ments should becom e stronger rather than
number of exiled Chin ese demo crac y activists , tha t Zhao' s views were very clo se to my own. form the book publi shed in Janu ar y, the second wea ker. Thi s means taking on sensitive issues
or perh aps to some recently impri son ed intern et Follow ing June 4 and the dissolu tion of the anni versary of Zhaos death , by the Hong such as the one-party system, multi-party sys-
essayist. But in fact , a ll of these comments forme r So viet Union , Communist ideology suf- Kon g-b ased Open Books. tem s and parliamentary democra cy, which
com e from a former top Ch inese official; and fered an enormous setback in China. By now it Th e book's authenticit y and significance is would touch on sore spots within the leader-
not in untrac eable leaked documents from an is abundantl y clear that it is not onl y ordinary highli ght ed by two prefaces: one is by Li Rui , ship and lead to ideological disputes. If I were
"undi sclo sed source" , but in con versation s people and political dissid ent s who ha ve lost who once serve d as secretary to Mao Zedong to write such a letter , it would simply be sup-
recorded by a clo se confederate of the official, faith in the Communist Part y; man y gove rn - and as Deput y Mini ster of Wat er Re sources. Li pressed again, eve n befor e the Politburo sta nd-
subsequently vetted by the ofticial him self, and ment oflicials have as well. The stubborn was labelled a "right-wing opportunist" in ing committee could see it. If it were leaked
then again by seve ral retir ed ranking members refu sal of tho se same oflicials to engage in 1959, but was rehabilitated after Mao ' s death . over seas, it would be regard ed as a sign of
of the Chin ese Communi st Part y who ha ve pub - democratic reform is not a matter of ideology, He then serve d as a memb er of the CCP Centr al political infighting , and I would bear the
licl y endorse d their publication. Th ey appear in but rather of preser ving their person al interests. Committee and the Central Advisory Commis- consequ ences.
Zhao Ziyang ruanjin zhongdi tanhua (Zhao Zhao' s rare inte grit y of vision led him to sacri- sion before retirin g in 1984. Th e oth er preface Ultimately, Zhao did not write the letter.
Ziyang: Capti ve con versation s), by Zong Feng- lice his official status and his personal freedom. is by Bao Tong, formerly dir ector of the CCP Thi s passage make s clear that Zhao Ziyan g
min g; and it is the revelat ion of this clear - did not publi sh his views during his lifetim e,
minded reformi st vision ex isting inside the becau se he felt it could serve no real function;
CCP within living memory that has given the also that he believed he and his family would
book its explos ive relev anc e and inter est, and suffe r further harm as a resul t. Onc e Zong Feng-
mad e it a surprise best-seller in Hon g Kong , ming' s in vol vem ent in the project of publica-
where it was publi shed earli er thi s year. tion was known, he also came under a great
Although the book was publi shed in Chin ese, deal of pressure from the authorities, and pre-
with no imm inent plan s for an Engli sh tran sla- pared himself for the possibilit y of being impri s-
tion , its implications for Chin a' s current polit- oned . A number of othe rs invol ved with the
ical and economic prominence on the world book ha ve also suffered intimidation, and
stage dem and wider reco gnition in the non - people who ha ve attempted to brin g copies to
Chinese-speakin g world . the mainl and ha ve had them conliscated . (It is
Zhao Ziyan g was the General Secr etar y of worth not ing that the Hong Kong journalist
the Chinese Communist Party wh en the Demo- Ching Cheong, who in August 2006 was sen-
crac y Mo vement erupted in 1989. He was tenced to five years ' impris onment on charge s
forced to resign from his posit ion becau se he of espionage, was detain ed in Chin a in April
advocated resol ving problems through demo- 2005 while reportedl y attempting to obt ain the
cratic and legal processes, and oppo sed Den g manu script of this book .)
X iaoping ' s use of forc e to suppress the move - Zh ao talk s about intern al po wer strugg les
men t. Follo wing the crackdown on June 4, and polic y differences in the top ech elon s of
when Zhao re fuse d to adm it his "mistakes" , he the Communist Part y, his assess ments of Mao
was placed und er hou se arrest in his res idence Zedon g and Den g X iaoping, his criti ci sm s of
in the ea stern district of Beijin g, where he Jian g Zemin and Hu Jint ao, Sino - US relations,
rem ained until his death on Janu ary 17, 2005. Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and US President RonaId Reagan, 1984 Sino -Soviet relations and the Taiwan issue. He
Reformists within and out side mainl and China also offers in-depth rellections on the history of
never completely surrendered their hopes that At the same time , his fall from grace left him Central Committee Office of Political Reform , the Ch inese Communist Part y. Regarding
Zhao might eventually be rehabilitated, or that little more to lose, and it is for that rea son that Political Secretary of the Standing Committee Chin a' s intern ational position , Zh ao obser ves,
he might be able to mu ster enough internal we are now able to read his frank observations of the CCP Central Committee Politburo, and The first half of the twenty-first century, or at
support to head a mo vem ent that would lead on Chin a' s past and futur e. Zh ao Ziyang ' s political secretary . After June 4 , least the first thirt y years, will remain under the
to an overthrow of the dominant auto crat ic Zhao' s lift een years of hou se arrest Bao was sentenced to seve n yea rs in prison, and dominan ce of the United States .... If China is
force s. But Zhao was too old , too ill and too amounted to more than a loss o f freedo m of ha s lived in Beijing since hi s relea se. Th e bo ok to develop , it need s to culti vate good relati on s
isol ated, and by the time of his death , China movement; all contact with the out side world also includ es an inscription by Du Run shen g, with the US .. .. Cultivating good relations
was enjoy ing unpreceden ted international was severe ly restricted, and he was compl etel y form er director of both the CCP Central Com - with the US mean s cultivating the Americ an
influ ence with no signilicant compromise of isolated fro m old friend s. Onl y Zong Feng- mitt ee Rural Poli cy Research Oflice and of the peopl e, becau se the policies of the Americ an
its totalit arian principles, and no sign of ming , an old comrade-in-arms, had frequ ent State Council ' s Research Centre for Rural gove rnment are influ enced and restricted by
adherence to uni versal value s of democracy and acc ess to the Zhao hou sehold. Zon g, who had Development. Li Ru i vetted the lirs t and second the American peopl e. In any case, the Amer-
human right s. retired in 1990 after servi ng as Part y Secretar y draft s of the manu script. In his preface he ican people and the Americ an gove rnment are
Zhao Z iyan g led an extraordinary life, and of the Beijin g Uni versity of Aeronautic s and obser ves tha t the book ' s out standing va lue lies equally sensitive to the issues of democracy,
his failur e to lea ve a memoir of his expe riences Astron autic s, was an ackn owled ged master of in its being an auth entic record of the course of freed om , human right s and autocracy. They
is much to be regr etted . Indeed, as is pointed qigong, a tradi tional Chinese therapy that regu- Zh ao' s thinking over the period when the con- belie ve that autocracy is characterized by a
out by the publi sher, Jin Zhong, in the book ' s lates the circulation of oxygen and energy versations took plac e. lack of human rights guarantees, and by a ten -
foreword, no senior Ch inese Communist of fi- throu gh the bod y. Qigon g, like acupuncture and Th e book docum ent s how, on the e ve of the dency toward expansion and aggression , and
cial to dat e has produced anything that mi ght be herbal medi cine , was amon g the medic al treat- 15th Part y Con gre ss in 1997, Zhao Ziyan g for that reason they regard China ' s autocracy
called a ge nuine memoir. "The large number of ments to which, as a senior oflicial, Zhao wrot e a letter to the Central Committee in as a threat. Only democratic governm ent can

TLS J UNE I 2007 - 14-


COMMENTARY

preserve world peace and development . Ziyang remarks that the current leadership of have lost its political advantage and would have tions and create serious splits in socie ty. Isn't
For that reason, neither the American go vern- the CCP believes that China 's economic been forced to engage with the oppo sition in a this bound to backfire? . If some unex -
ment nor the American people will tolerate the development is the product of political pres- peaceful and equal contest for power. But now , pected incident erupts, the whol e of socie ty
ascendancy of an autocratic country. sure. And indeed , how can the power elite rob under elite privatization , there is too much at could explode.
Of course it is true that, starting with the the people of their propert y except at gunpoint? stake; undertak ing political reform would In March this year, the internation al media
Deng Xiaoping era, the Chinese Communi st China' s economic reform s are effectively require the Communi st Party not only to give took note of repeated comment s by Premier
leadership put a strong empha sis on Sino-US armed robber y. up its monopol y on power, but also to allow Wen Jiabao in which he described democrac y,
relation s, but, at the same time, they continued Bao Tong writes: "Deng Xiaoping belie ved itself to be held accoun table for its economic the rule of law, freedom , human rights, equalit y
to regard the Uunited States as an enemy. This that a Communi st Party that does not suppress offences. For that reason, political reform at this and fraternity as the common aspirations of
is because China's leaders clearly recogni zed the people cannot be a Marxist Communist point is a much more challen ging endeavour. human ity. He also conceded that corruption was
the basic antagonism between Chine se and Party; Zhao Ziyang believed that a Communist Zhao Ziyang further remark s that under the an increa singly serious problem, and pointed
American values. Where Zhao Ziyang departed Party that suppresses the people is not the sort Chinese model of economic reform , out that the key factors in corrup tion were an
from this thinking was in embracing the values of Communi st Party the Chine se people need". Even those who have studied overseas and excessive concentration of power, and the lack
of democrac y and human right s, and in refusing Thi s gets straight to the heart of the matter , been influenced by wes tern democratic civiliza- of effective control s and supervision. However,
to regard the US as an enem y. From Zhao' s laying bare the fundamental difference between tion have been eo-opt ed into this mutual inter- Wen remains conveniently vague on what he
point of view, talk of the "China threat" did not the two lines, the two models , in a single est group and made part of the power elite. The includes in his definition of democrac y, giving a
arise from American antagonism toward s sentence. Zhao Ziyang' s political views are very political , eco nomic and intellectu al elites are widespread impression of good intention s with-
China , but from the threat that autocrac y poses clear. Although he originally engineered change bound together by their common interest, and out the troublesome obligation of actually imple-
to freedom and demo cracy. In effect, he shared and opening up in China on the basis of eco- pre vent deep -seated re form in China while at mentin g them. The problem is that the Chine se
my position that if a country bases the stability nomic reform coupled with political conserva- same time ensuring that the direction of state model of reform is led by elite interest groups
of its internal rule on the suppres sion of its own tism, his views changed during years of captiv- polic y continues to serve their own interests fearful of and antagonistic to democrac y.
people, its ascendanc y cannot be expected to ity. He stated explicitly, "So-called moderniza- . . . . The current polici es of Hu Jintao and Wen Any leader who might be inclined to promote
contribute to world peace. tion is actually Westernization, which requires a Jiabao are simply a way of establishing a democratic reform is likely be isolated and
Of particular interest to political reformists convergence with modern Western civilization" . "peopl e-centered" image by offering small bereft of support. On May 10, the editor s of the
such as myself is Zhao ' s analysis and critique He held American values in high esteem, describ- inducements to the ge neral population without People's Daily respond ed to a reader's letter
of China' s current reforms. In the course of ing them as "conforming to the requirement s of disturbing these elite interests, or the sys tem with an article reiterating the official line on
his fifteen long years of house arrest, Zhaos human civilization in its advance toward moder- itself. As a result, none of these polici es can "socialism with Chinese charac teristics" ,
perspecti ves developed and changed , and I will nity, and consistent with the interests of human effectively address the problems they target. "adhering to the guidance of Marxism and
focus on the conclu sions he drew at the final social development". It was in this context that (I personally like to describe the Hu-Wen line spurning ideological pluralism", adhering also
stage of his life. China ' s sustained rapid Zhao advocated solving China ' s social ills as nothing more than the use of "controlled to "the leadership of the Chine se Communi st
economic development has drawn worldwide through democracy and the rule of law, and by oppre ssion" to achieve "sustained extortion".) Party and spurning the western model of separa-
attention. Internationally, the "Chin a miracle" eliminatin g the Party' s monopoly on power. Zhao' s observation here is an extremel y tion of powers and a multi-part y system".
or "Chin a model" has garnered inordinat e Taking into consideration the possibility that an important one. He tells us that interest groups In his con versations, Zhao also expressed
praise. Zhao Ziyang rightly points out, abrupt shift to a multi-party system might are guidin g China ' s reform s in a direction deep reservations regarding China' s "N eo-
The truthis that China's reform s and economic plunge China into chaos, Zhao Ziyang proposed favourable to their vested interest s; as a result, leftists":
development are a black box process that facili - implementing freedom of expression, removing it is a delusion to believe that the current The Neo- leftists use the pretext of "protecting
tated the wholesale transfer of public property censorship and allowing truly independent reform s will result in freedom and democrac y state industry and defending the sove reignty of
into private hands at enormous loss to the media to spring up. Nationalization of the mili- in China. Zhao Ziyang did not agree with those the state for the sake of a stronger nation and
State. De velopment projects, in particular, pro- tary and development of a multi-party system who say, "Political reform in China will have to more prosperous people" as a reason to resist
vided co ver for massive inside dealing on land could be set aside for the time being. However, wait another twenty years". The unspoken hypo- globali zation and progress towards a modern
and other assets, which amounted to a pillaging Zhao did not think there was any possibility that thesis there is that the general direction of world culture. This ideological trend appeals to
of public assets. The process was compl etel y the CCP leadership would implement political reform is correct, and that democrac y is simply those who se nationalist sentiments still feel
different from privatization in the former reform in the short term. a relati vely long-term goal. The fact is that the sting of China's past century of foreign
So viet Union, which took place in tandem with I used to think that once the stro ngman Deng China has gone down the wrong path, and con- encroachment and bullying, and can easily
a transformation to a modern democratic sys- Xiaopin g was gone, different political perspec- tinuing in the present direction means com- ignite parochial ethnic hatred. It can also eas ily
tem. There, shares were publicl y issued to each tives would appear in the central go vernment, pound ing the error and taking the countr y ever lend cohesive power to the authorities' efforts
individual, and although there was some cor- which would act to check each other. But it further from a democratic future. Zhao said that again st "westernization" and "splittism", and
ruption, eve rything was done openly and und er now look s as if I was wrong. Those who rise to continuing along the c urrent path wo uld result contrihute towards the internal unity required
public supervision. Multi-party comp etition political power ine vitably form a mutual inter- in "a wholesale corruption of society and an to preserve stability and con solid ate rule, caus-
also ensured that no particular faction dared to es t group, uniting against outsiders to defend utter degeneracy of the system. Is it really possi- ing repeated se tbacks to China's progress
go too far out of bounds. There were strong their vested interests. Consequently, no matter ble that the general population will tolerat e sev- towards a modern ci vilization .
re verberations for a time as a result of the Rus- who comes to power, they will defend the eral more decades of the present enormou s dis- For that reason, Zhao said, "Nationalism will be
sian reforms, but now their ec onomy is devel - sys tem one way or another. parity between rich and poor ?"; and the greatest threat". Thi s is a threat that we out-
oping rapidly. In other words, ec onomic devel - I would add that if political reform had been The current regim e has not turned to mediation side China must also regard with deep concern .
opment should be accompanied by moderniza- carried out in the early stages of economi c to give the people hope, but has adopted pres- It is still possible that China ' s Communi st lead-
tion of the political system. reform , the Communi st Party would inevitably sure tactics that onl y exacerbate the contradic- ership will manage to preserve its political
What is ironic is that at the very time Zhao power and retain its ill-gotten gains by continu-
was praising Russia' s demo cratic reform s, the ing to suppress the populace while reducin g
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, was in the
process of dismantling them. And one of the
Ambivalence the gap between rich and poor that poses the
greatest current threat to social stability. But
major factors in this setback to democrac y in any such success is likely to make China ' s lead-
Russia was the example of China, because West- Say we walk at the pace of the lame ers e ven more arrogant and cont emptuous o f
ern inve stors were show ing a preference for in a gaudy city without walls, human rights, democracy and ju stice. Such a
autocratic but stable regimes such as Chin a' s, a lit match for two, a contest of wills: powerful tyranny would inevitably constitute
rather than democratic but turbulent countri es would there be journalism in our future? an e ven grea ter threat to the freed om and peace
such as Russia. (Indeed , today' s China has of humankind.
become a model for all the world' s anti-dem o- Would reporter s continue to defame Neither the prospect of Chine se society in
cratic power s.) But, no matter how many prob- our leaders and would a hollow chaos nor of a secure and arrogant Chine se
lems the former Soviet Union encountered with laugh sound its echo? My shirts's a shadow tyranny is one we should relish. Of the two, the
its privatization and economic de velopment, though I know there is no blackne ss in nature. latter gives most cause for concern. Zhao
people had the right to free speech and the right Ziyang' s capti ve conver sations present a wealth
to vote, and this meant that Russia' s reforms Of fears the fear of failure is the least of insights to those of us outside China regard-
possessed a basic legitimacy. The situation in to which we cling beyond the schism ing the risks the countr y faces and present s in
China is quite the opposite; public supervision to which we cannot compar e the pornography of Fascism the comin g years. Is it too much to hope that the
and democra tic participa tion have been or live in the castle without angst like a beast. right people inside China might also learn from
excluded from the reform process, resulting in them ?
what amounts to a pillaging of public resource s DA YID LEHMAN
that has never had public acceptanc e. Zhao Transl ated by Stacy Mosher and another.

- 15 - TLS J UNE I 200 7


COMMENTARY

alking on Air, effecti vely the first man might wish for except a garden. (the pseudonym of Il'ia Zdanevich), published

W posthumou s publication by Murie l


Spark , is a "cahier" of forty pages,
consisting of nine short items. Most are previ-
Hendrik Cyrus from Germany draw s atten-
tion to Thoma s Bernhard' s Extin ction, in
which the narrator speaks of "five books that
in 1923, with an evoca tive Futurist cover by
Naum Grano vskii. Thi s copy, no 374 of 530,
has "spine chipp ed at head and foot, wrappers
ously published - including the poem "What ?", I thought would be useful and necessary to detached" but even so is estimated at
which appeared in the TLS in 2002 - but some Gambe tti [his pupil] in the next few weeks"; 10,000- 15,000.
notebook entries are seeing the light of day for among the five are works by Kafka, Musil and Imagine our surprise on turning to the
the first time. One describes a dream in which Thoma s Bernh ard (Amras). "I reflected that I catalo gue of Important Illustrated Books at
the author "started walking on air, about six had been right to give Gambetti these five Bloomsbury Auctions, to find the same book
inches from the ground" . In a note that is disclose particular s. His reply, "One should books . .. he would find them increasingly estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000.
characteristic to the point of pastiche, Spark stay active", is both helpful and discreet. important in the course of our lessons". What ' s more, this one (no 415 of 530) has no
expresses delight in her newfound ability, not With a pinch of irony, "one" is a useful Judith Flanders tells us of the crime writer "detached" wrappers; it is a "fine copy in origi-
only for its novelty but because "I remembered ingredient of style (as Spark surely knew) . To Edmund Crispin who, in The Movin g Toyshop, nal condit ion, uncut and unopened ". We will
hearing of Popes and other special people who the question , "Wh at age is Ms A?", the reply has his detective Gervase Fen compil e a list of be interested to learn how the respective copies
'seemed to walk a few inches above the "One's age" answers the question while side- book titles - " Fen Steps In . .. . The Return of go; both auctions are on June 11, at 2 pm.
ground' when they appeared in public, and I stepping the thorny subject of people' s numeri- Fen . . . . Fen Strikes Back" - before explain-
thought maybe I could do so too ..." . cal age; at the same time, it offers sympathetic ing that he was "making up titles for Crispin". *
Eugen Weber , who has died aged eighty-two,
Also included is a five-day journ al log, rather than "presumptive" compli city between In the same novel, when two characters are wrote for the TLS on matters of history, mainly
commi ssioned by the online magazine Slat e, the two speakers (ie, We're both getting old). uncertain which fork to take in a road, one French, for thirty years. As he once explained
and possibly hitherto published only in that Join the Defender s of One. Supply a sen- says, "Let' s go left. After all, Gollancz is pub- in the course of an article in these pages, he
medium . In the entry for July 11, 1996, Spark tence in which no other pronoun could do the lishing this book". Ms Flander s suggests that tried to play his part in shaping that history
muses on the pronoun "one", after an acquaint- job as well. Walking on Air is No 2 in the "this may be a metafictional first" . while still legally a child:
ance had remarked, "One feels that this is earth- Cahiers Series, published by the American About half a century ago, a nervous fifteen-
quake weather, doesn't one?". She finds the University in Paris and Sylph Edition s of *
While not claimin g to be connoi sseurs of year-old wandered into the Free French
exclusivity of "one" objectionable, preferring Lewes, Sussex, at IO. literary obj ets d 'art , we do enjoy browsing in offices in Carlton Gardens to help free
the "friendlier" formulation, "You feel .. . the catalogu es produced by auction eers such France. He was told that the only unit open to
don't you?", or even "We feel . . .". Then , too, *
Metafiction II: in which author s refer to them- as Sotheby' s, from time to time relaying some- him was the Foreign Legion - a prospect that
Spark goes on, "we have to consider if we selves in their own fiction . Last week' s pair of thing of their content s here. We are occasion- gave him pause . . .
want to be included in that presumpti ve examples from Ronald Firbank ' s Pran cing ally tempted to go along and bid, but the After waiting for a coupl e of years, Weber
' doesn' t one?' Generally, I don 't , and I think Nigger and The Flower Beneath the Foot, sent estimated prices of items can be puzzling. continued (in a review of Douglas Porch' s
it presumpt ive on the part of the speaker to in by John Ashber y, has prompted an adden- Who decides that a copy of Lord of the Flies book The French Foreign Legion ), he joined
suppose that I do" . dum from Alan Hollinghur st. He directs us to with a bare author's signature is worth 3,500, the British Army, "which meant missing some
It all depends on the mood of the conversa- this passage from Chapte r 5 of Firbank' s novel but La Chute by Albert Camu s, with an affec- rousing action in the Western Desert but prob-
tion, but aren't there cases where "one I one' s I The Ne w Rhythum: tionate inscription to one of the Gallimard s, a ably a longer life". Introducin g a collection of
oneself' are useful, where the use of "you" and The bachelor-home of the young compiler of mere I ,OOO? (Both book s are in the Annette his essays, My Fran ce , Weber claimed to have
"yours" might be too direct, or cause confu- the Glory- book of Comp laisant Husb and s Campbell-White collection, Sotheby' s, June 7.) a mind that was "like a jumbl y haylo ft", the
sion? For example, Ms A, who is feeling low, lay almost at the extremity of Upper Park Most of the items in Sotheby' s sale of contents of which he revealed to TLS readers
meets a doctor at a party. "What is the way to Avenue. Planned from designs by Ronald Russian books set for June II are way out of almost until the end.
fight depression? ", she asks, not wishing to Firbank, it possessed perhaps eve rything a our reach. One is Lidantiu Farat by Iliazd Le.

he letter in my mailbox said: "Congratu- Cote de Nuits. At least she's a bona fide expert;

T lations on your nomin ation for a 2007


James Beard Foundation Award". The
nomination was for posing as a wine connoi s- and improbably escaping censorship from a
F REE LANCE
as the world's most spectacular underachievers, over; with dinner we will be drinkin g a grisly
"backward" (ie, undrinkabl e) Chardonnay, sev-
for me to have been chosen ahead of her would
have been absurd. Yet I wonder if I was passed
over becau se the wines I recomm ended turned
seur, pronouncing on various Sicilian vintages success ion of militar y regimes. The piece was era l cases of which have been hastily purcha sed out to travel poorly. One "stately and silken"
for a luxury goods magazine who se editorial sp iked at the last minut e becau se M afalda 's cre- to fil l the void. A sigh of revulsion passes vintage was sabotaged by a competing Sicilian
content include s an appreciation of straw and ator, Joaqufn Salvador Lavado , refused to grant through the room. Someone wonders if it was vineyard. Case after case arrived watery and
python handbags ($5,200) , and tiaras designed permi ssion to reprint one of his strips. When I an inside job . Addin g to our bafIlem ent, a writer corked , and the vintner's American distributor
by a descendant of Queen Soraya of Iran. It was phoned Lavado' s agent to try to persuade him report s that a case of Perrier Jouet has appeared dropped him.
my one and only piece about wine, but what to change his mind, he remind ed me that the under her table. The previous James Beard presi- I discreetl y put away my "speech", but it' s
constitutes an expert when it comes to the mys- magazine was owned by "an infamou s yanqui dent , she points out, is currently serving time in too late, my table mates have clocked it; I' ve
terious subjectivities of taste? Here is a typical corporate monster", upbraided me for working jail for embezzling from the foundation. betrayed an eagerne ss for the prize that I wasn't
tasting note (on a Dolcetto d' Alba) by the wine for "el diablo", and hung up the phone . Finall y, the "media awards" are announ ced, previou sly aware I had.
critic Robert Parker : "a captivating array of vio- My editor was more amazed than insulted. dozens of them, it seems, belonging to arcane The editors at the table shower me with
let, berry, tar, licorice and mineral nuance s with Lavados intransigence was incompr ehensible categories such as "magazine feature writing sympathy. "It ' s still an honour to be nominated.
deeply express ive layers of fruit and an engag- to him. "What could possibly possess an other- about restaurants andlor chefs with or without Let' s try to work together again soon." They
ing, Ileshy personalit y with outstandin g length wise rational person to walk away from free recipe s" , and "we bsite focusing on food, bever- throw out ideas: super oli ve oils, artisanal
as well as freshness". Parker' s nose, I am told, publicit y?" He assured me I would be paid with- age, restaurant s or nutrit ion" . The prize is a red chee se-makers, trufIle growers, the mushroom
is insured for a million dollars. out delay. The usual pattern followed the pro- ribbon from which dangl es a medallion bearing boom . "We' re always looking." In a kindly
The James Beard awards are given annua lly mise: months of unanswered emails and calls the congenial , bald likene ss of James Beard. I attempt to cushion the blow, a past winner whis-
to food writers, che fs and restaurateurs. Beard, until the unpaid writer gives up, humiliated and remember watching Beard prepare rack of lamb pers to me that the award has done less for her
who died in 1985, was all three of these things, enraged at his impoten ce. on television . His enormous physical mass was career "than placing lirst in a hotdog-eating
re vered by professional foodi es for correctl y pre- Man y yea rs ago, I se ttled a more se rio us debt e ssenti al to his cel ebrity , since it marked him as cont est in Baton Rouge". I deci de this is not the
dicting that "native cooker y", as he called Amer- by showing up at the office of a film producer a gourmand with con viction. My mother owned time to press for payment. My Mafa lda piece
ican food, when fused with the traditional reci- with a can of acrylic spray paint. I sat down several of his cookbooks. She liked to quote his was spiked almost a year ago. The editor who
pes of immigrants, would evolve into a sophisti- with the can in plain view, and refused to leave remark that if French food evoked the taste of stiffed me has left the magazine. No one here
cated cuisine. When he was an infant, the story until he paid me. The ploy worked without my butter, and Italian food that of olive oil, then would remember it.
goes, he showed his culinary precocit y by having to uncap the weapon, and the producer American food could be described as having the On my way out , I catch sight of the editor
devourin g a large Spanish onion , skin and all. hired me for anoth er job. Today, a can of spray taste of the tin can. who bought a novel of mine twenty-live years
My immediate plan was to use the nomina- paint at corporat e headquart ers would lead to It' s time for my category: magazine writing ago, then reneged on the contract when the pub-
tion to collect money the magazine owes me for interrogation by the anti-terrorist police, and, about wine. I make the mistake of removing lisher changed corpor ate "parents" and enthusi-
a short piece for their "Latin American issue" possibly, a ban on international travel. from my pocket a copy of the inanities I jotted asm for my manuscript coo led. Her career now
about the beloved Argentine comic strip A few weeks later, it is time for the award s down, anticipat ing that I would draw a blank on is limited to the editing of cookbooks. With a
"Mafalda". Every day since 1964, Mafalda has reception. The crowd is half-drunk and unpre- stage. Not so fast. A graduate of the Institute of glance, we agree to ignore each other.
appeared in the Buenos Aires newspaper Clarin, tentiou s. Word gets out that the truck loaded Masters of Wine in London wins for her piece
shedding sarcastic light on Argentinian s' status with choice wines was hijacked on the way on Chamb olle-Mu signy, a pinot noir from the MICHAEL GREENBERG

TLS JU N E I 2007 - ] 6-
follow ing three explanations - a guardian saint,
Intellectual property rights "ad vocate; defend er; vindicator" and "one who
has donati ons of ecclesiastical preferment"-
Sir, - In his review of Volume s Three and Four and like the air in which we breathe, mo ve , and human happin ess still offers valuable inspira- are quite unexcept ionab le. Dr John son was an
of the Oxford History ofLitera ry Translation in have our physical bein g , inc apable of co nfine- tion for the management of our globali zing entirely reliab le lexicographer, though when
English (April 6), WilIiam St Cla ir refers to the ment or ex cl usive appropriatio n. world . As a secretary of state who was one of inspired he freely expressed his prejudice s
practice in England where, until the mid- In the letter, from which this quot ation is the original drafters of the First American against, for exa mple, the Scots, who ate oats
nineteenth centur y, the world's printed litera- taken, Jefferson discussed the natural propert y Patent Act (1793) and as the fir st United State s "which in England is generally given to
ture was free for translation into English and right doctrine, which was very popular in the Patent Commi ssioner , Jefferson encoura ged the horses" , or patron s who were reall y "w retches"
publication owing to the absence of copyright nineteenth centur y, especially in France and flouri shing of American invention throu gh rather than generous benefactor s.
protection for foreign author s. He states that the England. Accordin g to this doctrin e, a man has the strict examination of applic ation s and
absence of such protection constituted "the a natural and exc lusive property right in his own granting of patents. For Jefferson the key pur- A. BANERJEE
single most important factor governing which ideas. Their appropriation by others must, there- pose of intellectual property was to promul gate 53 Mayfield Close, Walton-on-Thames.
foreign author s were translated into English" . fore, be condemned as stealing. Jefferson chal- ideas and not protection in itself. In an
With the gradual introdu ction of bilateral lenged the doctrine by pointing out the critical increasingly globalizing era, the internation al -----~,-----
treaties among the main European countrie s differences between ideas and things. Thin gs or intellectual property system should, as Jeffer-
from the mid-nineteenth centur y, he writes, physical objects have the (natural) attribute that son did , strive for a proper balance between
Despising your
came an end to this practice. Against the
background of our increasingly globalized and
their use by one person preclud es their use by
another. And the legal system in Europe recog-
private benefits and social benefits. When
assess ing these benelit s, we should take into
characters
interdepend ent age, St Clair raises the question nizes and protects this natural property right as account the importance of intellectu al property Sir, - D. J. Taylor ' s percepti ve article about
whether we can learn from historical experi- being exclusive; appropria tion of objects by rights for modern economic growth, as was Patrick Hamilton (Comm entary, May 18) left
ence in what he call s "the multilateral transliter- others than the owner is condemned as stealing. show n so distinctl y by American scholars such me feeling very depressed. Too many talented
ary trading system" . He seems to sugges t that Ideas (knowledge, technology, designs, informa- as Douglas C. North and Paul M . Romer, in the English novelists such as Hamilton ha ve
the world would be better off without the tion, poem s, music, etc), however, do not have 1980s and 90s . used their talents to write clever book s about
present international copyright system, which that (natural) attribute. Nature allow s the expan- As William St Clair ' s review concerns itself people they obviously despise and would not
does not allow free tran slation and publishing sion of ideas over space. And exclusive owner- in essence with propert y rights and not patents, it want to know personally. In more recent
of the world's printed literatur e. In support ship of a new idea is gone once someone shares is worth noting that the United States in the times, I can think of exa mples from Graham
of his sugges tion, he refers to a so-called it with others. The que stion whether the State nineteenth centu ry did recognize the rights of Swift, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan that
mani festo of Enlightenment offered by Thomas wants to protect the use of new ideas by estab- foreign patentees but not those of foreign copy- come into this categor y. It may not be a
Jefferson in 1813 , that, according to St Clair, lishing intellectual property rights has therefore right holders. Mercantilist principles rather than uniquely English phenom enon , but it seems to
"is now under threat in so me countries and was nothing to do with natural property rights. Jeffer- humanistic ones explain this discrepanc y; thrive there.
never shared in others": son expressed this view in similar wording in compared with Europe , the US lacked competi-
That ideas should freely spread from one to the letter he wrote in 1813, refuting the natural tiveness in authorship and book-making (copy- RONALD MACAULAY
ano ther o ver the g lo be for the moral and property right doctrin e. right), but not in the arts and practical sciences 317 W 7th Street, Claremont, California 91711.
mutual instruction o f man and impro vem ent o f The text quot ed by William St Clair, there- (patents).
his conditi on , seems to have been peculi arly fore, does not provide a sound argument pro -----~,-----
or contra intellectual property rights. Neve r-
and benevolently designed by nature when she
made them like fire, ex pansible over all space, theless, Jefferson ' s faith in ideas as the most
PAUL SCIARONE
World International Property Organi zation ,
Mrs Duberly
witho ut le ssenin g their den sity in any point , certain mean s of advancing social progress and 34 chemin des Co lombettes, 1211 G eneva. Sir, - To be astride one' s horse is to sit on top
with a leg down either side. The photograph by
-----------------~----------------- Roger Fenton that you reproduce to accompany
faith are scrutinized. Morris says that I and emerge . .. so the highly ordered nature of our
Shakespeare and eo other s (ie, August Com te and E. O. Wilson) universe and the origin of mind will remain
Mark Bostridge' s review shows that Mrs
Duberl y (May 11), far from being "astride her
Sir, - That Shakespeare was a shrewd investor "share a simplistic world picture . .. and a topics of evolutionar y discussion . The conte xt, horse Bob", is perched, unsurpri singly for the
and Daborn e a spendthrift (Bart van Es, Letter s, materiali st agenda that might command more howe ver, will be one that I fear Mindell would times, on a side-saddle. Indeed, however shock-
May 25) is not relevant to the ways in which respect if the areas of human belief they patron - find . .. unrecognizable. On those dizzying pros- ing her non-equ estrian beha viour was rumour ed
dramati sts worke d w ithin actin g c o mpanies izingly survey were subject to the same intellec- pects that might enthuse even a sceptic of evolu- to be, it is unlikely that she wo uld have ridden
beginnin g in the 1590s. tual rigou r they bring to biology". But the path tion, Mindell is silent". Here, Morri s is right; astride.
That Shak espeare, Jon son, Middl eton , Morri s offers to obtain his respect is illusory, silence is all I offer. But when he says, "as Leavin g aside the "astride" descript ion,
Heywood , Daniel, Mar ston , Brome, Chapm an, and disingenuou s as a result. Increasing scien- Darwinian exponents boom on about the chill your reviewer thinks Capta in Duberly looks
Fletch er, Massinger, Daborne, and numerou s tilic rigou r can only enhance the materialist realiti es of a meanin gless universe, this is "nonch alant" and Mrs Duberly "commanding" .
other early modem dramati sts (on all of whom I agenda , and his unmistakable disdain for this accompani ed by a breezy confid ence that ... Instead , might I suggest that Captain Duberl y
lay "such stress" in my book) owned shares or approach in studying religion objectively, as cul- somehow there is nothin g to worry about", then appears to be assessing some detail of his wife's
otherwise demand ed and received various extra ture and history, illustrates that doin g so would I can say that I don 't share his unsupport ed equipage, while she is inclining gracefully in
form s of remune ration for their work, indeed not be welcomed after all. Morri s' s criticisms, dread, and that I think it cloud s his under stand- deference? Poor Bob, ears back and hind
routinely negotiating their own linancial terms largel y points repeated from his book Life 's ing of evolution and its applic ation s in every- legs braced to keep his balanc e, merely looks
and contra cts, is relevant. All of these drama - Soluti on , are familiar. Non-believers are day life. uncomfortable .
tists worked collaborati vely and closely with warned against scientific con sideration of the
actors and sharers in a variety of comp anies and world's di verse and varying religious trad itions DAYID P. MINDELL GIGI SANTOW
theatres durin g the compo sition , rehearsal and and faulted for "ignorance of theology". But, if Department of Ecol ogy and Evo lutionary 45 Kareela Road, Cremorne,
performance of their plays. In this Shakespeare theolo gy entails discour se on the gods, as in Biology and Museum of Zoology, University New South Wales 2090.
was not unique. days of old, then ignoran ce of theology is not of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.
a prob lem. Rather, it is expected in a scientific ------~,------
approa ch which bars supernaturalism. And if I --------~,--------
GRACE IOPPOLO Marie Claire
Department of English and American Literature, theolo gy entails rational study of the teachings Johnson' s patron
Unive rsity of Readin g , Whit ckni ghts, and traditions of religion, includin g God, then Sir, - Richard Vinen writes in his review of
PO Box 218, Reading. the problem seems to be Morri s' s, as the unrul y Sir, - Arthur Freeman's entertaining piece on Eric Rousse!' s biograph y of Pierre Mend es
materiali st agenda is a bona lide aspect of Dr John sons abuse of the word "patron" after France (May 18) that the magazine Mari e
------~,------ modern theology. Lord Chesterfield had let him down, makes Clair e was "said to have been named" after
Assessi ng the scope and limits of material- excellent reading (Commentary, May 25). Mende s France' s second wife. Thi s seems
Materialist agenda ism or science within theology could be illum i- Howeve r, Freeman is mistaken in claimin g that extremely unlikel y: Marie Ciaire was found ed
Sir, - Simon Con way Morri s made it clear in nating ; ho wever, Morris is much more inter- Dr John son had hidden "behind lexicographical in 1937, when the future Mme Mendes France
his review, earlier this year, of my book The ested in lindin g a theolo gy of evolution . He purdah" what he reall y understood the word was only sixteen.
Evo lving World: Evolution in everyday life says, in his review , that evolution ary biology to mean . The fir st of the four delinitions of
(January 19), that he disapprove s of the "materi- will lind a new "context" which, though unde- the word in his Dictiona ry is "One who counte - DAYID HAWKINS
alist agenda" of evolutionar y biologists when lined, is "dizzying" and mystical. Specificall y, nances, supports or protects" . Though it also 130 Eighth Avenue, Apt 2A, Brooklyn,
featur es of human culture such as religion and he states, "as the deeper structures of life contains a side kick at Lord Chesterfield, the New York 11215.

- 17- TLS JUNE I 200 7


ARTS
The documentary strength of new art from China

Checked by hand
T ANY A HARROD the Th ird International of 1920, unrealizable in
Russia at that date. Aie Wei Wei reproduces
T HE REAL THI NG Tatlin ' s famous wooden model for the project
Contemporary art from China in glass and steel and crystal. It is a sophisti-
Tate Live rp ool until Jun e 10 ,2007 cated feat of engineering that was completed in
ju st four months. Seeing it lit up and bobb ing
about like a lifebuoy in the dock in front of Tate
s Simon Groom, the eo-curator of The Liverpool is a surprise, a kind of message in a

A Real Thing, points out, it is a golden


time to be an artist in China, if only
from a co mmercia l point of view. Prices for
bottle, sugges ting that Tatlin ' s impossi bly
complex design (meant to rise high over the
streets of Moscow) could be constructed in
contemporary Chinese art in the international present-day China with ease.
auction houses have risen expo nentially. But The vagaries of time are a hidden theme of
Groom goes on to suggest that the work that has this exhibition. In China goods (and art) can be
been the most admired here and in the United manufactured at breakneck speed (as they were
States does the reputation of Chinese art a once in nineteenth-century Britain). Other areas
disservice. He has a point. of Chinese life suggest stasis of a particularly
The West has a long history of coming to the grim kind. Yang Fudong' s "East of Que Vil-
art of other cultur es with expectations that are lage" is a video installation that records the bleak
inherently conservative and essentialist. A cur- lives of a pack of wild dogs and their village own-
rent example is the demand in the West for art ers in Hebei province in northern China. Just
from China (and Russia) that employs reass ur- around the corner hang the documentary paint-
ingly academic mimetic skills to make political ings of Yang Shaobin. "800 Metres" depicts coal
points. Thus the work of Wang Guanyi drop s miners at work and at play. Loosely painted with
the logos of Western luxury brands into pas- a limited colour range and probably based on
tiche renderings of iconic revolutionary posters, photographs, these pictures capture the back-
while Shi Xinning inserts the figure of Mao wardness of China' s unregulated coal fields
Zedong into painterly representations of iconic which supply 40 per cent of the world's coal and
occidental photographs - so we have Mao and account for 80 per cent of the world's mining
Peggy Guggenheim sunbathing, Mao and the fatalities. The atmosphere is "awful but cheer-
Queen Mother, Mao at the Yalta Con ference. ful", to borrow Elizabeth Bishop' s phrase. In
Such art certa inly looks recognizably Chinese Wang Gongxin, "Our Sky Is Failing In" (2007) these dangerous surroundings, Yang Shaobin
to anyone who once owned a copy of Mao ' s records a lot of deliant humour.
"Littl e Red Book", but Groom would argue that models? He was denounced so liercely for his landscape. It is beautifully tilmed and the mes- These are political works of art in that they
it succeeds only because it conlirms our expecta- traditional techniques that he comm itted suicide sage is simple - nothin g is fixed or stable in comment on injustices embedded in Chinese
tions and prejudices . by thrusting a bamboo rod into his throat. The present-day China . society. But one of the other charms and
There is nothing new about these sorts of inclusion of the models, therefore, seemed Wang Gongxin' s work is frankly beguiling, surprises of The Real Thing is to see art that is
power relations, and they presen t non-Western partly political - a parable in which good craft but there is plenty of grittier social documenta- entirely playful, even mannerist in spirit, and
artists wi th an im possible dil emma. Join ing the practice becom es a matter o f life and death. tion in this show . For instance, Zhu ang Hiu which could have been made anywhere by any
international mainstream might seem to be the But the show also included plenty of other reilies his memories of the East Is West tractor gifted young person. Take Qu i Xiaofei' s "Art
answer. But those who have done have pro- threnodic tributes to craftsmanship by young factory where he worked as a sixteen-year-old. Class", in which he creates a trompe l 'oeil
voked accusations of inauthenticity - be they Chinese artists chosen by Zhang Qing: the Part of the factory with its hulking machinery asse mblage of easels on which half-linished
late nineteenth -century Japanese Post-Impres- strange Mind icraft group (Zhang Beiru, Ruan has been perfectly replicated. Some hastily aban- paintings are "pinned", all clustered round a
sionists or 1950s sub-Saharan Tach istes. And Jiewang and Mak Yee Fun), which seeks to hon- doned stools and lunch boxes memorialize a plaster cast on a plinth, complete with rags and
the boundaries of the art world continue to be our Ming and Qing craft skills, or the artist Yan horrific factory accident that occurred during tubes of discarded paint on the 1100r. It needs to
policed. The work on show in Liverpool , most Jun, who recreates traditional Chinese furniture Zhuang Hiu' s time there. But it turns out to be an be viewed with Qui Xiaofei' s touching text in
of it specially commissioned, is extremely var- out of disused heating pipes. Ling Shaoji' s eerie simulation, made of carved and painted which he remembers those lirst art classes when
ied but there is one overriding theme - the ter- video , photography and timber installation polystyrene. The piece was fabricated in the East he was a "count ry bumpkin " who wanted to
ror and strangeness of rapid, relentless industri- "Essence of Wood" mourned the ongoing demo- Is West factory itself, in the tool-making section realize "my small adolescent dream s". A young
alization. The streng th of The Real Thing lies in lition of vernacular architecture. "Yiwu Investi- where models of machine parts are sculpted for Chine se aspirant artist listen ing to Guns n'
its documentary power. gation" by Liu Jianhua, underlining the reality the mould makers. Roses and dream ing of being a rock star hardly
Social change is currently being explored in a of present-day China, piled up 30,000 low-cost Th is seamlessness remind s us that in Britain seems generically Chinese. But that is what is
multitude of ways in Chinese art. Last year's objects made in Yiwu. Th is is a manufacturing the culture and skills of factory work are fast so refreshing. This universalism is taken a step
Shanghai Biennale, for instance, included work town unfamil iar, I would guess, to most of us, disappearing. One wonders at the long-term further in Zhou Tieha i' s presentation of three
which appeared to recast some of the concerns but Yiwu daily exports 1,000 containers to the cultural effect of living in a country dominated historic French desserts, completely invented
of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. shopping malls of the West. by white collar services. After all, the artist and by the artist but prese nte d wit h a con vincing
China is, after all, living through an analogous The Real Thing develops this engage ment the industrial worker have certain aflin ities faux history. It is a bizarre exercise in culin ary
industrial revolution that might yet throw up an with the stresses of moderni ty rather differ- and a surprising number of post-war British scholarship that might seem like the last kind of
Oriental John Ruskin or William Morris. The ently, by taking us into factories, into depleted fine artists had working-class parents who art to come out of China.
first exhibits to greet the eye were retrospective industrial and rural landscapes and into homes made "things" , albeit in factories not in studios. But the finest piece in The Real Thing, by
- eight wooden models of historic Chinese pavil- to explore the hopes and dreams of individuals The Real Thing suggests that in China the large its youngest artist, addresses more serio us
ions and temples constructed in the 1950s and caug ht up in China' s extraordinary economic pool of industrial workers informs the cu lture concerns. Cao Fei' s haunting video, "Whose
60s and on loan from the architectural studio at expansion. Wang Gongxin' s video "Our Sky Is of Chinese art, as well as making it possible to Utopia?", rel1ects on the politic s of work. It is
Tongji University. A catalogue essay by one of Falling" shows a peaceful, warmly lit room realize the production of ambitious installation not obviously critical of the Chinese industrial-
the Biennale's curators, Zhang Qing, explained with a father and son reading. But their book s art quickly and relatively cheaply. ization, though it is melanch oly to see factory
that the craftsman who made these beauti ful are suddenly swept up into the air and, as the The resonances of this can be unexpected. employees' living quarters, where grimy pieces
objects, Xu Hesheng, came in for lierce criti- rest of the small family gathers in alarm, the For instance , Ai Wei Wei make s play with an of cardbo ard serve as mattresses. The film is
cism during the Cultur al Revolution. Why, he ceiling starts crumbling and floating down until iconic project that was never built - Vladimir j ust as much about Western compli city with
was asked, did he not use nails to construct his linally they are left unsheltered in an empty Tatlin ' s utopian, revolut ionary Monum ent to China, as a stream of businesses move their

TLS JUNE I 20 0 7 - 18-


ARTS

man ufacturin g to the Far East, att rac ted by low tions, A pa ir of wo me n emp loyee s, one in a tutu this is a facto ry full of tee nagers. It sounds ers", which ca ptures the activ ities of tee nagers
wage s. "W hose Uto pia?" is set in the Osram and wea ring white feat hery wings , dance by the roma ntic, but it is in fac t a disturbing film tha t who dress as anime charac ters, playin g out fan-
ligh ting facto ry , once located in Hamm ersm ith conveyor belt and in the ware ho use while an tell s us about facto ries eve ryw he re, their mono - tasy ga mes in the futuristic pastoral -urban land -
and now, predicta bly eno ugh, in the Pearl River olde r Tai Ch i enthusia st shadow- boxe s his way ton y and their heartlessn ess. sca pes of Gu angzhon , one of southern Ch ina' s
Delta. It is orga nize d theatricall y into three acts, down the aisles of workers . A boy dreamil y The Real Thing, howe ver, largely turn s aw ay fas test-growi ng cities. Whi ch brin gs us back to
the first showi ng all the processes invo lved in plays his electric guitar while the relentl ess from the fantastica l quali ty that pervades so this probl em of an intrin sic Chinese sens ibility
mak ing a whole range of ligh tbulb s and fluor es- production goes on around him . Th ere is an mu ch cu rrent Ch inese art. Last year, at the and our hunger for it. The Real Thing is a high -
ce nt tubes. Mu ch of the wor k is automated, but ex traordi nary soundtrack that mixes music and Vict ori a and Albert Mu seum , Between Past and minded show, determ ined to stee r clear of com-
there is a surprising amount of hand work invol v- the repe tit ive beat of automated produ ction. In Future: New pho tography and video from merciall y led art that makes a po int of signal-
ing delicate manoeu vres with ligh ting fila- the fina l section, Ca o Fei trains her cam era on China app eared to foll ow quit e different, unfa - ling its Chinese identity. Bu t the excitement of
ment s. Th ere is also a great dea l of chec king, indi viduals who gaze back stea dily from the ir mili ar aest het ic rules, informed as mu ch as any- the work in Between Past and Future sugges ts
a lso don e by hand. Th e workforce are very vario us workstations. More boy guitar players thing by ancie nt scroll pa inting and Buddhist that Li verpool' s cura tors may ha ve go ne a little
young and very di sciplined. T he second part of line up, thei r arm s ro und eac h other, and a voice philosophy. Th e wo rk was co lour ful, subver- too far in their avoidance of the exotic and the
the fil m interroga tes their drea ms and aspira- sings some fragm ented lines, reminding us that sive and camp . It includ ed Cao Fei' s "COS Play- un famili ar.

--------------------------~,--------------------------

n 1966 , A lighiero Boetti stre tched a piece ca mpaig n of concealm ent and decept ion : to

I of ar my surplus fabric over ca nvas, and


made it a work of art. The material he used
was a vers ion of "te lo mimetico" , the wor ld 's
On the dazzle razzle spend their war test ing out ideas on pa inted
models of fac tory buildings, floating little battle-
ships in test tank s to peer at the effect throu gh
first printe d ca moullage fabric, crea ted for the CLARE GRI F FITHS geomet rie s in red , yellow and forest gree n perisc opes , or dreamin g up inge nious design s
Italian military in 1929 and intend ed ori gin all y concea l the co nto urs of the wea pons, while to foo l aerial photo graph ers, tra nsfor ming roof-
for tent s rather than uni form s - and ce rtainly CA M OU F LAGE the ir tone s could scarce ly be mor e conspic uous . tops into pictur es of far m yards and makin g
not for han ging on the wa ll. Twe nty yea rs on Imperial War Mu seum , until November 18 Th is ca rniva lesque app roa ch to militar y con- cooling towe rs vanis h into imaginary land -
fro m Boett i's contri buti on toward s ensuring cea lment was a respon se to the threat of aerial sca pes. Som e of the se bold ex periments are
that ca mou flage should sta nd ou t rather than Tim N ew ark surveillance and pho tograph y: in black and recorded in wate rcolours by Co lin Mo ss, while
blend in, Andy W arhol rei nven ted the colour CA M OU F LAGE white, it was shape s, not co lours, which needed lo vely ske tches by Hugh Cas son sugges t way s
sche mes of the Un ited Stat es' s "Woodland t92pp. Thames and Hudson. 24.95. to be hidd en. Visitor s to the ex hibitio n ca n see to conce al aircraft hangars and gaso me ters.
Disrupti ve" design in a series of silk-sc ree n 978 05 005 13477 the harlequin print s with which the Germans Mu ch of the focu s was still on hid ing military
print s. It was then a surprisi ng ly short step to decked the ir Fir st World W ar plan es, and equipment and potent ial bomb ing targets. As
outl andli sh suits by Steph en Sprou se and lurid mult icoloured chev rons designed by Percyval late as 1944, ca moullage un iform itself was still
pink patte rns on Philip Treacy co urt shoes. In Tudor-Hart. The mo st eye-catching ex hibits are so unu su al that US troops weari ng disrupt ive
2000, eve n the usual muddy ton es of the battl e- the row s of toy-sized boats on which the Royal pattern fell under " friendly fire" , victims of an
fie ld palett e co uld be glamorized in a frot hy Navy te sted ou t maritime ca moullage sche mes : ass umptio n that only the SS dressed in such a
camo uflage ballgo wn by Jean Paul Gaul tier. the wonder ful "dazz le" design s dreamed up by fas hion. Yet, in other way s, camo uflage had
The term applied to the most readily recogni z- Norman Wilkinson . Wilkinson arg ued that become the business of all soldiers. Eve n the
able form of ca moullage is "DPM", or "disrup- since it is imposs ible to hide something as lar ge Home Gu ard in Bri tain had lectures fro m the
tive pattern material " . The design has becom e as a ship, the best tha t one can do is distort its Surrea list art ist Rol and Penr ose on how to use
disruptive in ways un ima gined by those who outline until it is difficult to te ll in whic h dir ec- concea ling crea m and nets. De corating your
de veloped it: turned aga inst wa r itse lf du rin g tion the vesse l is coming or going . So , for the clothin g with appropria te bits of foliage was a
vetera ns' protests abou t the Ame rica n presen ce re st of the wa r, and for as long afte rwa rds as it beginnin g but not the end of the sto ry: film s,
in Vietnam , interven ing in stree t fash ion and took peopl e to ge t round to rep ainting the ships ' pos ters and cartoons instr ucted sold iers on how
haute couture, recolou red , relocated, rea pprop ri- hull s in their norm al sombre co ats, dock s to wa lk throu gh the land scape in incon spicuou s
ate d . This is where the Impe rial War Mu seum ' s becam e riots of pattern and colour: a gif t to an ways, concea ling "s hine , sha pe and shadow " .
new ex hibition Camo uflage ends, in a no isy art ist like Ed ward Wad sworth , alr ead y predi s- As Newark notes in his attrac tive ly illus-
ju xtap osition betwe en the pattern s of modern posed to break ima ges into energe tic frag ments, trated survey of the subject, arti stic amateuri sm
battledress and the ext raordinary proliferation who dep icted the sights in a series of w oodc uts was repl aced by a more professional, scie ntific
of ca mouflage on the streets and catwalks. in which one ca n barely te ll whe re the shi ps approac h in the Cold W ar and afte r, the current
Vari ations on DPM now decor ate eve ryt hing begin and whe re they end . Wh en the Che lsea cha lle nges being to out wit technologies which
from ruc ksac ks to pop stars, ye t the pattern was Art s Club relaun ched its socia l ca lendar after a de tect heat and mass. So did the imagina ti ve
unfamil iar to most people at the time of the wa rtime hiatus, it co mmiss ioned W ilkin son to experim en ts of the two wor ld wars ac tually
Second Worl d Wa r. apply his dazzle designs to its ball at the wor k? Ca mou llage see ms to have been at least
W ith an accompa nyi ng book by T im Albert Ha ll, where the the me exte nded not as impo rtant as a charm or reass urance as it was
Newark, Camouflage tells a story about the onl y to the de corat ion s, but to part i-col our ed as a genu ine for m of pro tec tion. But its disrup -
visua l aspects of warfa re in the twentieth ce n- cos tumes, described as "human ca moullage" . tive patterning and cha racteris tic co lour palettes
tury, und er the mes of concealm ent , distortion, The Sketc h repo rted the eve nt under the head - have becom e the recogni zabl e face of ar mies
decept ion and ad vert isement. The impact of line: "On the Dazzle Razz le". across the world . An asse mbly of cost umes and
new way s of see ing from the air and in pho to- A ce rtain playful creativity run s throu gh the text iles stretching do wn a wa ll of the ga llery
grap hy spurred efforts to hide or disgu ise histor y of camo uflage . The Imp erial War offers a wa lk thro ugh an evo lution of design ,
wea ponry, personn el and place, drawing on Mu seum ' s German trench tree once allowe d a beginnin g with DIY ou tfits fro m the Grea t W ar,
ideas about ho w we judge distanc e and shape, soldier to obse rve the enemy's trench es, con - splattere d wit h paint by soldiers them sel ves.
and on the strateg ies employe d in natu re to co n- First World War sniper's camouflage robe cea led in a stee l core within the corrugated Later printed fabric s re veal an unner vin gly dec-
fuse the eye . Military scouts and snipers, often metal of prete nd bark . Intric ately pa inted orative side to the business of wa r, the varia nts
with hunt ing back gro und s, had long taken the o f co ncea lme nt in the animal kingd om actually so ldiers ' heads by the sculptor He nri Boucha rd know n by alarm ingl y cute nam es: the Austral -
initiative to improvise out fits whic h mimi cked worked, establishing the principl es for mod ern are witness to attempts to dra w out snipe rs, pop - ian " bunny ear" , the Waffen SS ' s "pea patte rn" ,
the appea rance of their surroundings, at a time ca moullage based , not ju st on appro priate col- ping up above the trenches, and eve n app earin g the "chocolate-chip" deser t desig n worn by the
whe n other so ldie rs' uniforms were shockingly our and texture, but also on artis tic tric ke ry to to puff on a Woodbine by means of some c un- America ns during the first Gulf War.
co nspicuous. The original camo ufle urs were "disru pt" an image . nin g pipew ork behind the sce nes. The see ming Bes ide the sobe ring spec tacle of a prese nt-
French artis ts durin g the First World War who The ex trao rdi nary thing about earl y camou- absurdity of man y milit ar y deco ys reac hed new day mat ernity versi on of the regul ar US uni-
adop ted the cha me leon as the bad ge of their lla ge is ho w visua lly striking it was : bright he ight s in the Second World Wa r, with inflata- form, there is also an exa mp le of the most
pro fess ion. But the work of natura lists, notabl y co lou rs, bold designs, not at all "natural" . In ble tank s, and mats laid ou t in the North African rece nt Amer ican update on disru pti ve pattern
Ed ward Poult on and Abbott Thayer in the late Colin Gill' s painting " Heavy Artillery" (1919), de sert to give a co nvinci ng impress ion of army ca moullage, made up of pixilla ted shape s like
ninete enth and ea rly twen tieth ce nturies , and it is the soldiers who fade into the back ground, vehicles parked along the roads . The British the screen of an ea rly co mputer game . Th e new
the zoo logis t Hugh Cott, chi ef instructor at a in khaki battledress and jaundi ced skin tones. forces recrui ted the pro fession al magician fabric is appar entl y designed to blend equally
Britis h ca moullage school in Egy pt during the The obje cts bein g camouflaged here we re the Jasper Maskelyne as a ca moullage officer. we ll into woo dland, desert , or urb an environ-
Second World W ar, inje cted a more inte llec tual large guns that sta nd out of the pictur e as Artists, archite cts, set bu ilders and gra phic ments - which should give Presiden t Bu sh and
engage ment with the question of how methods abstrac t block s of fairground co lours : Vorti c ist de signers were dr afted in to con tribute to the his successors plenty of scope.

- 19 - TLS J UNE I 2 0 07
A RTS

e/leas et Meli sande, sometimes called a tiens dans la bouche". He kneeled at what in the

P co nnois seur's piece, has in this country


been often, promi nently, and very vari-
ous ly performe d. Nearly sixty years ago, as
Well run dry old days was the prompt box, singing out with-
out a glance at her. The barley-sugar columns
of Covent Garden' s proscenium arch, lit,
coda to a heavily Wagnerian 1948- 9 season - A NOR EW PORT ER in very beautiful settings.) Third: the grand became a prominent element of the scenes
two Rings, three Meistersinger s, four Tristan s - international performances, cast with the names when singers came out in front of them, one on
Cove nt Garden invited the Opera-Cornique to C la u de O eb u s s y that sell records, unrelated to a resident com- each side , to turn intimate co nversations into a
bring three performances of its new Pelleas to pany. Covent Garden' s 1993 production was Wimbl edon to-and-fro. Lighting directions are
London. Roger Desormiere conduc ted; and P ELL E A S ET M ELI S A N D E one such. It had already appeared at La Scala spelled out in the text and the music of every
there was contro versia l new decor by Valentine Royal Opera Hou se seven years before, and five years later in scene. How much can we ever hope to see and
Hugo. (It was soon discarded by the Opera- Vienna. It wasn 't bad. Frederica von Stade, understand? Philippe Berth om es lighting plot
Comique in favour of a reconstruction of the Franco is Le Roux and Abbado, constants ignored the subtleties.
origin al 1902 scenery .) In 1951 there was an through the progress of the production, were Musically, it was not a bad Pelleas . The
importa nt BBC performance at Maida Vale, very good. But a big-house star show is not the singers were decent. Angelika Kirchschlager, a
conducte d by D.-E. Inghelbrecht - a friend of opera that Debussy composed. mezzo Melisande and a delicate, intelligent art-
Debussy, and the author of the trenchant study Covent Garden' s newest Pelleas is another ist, was more than that: true and pure, and often
"Comment on ne doit pas interp reter Pelleas", big-house show, and one of the quirkiest. The moving. Catherine Wyn-Rogers, a versed, long-
Glyndebourne presented an enchanted Pelleas Festspielhaus at Salzburg is very wide. At admired Genevieve , was fine. But neither
in 1962, replaced it fourteen years later, and Covent Garden the opera was played on a bare, Simon Keenlyside, the Pelleas, nor Gerald
again in 1999. There have been three produc- black-curtained stage thrown open from side to Finley, the Golaud, quite lived up to their early
tions by the Roya l Opera : in 1964 (conducted side. Emmanuel Cloluss "settings" for the fi rst promise. Both of them, amid much sensitive
by Pierre Boulez, and often revive d); in 1993 three acts (first of the two parts into which the singing, tended to big-hou se shout and force at
(cond ucted by Claudio Abbado , and never opera was divided) were towering dark boxes times. The Arkel, Robert Lloyd, now listed as
revived) ; and now a new, less than satisfacto ry trundled on by stage hands; their fronts then a Covent Garden "senior artist" (he made his
presentation which had its first showing at the opened as triptyc hs to revea l varied co ntents. debut in 1969, and sang his first Covent Garden
Salzburg Easter Festival last year. Meanwhile Act Four was played before a series of red drop- Arkel thirty years ago), was steady. And Simon
both the Welsh Nationa l Opera (conducted by curtains set at reced ing depth . Raoul Fernandez Rattle ' s conducting was fine: less hectic, more
Boulez, directed by Peter Stein) and Opera had dressed Melisande in a sleeve less scarlet Debussyan, than when he conducted Peter Sell-
North (conducted by Paul Danie l, directed by shift, and everyone else, including Ge nev ieve ars's trendy production of Pelleas in Amster-
Richard Jones) have mounted striking perform- and Yniold, was dressed in a pantaloon white dam fourteen years ago. He held to the score.
ances. The English Nationa l Opera invited clown costu me bedecked with spangles. They He didn't introduce musical changes to tickle a
Harry Kupfer to stage Pelleas in 1981, and in looked ridic ulous. Stan islas Nordey, directing, modern audience. The Covent Garden Orches-
2000 it offere d a rethought presentation of the had scrapped Debussys libretto for one of his tra played and his singers sang what Debussy
Opera North version. Angel ika Kirchsc hlager as Melisa nde own. Genevieve did not read Golaud' s letter to wrote . By the rest of the team what Debussy
In rough characterizati on, these manifesta- Arkel: centre-stage at the footlights, she wrote - exact moments of curtain-rise and
tions of the masterpiece have been of three brought to Edinburgh in 1985.) Second, there declaimed it to the audience. In the first scene curtain-fall, tied to the music; scenic moves
kinds. Desormiere' s was (and on record are the performances achieved by an ensemble of Act Two there was no well: Melisande tossed mirrored in the music; lighting unobtrusive ly
remains) the model of a French-timbred, linely company not necessarily French but alert to the her ring down to the orchestral players. In the responsive to the musical contours of what is
focused, verbally acute performance, conceived drama and its marvels: such perfor mances have tower scene, a tall triptych opened to reveal her being said and sounded - was treated with con-
and execute d by performers striving to realize, stirred me at the New York City Opera , at pinned aloft, motionless, wearing her red dress tempt. Rattle and his distinguished cast had
and still close to, the opera that Debussy com- Opera North and the ENO. (As a subsection, as centrepiece of a huge shop-window display acquiesce d in a travesty traversal of the great
posed . (The singers needn' t necessarily be there have been sensitive ly directed student per- of thirty-nine identica l dresses. When her opera. Pelleas was not written for a big house.
French-born: Debussys own Melisandes, Mary formances : at Morley College in 1967; at the tresses are directed to cascade on Pelleas and Paris regretted its transfer, in 1977, from the
Garden and Maggie Tey te, were British, and so University of Toronto in 1968, where Peter elicit his ecstatic response, all that happened Op cra-Com ique to the Opera. But there are
was Diana Montague, Melisande of the fine- Ebert, inspired by his father's Glyndebourne was a projec ted ripple on the proscenium pillars ways of preservi ng its merits without recourse
grained Lyons Pellea s that John Eliot Gardiner production, drew eloquence from a young cast while he sang "Je les tiens dans les mains, je les to cheap modish spectacle.

--------------------------~--------------------------

BC Pierre' s picaresque novel Verno n lian repair man turned reporter who sees Ver-

D God Littl e won the Booker Prize in


2003, but not the hearts and minds of
either critics or a mass readership, made up, as
American mockery non' s destruction as his chance to make a for-
tune, and proceeds to orchestrate the thin case
against him into a nightmare edilice of lies, mis-
it is, of elements that are individually derivative RO Z KAV E N EY drugs as well as some porn-peddl ing - are representation and half-baked psychological pro-
and sit uneasily together. The innocent narrator- eas ily distorted into evidence of complicity by a Iiling - his eventual over-reach ing and destruc-
protagonist, a damaged adolescent whose voice OB C Pi e r r e police culture exe mplilied by a deputy' s remark tion is the play' s cartoonish style at its best.
has far too much in common with J. D. Salin- that "there are two kinds of people - citizens If this play has a weakness, it is that it pushes
ger' s Holden Caullie ld, finds himself caught up VE RNON GO D LI T TL E and liars". Everyone betrays Vernon, from his events so far into the surreal that it serves as a
in a satirical nightmare world that derives Adapted by Tanya Ronder mother - who is keener to wait for delivery of a crowd-pleasing festival of anti-American pre-
Yo ung V ie new refrigerator than to attend his trial - to j udices - the press night audience, it has to be
equally from the outrageousness of Nathanael
West' s A Cool M illion and the emetic fictions Tay lor - an ex-g irlfriend who develops their said, loved this even at its rawest. V ernon ' s
of Chuck Palahniuk. Criticism of America's has little to do with the real world. The trim- rel ationship into a med ia career. Yemon sur- brief escape to a sentimentalized Mexico is a
constant appetite for new celebrities , even ming down of Pierre' s endlessly over-inventive vives, but only through a piece of legal chica n- cheap use of the Other as utopia, however
figures of demonized infamy, blends uneasily prose and frequently misfiring jo kes to manage- ery as implausible as the case against him. prettily the idyll is established with a few guitar
with material about the psychic damage able proportions is an inevitable and welcome At the Young Vie, this becomes a fast- chords, sunset lighting and a hammo ck slung
inflicted by pederastic rape and the rather co nsequence of abridge me nt; caricatured moving farrago punctuated by co untry and we st- across the stage. The portrayal of capital punish-
woozy mysticism that helps young Vernon, authority figures are far less irritating when the ern songs raucously performed and galumphin- ment as a surreal joke - to democrati ze the
with unjust executio n imminent, achieve the same actor is playing other characters with the gly danced to. Car seats become sofas; door- process, the public get to vote on which con-
religious insight that gives the book its title. same lunatic panache. ways move on wheels around the stage; charac- demned man dies next - blunts any satirical or
(The boy' s middle name is one of a number of Vernon is the only survivor of his class at the ters go off and return in a different hat and a radi- polem ical point that might be intended against
things in the book that goes through constant high school of a small Texas town when his cally different accent and personality. The only the overu se of the death penalty in the Amer-
arbitrary metamorphoses.) best friend kills everyone including himself. moments of stillness tend to be those in which ican President' s home state. The writer and
Tanya Ronder' s adaptatio n, on the other Vernon was delayed by a weak sphincter; his the hero - plangently portrayed by young Colin director of Vernon God Lit tle , which is almost
hand, as directed by Rufus Norris, is quite teacher also survives, but goes mad. In the Morgan - feels sorry for himself, but these sanctimonious in its rebukes to prejud ice
another thing. A repellent level of flash and absence through deat h of the actual murderer, never go on too long, because the hyperactive agai nst gay Mexican s, were perhaps not best
razzmatazz in the novel becomes an acceptable both the authorities and the media - in the shape dramatic pulse of the play cannot be broken for advise d to derive so many of its jokes from cari-
fast-moving theatricality - theatre finds it poss- of a local television repair man who appoints more than moments at a time. Particular praise catures of women as obese, venal, sexually vora-
ible to create secondary worlds that we can himself as Vernon ' s nemesis - need a scape- needs to be given to the gleeful malice of Mark ciou s and constantly devouring j unk food. Th is
accept as having their own nature, a nature that goat. Ve rnon' s minor peccadilloes - the usual Lockyer as Eulalio Ledesma, the Mephistophe- is a play limited by its addiction to mockery.

TLS JUNE I 20 07 - 2 0-
FICTION

The new Earnestness


Young American writers take things seriously
He stares at me with such intensity that I have BHARAT TA NDO N sensitive ear for the worn, established melodies class, economic mobility and tourist kitsch
to look away: a biological reaction, probably, of reproach, as when a father thinks he can around the rivalry between two restaurants in
going back to our days in the trees. All animals
ran J ack , e d i t o r hear his wife in their daughter' s voice: "The Thailand. He articulates his concerns through
know that eye contact is hostile, that meetin g warning tone in her voice came straight from his grotesque comedy, rather than in spite of it,
an ang ry gaze is open warfa re. I have to force GR A NT A 97 : BE ST O F Y OUN G Pam. It was identical in some technical, musical as the staff of the failing restaurant are forced to
myself to look up agai n, to see him. AMER ICAN N OVE LIS TS , 2 way to Pam' s We're goi ng to be late and her attack their enemies' corporate mascot ("So I
n this instance, the narrator of Jess Row 's 352pp. Granta. Paperback, 12.99(US $14.95). I' m no t going to tell yo u aga in". lift up my club and give that dragon everything

I story "The Answer" is recalling his


college years, and being faced down by a
disaffected contemporary who went on to
978 0903 141925

thought that someone he can barely recall


Many of the other stories , however, come
across as "acc omplished" in a less encouraging
sense, in that they do their thing without
I' ve got"). Karen Russell also pulls off the rare
feat of making what might otherwise have been
no m ore than a riff into a rea lize d narr at ive , as
become a jihadi suicide bomber; but while the cheris hed the memory of her "first time" so behaving badly or inventively enough to be various dead US presidents find them selves
up-front contemporary "relevance" of the situa- much longer. By the end of the story, however, truly striking - except, perhaps, in their unexpectedly reincarnated as horses on a ranch,
tion is unusual in this co llection, that intense the reader also discovers that what Vicky really her narrative, for the most part, keeping
stare, and its associa ted awkwardness, are much wants is to feed her own never-decl ared love for whimsy in check ("si ngle moment s: a warm
more common, and at times all too predictable. the dead woman by using Bob' s sexual palm on his nose, fresh hay, a tiny feast of gree n
Time and again in Gran ta 97, Granta's second me mories - unaware that the memories he thistle made nearly invisi ble by the sun").
cross-sec tion of young America ns' work, recou nts to her are in fact of his wife ("he told Elsewhere, it is as if any such levity would
characters and narrators face down the reader, Vicky about a beautiful girl naked beneath the invalidate the fiction' s sentiments, its emo-
as if challenging us to doubt them at our peril: blankets, laughing"). It is not the most tional authenticity.
look how intense and candid I am, they seem to orig inal scenario, but Coake invests it with an There is relatively little overt formal experi-
say, how finely wrought is my disaffection; imaginative integrity, and - not a quality mentali sm in evidence (a typically provocative
how cou ld you possibly doubt me? While this always in evidence in Granta 97 - a willingness and impressive Jonathan Safran Foer piece is
does result in some striking moments of to let his characte rs be impeachably and three- about as far as it goes), but one does not have to
narrative disquiet, reorie nting the reader' s dimensionally grubby in their motives. The be a B. S. Johnson or a Donald Barthelme to
perspective, it also demonstrates one of the stronger pieces on show here are often marked recognize that fiction that asks no questions
dangers attendant on earnest ness - that the by their ability to accommodate "uncertai nties, (however muted) about why it is as it is - or
difference between an honest gaze and a mysteries, doubts", to narrate the unravellin g of even about why it is at all - risks becomin g
doe-eyed simper can be a matter of only a habit, without losing their poise and shape. complacent; sincerity inoculates no one against
co uple of degrees. One wonders what it might imply about the that challenge. Many of the stories Jack chooses
In his informative introduction, Ian Jack, real or perceived limitations of the contem- are innocent of the shiny self-regard one associ-
who will this month relinquish the editorship porary short story that two of the liveliest, by ates with Hysterical Realism, but that does not
of Granta after twelve years, reflects on the ZZ Packer and Dara Horn, are in fact extracts make them innocent; in particular, there are
distances in both tone and subject matter from novels in progress rather than self- moments of uncanny likeness between them,
traversed since the first Best of Young contained pieces in their own right. related, appropriately, to the figure of likeness.
American Novelists, in 1996, which included Packer' s contribution, part of a historical Striking similes are all over the collection: a
work by Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides novel about the black regiments in the Civil house "caving in on itself like a ruined cake"
and Lorrie Moore. Jack' s central contention is War, is infuriatingly short, especia lly since it (Daniel Alarc6n); a twenty-year-old girl "wi th
that the old model of class-intlected Dirty not only confirms the prom ise of her earlier glitter on her eyelids and a name like a weather
Realism is less evident than before: "A cruder short stories, but displays more creative poise forecast" (Anthony Doerr). For the most part,
and un fairer way of p utting thi s" , he suggests, in its depictions of tlurry than many of the thes e liken esses neith er add layers o f connota-
"wo uld be to say that writers wrote about trailer compl ete pieces. tion to their surroundings, nor do they evolve
parks with little experience of living in them, Indians. Not the roadside stumps he'd seen into the long chains of surrealist discordia con
and that the influence of Raymond Carver and coming through San Antonio, drowsily biding cors which Richard Brautigan made famous.
're alism' lay heavy on creative writing their time with corn husks while their lethargic Instead, they work as unincorporated signifiers
schools". It is true that a particular, selective, children wove baskets, and putted their leather of "literariness", the kind of effects of which
even caricat ured versio n of the "Carveresque" balls about, but blurs of brown, a flash of some Samuel Johnson noted, in his Life of Cowley:
(laconic, simple past-te nse narration, domestic sort of anima l pelt covering their loin s, and One ofShawn Kuruneru 's ink-and- "their subtlety surprises ; but the reader com-
semi-eve nts) co uld at that time be invoked to streaming hair, straig ht as a horse ' s mane. ballpoint-pen drawings from the May issue monly thinks his improvement dearly bought".
justify some fiction of limited ambition and Within her ce ntral cha rac te r' s cons cio us ness, of The Believer (Volume 5, Number 4), which Ian Jack and his fellow editors (A. M.
non-deceptive simplicity. However, on the the sudden shift from the static "road side contains articles on W. G. Sebald, Borges, Holmes, Meghan O'Rourke, Sigrid Rausing,
evidence of this new anthology, it hardly looks stumps" to the unpred ictable " blurs" registers science fiction and the graphic novel. Edmund White and Paul Yamazak i) deserve
as though contemporary America n writing has convincingly the confounding of expectations credit for a selection which reflects a less
since lost itself in rarefied metafiction instead. as the reality of warfare rushes at him. pronounced lack of comedy. In retrospec t, it is culturally and aesthetically insular America
If anything, the stories in this volume feel much "Passover in New Orleans" by Horn also not only telling but alarming that Jack' s intro- than that of eleven years ago, and for their
more firmly rooted in identifi able traditions of takes place durin g the Civil War, although its duction should regret, almost as an after- willingness to take seriously writers who are
representational realism than, for example, narrative of Jewish counter-espionage and thought, the non-inclusion of Joshua Ferris, serious about their work. As the short fiction of
man y of the co ntri butio ns to the com pa ra ble fam ilia l betrayal op erates in a mo re com icall y whose firs t novel, Then We Came to the E nd, authors suc h as Dave Eggers and David Mean s
anthology of new-school writing, Zadie Sm ith' s picaresque mode. Some of its phrases bear an "had the singular distinction among all these shows, seriousness is not incompatible with
The Burn ed Child ren of Am erica (2003) . odd resemblance to the Philip Roth of The writers of making me laugh aloud quite often". formal play, and may at times positively requ ire
Take, for example, Christo pher Coake' s Hum an Stai n, let loose in a nineteenth-century These writers are not, in James Wood' s happy it, in order to sideste p the confinements of
story "That First Time" ; Bob, the protagon ist, spy story (" It was American genius, plain and coinage, "Hysterical Realists" ; if anything, on receive d wisdom. In too many of these new
is first seen at his computer, "reading and then simple. His entire life was an elaborate refusal this evide nce, we may be witnessing the rise of pieces, seriousness defeats itself becau se it
deleting a number of old letters from his soon- to be the person he had been born to be"); yet the Deadly Earnests. Zadie Smith may have naturally assumes that this is the only possible
to-be ex-wife Yvonne" , but much of the sub- Horn also stages enough alternations of batho s ident ified "sadness" as the defining trait linking attitude a "serious" person could take. James
sequent action has affinities with older tales of and shock to suggest that the novel itself may the contributors in The Burn ed Children of Wood has lamented the fact that, in the critica l
emotional sadism and self-dece ption. Con- be worth the wait. Am erica, yet that collection feels like a barrel rece ption of Hysterical Realism, "bright lights
tacted out of the blue by Vicky, the best friend The antholo gy' s felicities are not confined of knowing laughs next to some of the are taken as evidence of habitation" ; by the
of a girl who lost her virginity to him when they to distant history. The agreeably open-ended Emo-fiction on offer here. There are exce ptions: same token, we need to be sure that we do
were teenagers (and who has since painfully " 0 Tannenbaum" by Maile Meloy unleashes a Rattawut Lapcharoensap ' s engrossi ng "Valets" not always so easily take the Earnest for the
lost her life to cancer), Bob has to face up to the number of repressed marital anxieties, with a musters a range of understated frictions about Honest.

- 2 1- TLS J UNE I 2007


FICTION

the life cycle : Milly' s moth er keeps having

Hampstead easy lapses; Jack ' s mother has had a life-th reatenin g
fall. It is not a grea t time for Kaj a to turn up,
thou gh Jack seems to think he can lind a way to
In flight
dam Thorpe 's latest novel is an old- TOBY LI CHTI G
keep eve ryo ne happy.
Between Eac h Breath is eve nly paced and from Dad
A fashioned drama of adultery and its co n-
sequences. Jack Middleton, a success-
ful co mpo ser fretf ully mired in mid-life co mp la-
Adam Th orp e
carefully wro ught. Its medit ation s on music are
thou ght fully incorpo rated. Despite its lack of
surprises, it has a satisfy ing degree of tension.
C A R O LI NE MCGIN N

cency, gets chatti ng to a pretty waitress while on BET WEEN EAC H B R E AT H There are minor irritations: a few redundant sex
4 19pp. Cape. 12.99.
Matth e w Kn eal e
a creative sojourn in Estonia. Having mis- scenes , and some forced detail s. Thorpe' s deci-
learned the native word for "lighter", he offe rs 978 0224074988 sion to have Jack eat wine gums while com pos- W HE N WE W ER E RO M A N S
to spark her cigarette: "Hoo r?", Kaja gets the ing somehow read s like an artificia l atte mpt to 208pp. Picador. 16.99.
wrong idea and whacks him in the face ; a brief may here lose a little of our sympathy); nor has give him more personality, as does giving him 97803304357 1 0
affai r springs out of the melee. Six years later, he prod uced anything "de vastatingly good" for the irritating hab it of spea king coll oq uially with
Jack is asked to cove r as a tutor for a musician a very long time. Eston ia was a mom ent of wil- Kaja (" Blighty" ; "pie in the sky" ) and then awrence is nine. He lives with his
friend. The little charge , a "prodigy", as Jack
was, is only live years old. He is also Eston ian,
his (single) mo ther having rece ntly arrive d in
ful weak ness . Jack is not prone to inli de lity, but
inspiration see med to requ ire a severance from
life in London. (The piece, like most of Jack ' s
having to rephrase : an affectation that seems
more Thorpe' s than his protagon ist' s. L
mother, his little sister Jem ima, and
his pet ham ster Herrna nn. Unlike
Christoph er (the hero of Mark Haddons The
Th is und erscores a deep er problem . Though
London . Readers will quickly guess what compo sitions, was critica lly accla imed and has Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time ,
amiable on the surface, Jack is deepl y selfish
happens next; Thorpe prefers to take his time. since sunk without trace.) The year was 199 9 , which this novel rese mbles) Lawrence is far
and blokeishl y detached. It is one thing for him
The flesh on these bare bones of plot is an and Tall inn was on the threshold of somet hing: to be estranged from his motives; but Thorpe from autistic. Indeed his recurring reso lve to
exp lorati on of cl ass, art, agei ng and the male flanked on one side by Soviet vestiges - "all the ne ver really gets under his skin either. As "help Mum" has give n him comp assionate
psyche. Jack is happil y married to Milly (nee du buildings seemed to be huge and weari ng instincts beyond his yea rs. Stories and space
Jack ' s marriage falls apart, we app roac h ana-
Crane) , a forme r Roedean girl whose ances tors shabby grey overcoats wit h padded shou lde rs" (not prime numbers and facts) are his specia l
lysis: "He was not in despair . ... He was ju st ..
stretc h back to William the Conqueror. The - and on the other by bars and new de velop- . dispassionate" ; but Th orpe has more sympathy
subje cts. However, eve n recit ing everything he
family mon ey is still intact and free ly avai lable. men ts indicative of a prosperou s fresh century. for his feckless co mposer than he seems to knows about little galaxies in the pull of the
They live wea lthily (but not pro fliga tely) in Jack ' s protr acted midlife crisis has since "G reat Attrac tor" cannot reorient his world
deserve. Somewhat exaspera tingly (thou gh not
Ham pstead, by a Hea th that , to Jack , "seemed been stoked by dom estic tragedy. M illy cannot unpred ictabl y), Jack' s increasi ngly ego tistic
when it is throw n abruptly out of its orbit.
bored with itse lf". Eve n the ethical boxes are co nceive, the result of a minor car accident behaviour is rewa rded with that most prized of When We Were Romans begins as a roadtrip,
ticked : M illy is a co nsultant on environmenta l while pregnant, resulting in a miscarriage. goa ls - good art (in this case , a substitute for
described by Lawren ce but dri ven by his
issues; they do not own a 4X4. Little wonder Jack ' s attempts to soothe his wife in the after- Mum ' s consuming fear of her ex- husband,
engage men t with the self): "Jack knew, with a
Jack can still co ncede, " life could quite often be math underl ine their di ffering reactions. which makes her cram children , hamster and all
thr ill in his bones like something stirring in the
fairly goo d". " People are actually killed", he reminds her. black sediment, that it was very go od". Goodinto the car and head for Rome "jus t till we are
Th is, it seems , is the probl em . There is con- "My God, someo ne was killed", she co unters. It for Jack, perh aps; but this seems as cosy ansure Dads gone away". Th e possibilit y that
tentm ent but no passion - less in the marriage is too late for adopti on and MilIy wo n' t hear outco me as that offered by the lazy Sund aysLawrenc e' s father may really be stalking his
(he loves M illy "to bits" ) than in Jack ' s artistic of IVF. T he solitude of their chi ldlessness is and electric bread-makers back at hom e in family is briefly sustained. But from the begin-
life. Money has ro bbed him of challenges (we throw n into relief by decay at the other end of Hampstead. ning, psychol ogical alarm bells ring loud and
clear thro ugh Lawrence' s naively ungrammati-
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ , - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -ca - l schoolbook-style narrat ive: "M um is really
crea m. On a trip to Florence, Lara and her father clever, she ca n always help me with my hom e

The dance of youth cross and rec ross a river, "meandering along work, she makes funny jokes, she kno ws j ust
each bank". Whether or not this is free indirect what every bodies thinking eve n strangers shes
style is somew hat beside the point. If Fre ud's never met befor e, but somet imes its like she ju st
ara Riley is seve ntee n, a "grown-up ST EPHANI E CROSS writing (as oppose d to her plotting) can ofte n gets stuck and doesn' t know what to do next so

L child". She has spent much of her life


with her flighty New Age moth er, pay-
ing only occasional visits to her father, an
E s t he r F re u d
fee l flat, eve n flat-footed, it is entirely at ease I have to help her and give her a little push".
with itself, and therein lies much of its appea l. Whether these little pushes will take his moth er
Her artistry is of the subterranean kind, allow- towards a new life (as Lawrence hopes), or fur-
"age less" histori an who has an "O ld-World L OV E FALL S ing the reader to intuit the existe nce and exte nt ther ove r the edge, is the question that keeps the
acce nt". She has been to India and journeyed 279 pp. Bloom sbury. 12.99 . of intrig ues hidd en from L aras view. Lo ve reade r on tenterhook s. Matthew Kneale is an
throu gh Europ e, but she has never seen Italy. 978 0747586968
Falls is in fact full of subtle manoeu vrin g - acco mplished storyteller; he generates patho s
Then, in the summer of 1981 , with the royal physical and psyc hological - of negot iation s and tension out of Lawrence' s atte mpts to help
wedding imm inen t, she is invited by her father that this is Lara' s lirst taste of love, but she is inferred. In this charged dance Lara, like the his Mum ; his boyish fascination with secrets
Lambert Gold (formerly Wolfgang Gold stein) not a virg in, and besides, " Her whole life had " fairy-tale" princess, is not a partner but a and gruesome ancient Romans is neatly col-
to travel to Tuscany to visit an ailing friend. been lived ou t in degrees of ador ation. Wh at pawn, a fact of whic h she is only obliqu ely, laged with his mother' s delusions that his father
Read ers of Esther Freud ' s previo us novels else was there to do ?" . Th e beaut y of thi s lies interm ittentl y awa re. This is not to sugges t that is tellin g things " to the niegbours to turn them
will recognize many of Love Falls' s con stituen t not j ust in its ring of truthfulness, but in that Freud ' s story lacks brutal incide nt. From the aga inst us" and eve n " poissoning them" .
parts: the Germ an heritage; the hipp ie trail ; the linal shrug, at once lightl y mockin g and ear- first, the reader senses the danger present ed to Despite Kneale' s deft use of Lawrence' s
young narrator who registers but cannot inter- nest. It belongs, one feels, entirely to Lara - the Lara by And rew' s odi ous son-in-law, and those "Space Project" and his "Ca lamitous Cae sars"
pret ad ult affairs. Clo ser in tone to Freud's first irony is not au thoria l. Indeed the who le book ex pecta tions are fulfilled. But this even t, terri - to pro vide a metaphori cal refutat ion of the sur-
novel, Hideous Kinky (1992 ), than to her most radiates with the empat hy for which Fre ud is ble though it is, does not domin ate the no vel, a face story, the narra tive lacks density. Unlike
recent, the muted , layered The Sea House kno wn. In it, the slack, so ft poc kets of self-pity fac t that is to Freud ' s credit. Among other The Curio us Incident of the Dog in the N ight
(2003 ), it is full of sunstruck surfaces and and sentimentality, so much a part of teena ge things, she und erstand s that emphasis fall s dif- Time , where Chris topher' s ment al illness is
seems , superli cia lly, somew hat lackin g in life, are tenderl y exposed, and the bru isingly ferently, dependin g on whether one is viewi ng meshed with the detecti ve sto ry to power
nuance. But as a com ing -o f-age tale, Lo ve Fa lls porous bo undary between childhood and adult - life as an adult or ado lesce nt. The emphasis eve nts, Lawrence' s o bsessions are material to
is ex pertly realized. hood probed. here is on Lara' s own emotio nal grow th, her the psycholo gy but not the plot of his story. His
Caroline - Lamb ert' s glamoro us and waspish Lara cannot believe that the Prince of journey , throu gh suf fering, to enlightenme nt. un-nuanced moralit y and childish voca bulary
friend - is quick to introduce Lara to the Wales' s new bride has been selected by his "girl- Innocence may be lost, but insights are gained. co ntri bute convi ncing ly to his voice, but they
Will oughb ys, the spraw ling family who have friend" ; nor can she grasp immedi ately the sta- It is only at the end of the novel that she sees the interpo se anoth er stiff cardbo ard layer between
taken possession of a hamlet nearby. Andrew tus of Andrew ' s residen t mistress. Freud ' s who le picture - metaphorically, and in the case the reader and the grow n-ups who determine
Will oughb y - brilliantly sketched in his brittle, prose often partakes of a similar naivety. The of her father and his own frac tured family, liter- eve nts. His inabi lity to describ e his mother and
embitte red petul ance - used to kno w Lamb ert, words "j ust then" recur eve ry few pages, mildl y ally too. father in a way which gives the reader a sense
and is hostile to him for reasons that slowly disingenuo us, ca lling to mind a school composi- As a novel, Love Falls is immediat e, orga nic of what they are to them sel ves as well as to him
transpire. But Lara is more interested in Kip, tion. Referenc es to food are equally frequent - and kind . Few things are more awkwa rd and increasingly underm ines the central irony of the
Andrew Willou ghb y' s titled son. Catching his lig urative ly functional, but savoured lirst for irresolut e than a "g row n-up child ", but the narrative. Admirers of Kneale's Wh itbread-win-
eye , she feels as if " all the whee ls on a fruit thei r own sake. At various point s the words sense one is left with here is not of a phase ning Englis h Passengers (2000) may wish that
mach ine had co me to a sudden stop" . " froth" , " frothy" or "fro thing" are applied to finished or completed, but a mu sical phrase, he had used his amp le polyphonic gifts to intro-
Summ er-abro ad mytholo gy wo uld dictate grated cheese, racin g horses, water and ice carefully and thought fully resolved. duce other voices.

TLS JUNE I 2 0 07 - 22-


FICTION

haled Hosseini's first nove l, The sumed dead. In sympathy, Maria m and Rasheed

K Kite Runner (2003), was an effective


melodrama set in Afghanistan and
America. Amir and his father escape their coun-
Among the bulbuls take the orphan into their unhappy household
where Rasheed soon makes it clear he wants her
as his second wife. Mariam is furious, but Laila
try soon after the Russian invasion of 1979. agrees since she is pregnant by Ta riq. The rest
They settle in San Francisco where Amir SA MEE R R AHIM wives marry her off speedily to a widowe r of the book (about half its total length) is a
marries a fellow Afghani exile, but he is called Rasheed who lives in Kabul. He rapes series of rapes, beatings, attempted escapes
haunted by a dreadful memory : when he was Kh al ed H o s s eini and beats her, saying things like: "There 's one and further beatings. Rasheed welcomes the
a boy in Kabul, he saw his friend and servant thing I can' t stand . . . the sound of a woman cry- Taliban; he makes his wives wear burq as. The
Hassan being raped. When the adult Amir A TH OUSAND SP L ENDID SUNS ing. I'm sorry. I have no patience for it" . book ends with two acts of horrific violence
discovers that Hassan has been killed and his 384pp. Bloomsbury. 16.99. The second part of the novel is set in the which Hosseini present s as redempti ve.
son kidnapped by a Taliban leader (the same 978074758279 3 1980s and follows Laila, a young girl who lives The most interesting parts of both The Kite
rapist who attacke d the father), he sets out to in Kabul. Her parents oppose the Russian Runner and A Tho usand Splend id Suns are
rescue and adopt the child which, after some story focuses on two Afghani women, Mariam Occupation: her father was a university- those in which the characters live peacefu lly:
obstacle s, he does. That book was a bestseller. and Laila. The first part of the novel follows educated teacher before the Soviets made him Amir's sweet co urtship of his wife in the first
It caug ht the mood of its time by including Mariam, the haraam i (illegitimate) daughter of work in a bakery; and her mother proudl y sends novel; or in the second, the desc riptions of
acco unts of the public beatings and beheadings a rich landowner who lives with her mother near her two sons to fight for the rebels. They urge Mariam growi ng up among the bu lbul s.
rece ntly highlighted by the America n invasion Herat. Upset at being an outcast, she is com- Laila to study hard, telling her that "a society It doesn' t seem to occur to Khaled Hosseini that
of Afghanistan. Hosseini writes clearly and forted by kindly Mullah Faizullah, with whom has no chance of success if its women are un- the violence in his novel - which is clearly there
keeps his plot moving. The metaphor of kite fly- she eats pine nuts and sips green tea, and educate d". Her best friend is Tariq, a boy dis- for a seriou s purpose - might in fact thrill some
ing (a pastime banned by the Tali ban) is simple watches "the bulbul birds darting from tree to abled by a land mine who protects her from readers rather than appal them, or that it might
and striking. And the themes of childhood tree". (This is long before the Taliban arrive.) bullies with his prosthetic leg. be less effective for being so relentless. What
trauma and adult redemption resonate strongly. Things soon go wrong. One day, Mariam goes But the idyll cannot last. Laila' s brothers are would have been more interesting (and challen-
Hosseini' s new novel, A Thousand Splend id to her father 's house and insists that he take her killed in battle; then, while trying to escape ging) would be a sympathetic portraya l of a
Suns, tries to repeat that success by twisting and in; after she is sent back home, she finds her from Kabul, her parent s are killed in an explo- Talib, or at least one that offered some shades
amplifying the same themes. This time, the mother has hanged herself. Her father and his sion which she barely survives. Tariq is pre- of grey.

--------------------------~--------------------------

a respected academic. Reason, he believes, is brother Tomas falls ill, they all crowd into the
The gods of Cuba the key to humanity: it is what "makes us fail to
be innocent before God". Her radiant, vibrant
bathroom with him:
Chabella cradled his head and chanted prayers
Mami presents Maja with a more complex and wo ndered aloud, "Has so meo ne cursed the
H EATH ER THOMPSO N able use by singing jazz standards in smoky contradiction: while passionate abou t her love Lo ndon baby? So meone is sending him strong
London club s. She delights in having her hair of German, the "language of ideas", Chabella memo ries o f Cuban wea ther so that he ca nnot
H el en O y e y em i washed by her best friend, watching her mother subsists on her faith in the fiercely corp oreal bear it here". Papi said, "How is it that neither
eat and the way her boyfriend holds her in his religion of Cuban slaves. Santeria came into o f these children have inherited my excelle nt
T HE OPPO S IT E HO U S E arms. When she realizes she is pregnant, she being when Spanish conquistadors forced the nervou s sys te m".
262pp. Bloomsbury. 12.99. welcomes the conception without surprise: she newly arrive d Africa ns to convert to Roman Less successf ul is the heavily symbolic story
9780747588849 always knew she would give birth to a son. Catholicism. Many simply secretly overlaid intertwined with Maja' s, a mythical account of
But while Maj a herself reaches out with her their Yoruba gods, the Orishas, on to the lives Orishas captured in a mystical house between
aj a, the young Angle-Cuban narrator senses as if trying to hold on for dear life, she

M
of the saints, learnin g "to recognise their gods Lagos and London. And when Maja loses her
of The Opp osite House, finds litera- surrounds herself with people who thrive on when they saw ripped white bed sheets, forked Cuban memory along with nearly all of her
ture both alluring and repugnant. intellectual knowledge: her boyfriend, Aaro n, scraps of wood, overturned tin buckets". rational mind, she becomes a little too neurotic
"Books", she says, "are conversations that are plans to become a psychiatris t, her best friend, Oyeyemi delicately evo kes the endless debate to be convincing - although, as her beloved Papi
not addressed to me." She speaks English, Amy Eleni, is an English teacher. Maja' s Papi between religious myth and intellectual fact that might say, "You know how Cuban women can
Spanish, some Germa n and a little Ghanaian fought his way out of abject poverty to become shapes Maja' s family life. When her younger be so metimes . Dram dticas. siempre el drama".
Ewe, but she finds words rarely suffice: "unless
you r skin and yo ur language touch each other
without interruption, there is no word strong en years ago James Bradley, a poet and J am e s Br adl e y able to revive his talents for writing and draw-
enough to make you understand that it matters
that you live".
Helen Oyeye mi resembles her creation in a
T novelist, began a series of metaphysi-
cal treatment s of fictional genres, all
partly set in Austra lia. Wrack (1997) examines
T HE R E S UR R E C TIO NI S T
335pp. Faber. 12.99.
978 057 1232758
ing, and in due course to employ them in
making a better life. But this is not a case of an
Australian novelist (with a vivid transition
number of superficia l ways - she is also in her the imagined origins of Aust ralia through the from foul alleys and cellars to a land of
early twenties, she was born far away (in tale of a ship popularly supposed to have failure, detachment from the lives of others impossible light, flashing water and shrieking
Nige ria) and moved to London as a child - but carried Portug uese explorers there in 1522. and metaphysical reflections on the nature and birds) portraying England as a hellish
she does not appear to share Maja 's distrust of The Deep Fie ld (2000) shows a dystopian purpose of life. His sense of detachment is Golgotha and Australia as a place of resurrec-
language. Her first novel, The lcarus Girl post-nucl ear future through the love story of emphasized by his habit, as first-person narra- tion. Transported whites in their new country
(2004), published when she was nineteen, tells a photogra pher and a blind palaeontologist. tor, of beginn ing his short chapters with an strugg le to ignore the causes of their arrival
the tale of lonely eight-year-old Jessamy, the Bradley has said that he wants his readers to unidentified character. But our uncertainty as and the unreality of their presence. Nevert he-
uneasy product of a marriage between an be on shifting ground, and The Resurrection ist to who they are does not matter. Although they less, there is a change in Gabriel (now become
English accountant and a llamboyant Nigeria n certai nly realizes that aim. play particular roles in the complicatedly Thomas). A brief, frustra ted attraction to a
authoress , who forms a compulsive, ultimately In the mid-1820s, gangs of grave robbers organized narrative, they are effectively pupil teaches him to feel tenderness, even if it
destructive friendship with a mysterious child operate in London , supplying cadavers for shapes looming in Ga briel's nightmare. Read- turns out to be pain, "a longing for a closeness
named TillyTilly. Jessamy lives through her medical research. Internecine warfare and pro- ers may be tempted to compare Bradley' s we can never know".
senses : so unds are so strong as to resembl e tection rackets abound. Much of the no vel is story with The Stra nge Case of Dr Jekyll and The Resurrect ionist is no optimistic saga
smells, closing one's eyes means causing those concerned with the conllict between the Mr Hyd e, but Stevenson' s story is clearly a of dissolution and redemption. "Time", for
around to disappear, long-distance telephone healing intentions of medicine and its brutal parable of good and ev il, even if its implica- Gabriel, "is not a river, but a prism in which
conversations are intolerable because, after all, need for acquisition and dissection of human tion is that they cohabit more closely than is we are broken and divided like light." Yet, in
who can trust a disembodied voice, distorted by bodies. (Later, in Australia, a similar disj unc- comfortable, whereas The Resurrectionist considering his drawings of birds he formu-
vast spaces and copper wires? tion will become apparent between love of offers no such clear distinction. Some lates what is both an explanation of his own
In The Opposite House, at the heart of a story birds and the need to kill some in order to characters are slightly nicer, others very life and of James Bradley' s method in writing
about rationalism and spirituality, being and understand and draw them.) Gabriel, the much nastier: all strive to concea l contempt- the novel. There is "no rule for it, no system.
belonging, Maja also revels in sensua lity. protagonist, is no angel of light. Orphaned by ible passages in the past and survive in a harsh The line speaks to the page, and back again",
Plucked from sunny, earthy Cuba at an early the death of his drunken father, he is appren- world. drawing forth an image "as much one of
age, she has only one complete memor y of her ticed to a London surgeon and engulfed in a At one point, Ga briel either is or dreams of impression as of craft", of "a thing new born,
homeland: exquisite, incomprehensible song. swirling mist of horrors, becomin g a rootless being buried alive. Then (explanations come and new made".
So, sixtee n years later, Maj a puts her freshly opium-SOdden drifter, plagued by a sense of later) he is transported to Australia where he is TOM AITK E N
earned degree in English Literature to question-

- 23 - TLS J UNE I 2007


MUSIC

procedur es to enlarge the mouth, increase the

Breathing tricks strength in the stomach muscles (one pupil of


Mathilde Marchesi used to balance thirty bricks
on his abdomen), were followed by Manuel
Garcia' s controversial "laryngoscope" . In all
n her autobiogra phy, Men, Women and PATRI CK O 'CONNOR throughout the Victorian age was the corset. this pursuit of perfection, and quack scientific

I Tenors , published in 1937, the American


soprano Frances Alda (at one time the wife
of the Metropolitan Opera' s manager, Giulio
Su s an Ruth erford
There is a fascinatin g passage in her chapter
on "Superdivas and superwomen" in which
Rutherford suggests that the singers' need for
j argon, the occasional clear, sensible opinion is
heard. George Bernard Shaw wrote to Viola
Tree, "Don' t you know that the people who
Gatti-Casazza), had this to say about the THE PRI M A DO N N A AN D OP ER A , freedom of breath also cont ributed towards a know how to sing may be divided into those
modern prima donna: "Audiences today are 181 5-1 9 30 greater awareness of the harm done to women who taught themselves, and those who were
more cri tical of a singer' s appearance than they 394pp. Cambridge University Press. 55 (US$99). by wearing tightly laced underga rments. The taught - like De Reszke and myself - by their
used to be. They demand not only that the 978052 185167X Yankee diva Lillian Nordica wrote that "singers mothers?" Very few great singers made good
singer shall sing well, but that she shall look are usually healthy, for that is one of the fi rst singing teachers, and the same Jean De Reszke
lovely and be an actress, too". As Susan Phantom of the Opera , are all shown as "male- requ irements; the great amount of oxyge n of was said to have been sent "the cream of
Rutherford shows in her stimulating new book, authored novels" which were concerned to "sub- which they make use tends to expand and Europe and America and turned out nothing but
The Prima Donn a and Opera , 1815-1930 , this due the rebellious and subversive siren". The develop the body". skimmed milk".
was a subjec t for compo sers, critics and the story in which Rutherford takes the closest inter- Although a life on the stage was considered When discussing audiences and their chang-
public throu ghout the lI S years on which she est is a little-kno wn polemic of 1844 by not much better than one on the streets, Hazlitt ing tastes during the centu ry, Rutherfor d makes
has chosen to concentrate. This is not an anec- Benedetto Berman i called "T he Life, Death and describing the "Opera Muse" as a "a tawdry the good point that "early ottocento spectators
dotal history of famous singers, but an attempt Transmigration of the Prima Donn a Asso luta". courtesan", many women from respectable watched opera as we watch television, with a
to define what it meant to be a prima donna , as In this he pinpoints all the traits that would society became accomplished singers and mixture of casual interest and concentration,
well as a look at the way the stylized fi gure of come to be associa ted with the prima donn a in enjoyed careers of a kind, performing in private interspersed with conversa tion, food, and visits
the female singer was used by novelists and the popular imagination, includ ing "affectation, houses, and even somet imes in public, Berlioz from friends and acquaintances". There was
essay ists. limitless demand s, honourable and insolent wrote approvingly of the Berlin "Ac ademic de also an element of voyeuristic fascination: it is
There had been, of course, many great eloquence when speaking of one's triumphs". chant", composed largely of amateur singers, difficult to overestimate, for exa mple, the thrill
prima donnas du ring the eig htee nth century . Berman i' s fictitious heroine is called Clelia and noting that "society ladies do not think it at all and shock that audiences enjoyed from seeing
(In 1786, Mozart' s libretti st, Gottl ied has all the worst attributes of her type, "she demeaning to sing in a Bach oratorio". There their prima donn as dressed as men. Rutherford
Stephanie, parod ied their vain antics in Der acted deplorably on the stage, but was full of was even a lady tenor, one Josephin e Geale, notes that the Code Napoleon introduced a law
Scha uspieldirektor, where Madem oiselle life and seduction at other moments". In all who sang duets with Jenny Lind at one of forbidding women to wear men' s cloth ing. But
Silberklang declares: "Eve ry artist strives for these fictional characters, Rutherford sees "a Charles Villiers Stanford ' s Dublin concerts, in the opera house this seems to have had no
glory, / Longs to hold the stage alone, / Were it particularly puzzling phenomenon" at work. If, before an audience that included the Queen. effect at all, as throu ghout the nineteenth cen-
not for this urge, / Art would not advance at as she writes, the mid-nineteenth century was The chap ter on "Tutors and tuition" includes tury, on both sides of the Atlantic, nearly every
all".) But in her introductio n, Rutherford an era in which "social, cu ltural, political and some hair-raising accounts of training methods prima donna at some point donned tights and
ex plains her choice of period . It covers all the educational" indoctrination worked to restrict employed by dubious experts, most of which boots to appear in one of the numero us travestie
major operas of Rossi ni, Bell ini, Donizett i, women's "access to the public doma in" , what resulted in young singers losing their voices. roles. Is it true, as Michel Poizat claims in The
Verdi and Puccin i in Italy; the rise and fall of are we to make of the prima donn a, whose George J. Vandeleur Lee, said to be one of the Angel' s Cry (1992), that "voices that appear
Gra nd Opera in Paris, and the transition from success meant "financial independence and models for Du Maurier' s Svengali, claimed that transsexual (high male voices, low female
the old Singspiel and opera seria in Austria sexual freedom"? he co uld transform a singer's techn ique in voices) hold the greatest fascination for the
and Germany to the age of Wag ner and then of One of the restrictions imposed on women twelve lessons - for ten guineas . Dreadful listener"? If so, the combinati on of such deep-
Strauss. The grad ual changes in the way opera voiced prima donnas as Colbran, Malibran and
singers approach ed their music and roles, and Schroeder-Devrient with the much lighter
what the publi c expec ted of them , were tenor s admired in the 1800s - David, Nourrit,
affected by the enormous upheavals in compo- Rubini - must have been sensational. Ruther-
sitional style - by 1930 the same soprano ford surmises that the origins of this
wou ld have not onl y Beetho ven' s Leonor e "glorious con fusion of sexual identity" lay
from Fideli o in her repertory, but also Marie in partly in what she calls "adherence to notions of
B ergs Wozzeck. the idea l" .
The rece ived perception of the artist altered In her last chapter, "The singing actress", she
swiftly as well. In the 1800s, Rutherford writes, attempts to compare the influence of such
the terms "virtuosa" and "prostituta" in Italy figures as Pauline Viardot, Patti and Mary
"we re interchangeable" ; by the middle of Garden (Debu ssy' s first Melisande). Her some-
Queen Victoria ' s reign, the famous singers of times rather swee ping generalizations may con-
the day were welcome guests at musical parties fuse readers not familiar with the minutiae of
at Windsor, and on one occasion the Queen her- operatic history, as she too often j uxtaposes
self joi ned Giovanni Battista Rubin i and Luigi characters and anecdotes from quite different
Lablache in a trio from Die Zauberflo te. By times. Certain key figures are absent; for
1890, the most famous diva of all, Adelina instance, there is no mention of Hortense
Patti, was able to have a castle built for herself Schneider, creatrice of many of Offenbach' s
in Wales, with not only a private theatre, but a greatest works, and surely the supreme prima
railway line to deliver the guests to her door. donn a of the Second Empire. Malvina Schnorr
Yet by 1930, Ernest Newman could write: "The von Carol sfeld, the first Isolde, and Euphrosyne
plain man finds it hard to take people seriously Parepa-Rosa, pioneer in touring opera in the
about whom so much vulgar nonsense is talked United States durin g the I860s, might also
... . The modern prima donna, for co mmercial have been co nsidered. Nevertheles s, Susan
reasons, has come down into the crowd" . Rutherford' s research is wide-ra nging and well
Rutherford' s opening chapter, "Sirens and annotated - the notes and bibliography take up
songbirds", looks at the prima donna as a figure more than eighty pages. If the book has an over-
in nineteenth-centur y literatu re. An ode by arching thesis, it is one of sheer admira tion for
Ferdinando Pellegrini, addressed to the con- the achievements of these sometimes notorious,
tralto Marietta Alboni (known unkindly later in occasionally ridiculous but frequently brave
her career as "the elephant that swallowed a and resilient women. Mary Garden claimed that
nightingale"), claimed that she had been sent to men were ju st a diversion from the real thing,
ass uage the poet' s grief with her "portentosa her career. "When I sit and think that [ can be
voce celeste". George Du Mauriers Trilb y, alone in this world, that I can go into my bed-
George Moores Eve/yn Inn es, E. T. A. Hoff- room and sleep alone, it gives me a shiver of
manns Council/o r Kresp el, James Huneker' s Fanny Heldy inIl barbiere di Siviglia; from Lost Divas by Andre Tubeuf freedom. That is my ecstasy, that knowledge of
Painted Veils, and even Gaston Lerou x' s The (Assouline. 2 84323 7351) freedom."

TLS J UNE I 20 07 - 2 4-
BIOGRAPHY

W
illie Donald son was n't alway s kind and loves the tho ught of shoc king his old life" .
to his frie nd Terence Blacke r. In his
co lum n for the Indep endent, Blacker
reported that Donald son portrayed him as
All the ladies Thereafte r, Donaldson supporte d him self, in so
far as he did support him sel f, as an author. In
1980, he had his grea t success, The Hen ry Root
"co nceited, ambitious, distin ctl y hypocritical". Letters, spoof missives to rea l peopl e, reprint-
O nce he testifie d in print : " I don' t like Bla cker, DAVID SE X T ON ne w come dy. He inve sted in one musical ca lled ing their dup ed rep lies, an idea copied from The
ne ver have" . In the first draft of his mem oirs Lie Down, I Think I Lo ve You whic h ran for Lazlo Toth Letters by the American co media n
(From Sunningdale to This) , Donaldson ca lled one nigh t. "Ge t up, I think I hate you", wrote a Don Nove llo but brill iantl y ca rried out and still
Te re nce Bl a ck er
Blacker a "s hifty littl e womani ser " and pre- reviewer. surprisi ngly funny .
sente d him , Blacke r now says , as "essentially YOU CA N NO T LIV E AS I H A VE In 1958, he married Son ia Avo ry, a deb u- At this time, Dona ldso n had a relatively
bogu s". He also betrayed his confide nces. LI V E D AND N O T E N D U P LI K E tante and tennis player; in 1960 , they had a so n, sta ble partn ersh ip with his former secreta ry,
Tere nce Blacker, however , has repaid this T H IS Charles; he ca rrie d on wit h actresses and pro sti- Che rry Hatr ick , at 139 Elm Park Mansions,
The thoroughl y disgraceful life and times of
trea tme nt with a biography that, without skip- tutes; in 1965, he and Soni a we re divorced . For SW 10, the add ress give n by Root. But he
Willie Donaldson
ping the horrors, makes the best possible case two yea rs, he had an affa ir wit h Sa rah Mil es, co nti nued to fall for pro stitutes, inclu din g
352pp. Ebury Press. 12.99.
for Donaldson as both man and wri ter. while at the same tim e she was seeing Laur ence one ca lled Me lanie Soszynsk i with whom he
978 009 191386 1
Through the tangle of heartbreak, disappoint- Olivier, unkn own to him. In 1967, he married took up smo king crac k cocai ne. He described
ment, bankruptcy and addiction, beyond what an ac tress , Cl aire Gord on , "the perfect oth er this relationshi p - " the sexual obses sion of
ofte n seemed to be a perverse re fusal to allow After schoo l, he did his Nationa l Service wo man on the prem ises" . Despite organ izing a middl e-aged O ld W ykehamist for a you ng
himsel f ordinary happiness, a real and extra- in the Navy , hop ing mea nw hile to becom e a "m usical evenings", or sex parties, with her , pro stitute" , as Blac ker describ es it - in his best
ordinary story of co urage and integrity is dance critic . At twe nty, wit h his frie nd J ulian this marriage also failed. nove l, Is This All owed'], published in 1987, the
played out. I knew that he was the funniest M itch ell , he went to Paris to lose his virgi nity to At the end of the 1960 s, the money had run yea r that Cher ry, after j ust nine month s as his
writer of his ge neration and wo nderful co m- a pro stitu te, co mplai ning tha t he didn' t eve n out and Dona ldso n moved to Ibiza. He spe nt third wife , left him.
pany; now he see ms to me to be a co nsiderable have an orgasm. On returning hom e, he learned his last 2,000 on a pecu liarly idiotic business Thereafte r, Donaldson produ ced , with vari-
fig ure no t on ly in his writing but in the way tha t his moth er had been killed in a ca r cra sh on venture, buying a glass-botto med boat. By ous co llabora tors, a series of toilet books, and
he lived. sig ned co ntrac ts for others that were never
These are large claim s and Blackers book deli vered . He may have been a blackm ailer on
doesn' t fully sus tain them. Nor wou ld Dona ld- the side . His fina ncial affai rs were what Bla cker
son ever have made them him self. "To ajourna l- ca lls " sharnbolic and precarious" - whic h
ist who asked about his life aro und the time of mean s that, although de-registered for V AT, he
his third and final bank ruptcy in 1994 , he still claimed it, co llec ted hou sing ben efit, did
simpl y said: 'I' ve bee n a co mplete cunt'. " not lile tax returns and took ou t num erou s credi t
Charles Will iam Do na ldso n was born on ca rd acc ounts. He co nti nued to buy sex. Black er
Jan uary 4 , 1935. His father ca me fro m a Sco t- eve ntually paid one of Donaldson ' s last esco rt
tish shippi ng dy nas ty, ow ning the Donald son gir ls, Mich elle, "a /lin ty-eyed provi de r of sex
Line , based in G lasgow, thoug h his mother and cocaine" , to tell him abo ut her tim e wit h
insisted on livi ng in Sunn ingdale, Berk sh ire, W illie and she "co njure d up a vision of hell" , he
next to the go lf co urse . At twe lve, W illie was says. " It turne d him on if someone fucked me ."
sent to Win ch ester and, like so many others, he Blacker quotes some painful entries from Don-
ne ver outgrew the expe rie nce (his auto bio- aldsons diaries at this time. Febru ary 1998:
grap hy was eve ntually published as From "Could anythin g be wo rse than thi s? ... Terror
Winchester to Here). The school chaplain told under weig ht of eve nts". Willi e Donaldson died
the boys they we re an e lite: '''Never forget', he a lone, on June 22 , 2005; he was discovered in
said, ' that yo u are Roll s-Royces. Less fortu nate his messy flat wit h his computer logged on to a
folk are merely hu mbl e Morris Mi nors who le sbian porn site.
must take their lead fro m you' ". Black er shows If he was not, as Black er hopes, a "co nsider-
a ll too much res pect for the co nditio n of bein g a able fig ure" , Donaldson wrote a good deal that
W ykeham ist. rema ins glorio usly funn y. Fro m the grave, he
Wh ile still at school, Donaldson de velope d can still make yo u cac kle. Eve n, say, his rather
an interest in ballet and theatre. Wh en he was repetitio us dictionary of received ideas, I' m
fiftee n, his parents took him to see the Fo lies- leavin g yo u Sim on, You disg ust me . . . co ntains
Bcrgere re vue at the Hippod rom e, a show lines to be cheris hed . "Osp rey. No thing da unts
which cha nged his life, Donaldson always main- the hun ting os prey. Tha t said, the stormy petrel
tained . " I was enthra lled . I understo od imme- ca n appea r from now here ." Blac ker qu otes
diately that these tall sile nt wo me n paci ng the in passing a late descrip tion of Paris Hilto n:
stage with nothing on - so di fferent to anything "Looks like a shivering Whippe t dipped in
one saw in Sunn ingd ale - were the self- bleach " . To his final colla bora tor, Hermi one
evidently de sirable represent atives of their sex, Eyre, he said: " You' re lucky. You 'll be alive
since men wo uld pay to see them with nothing to find out what happ en s to Charlo tte Church" .
on. The re was no one in Sunningda le you' d pay Thro ughout, Donaldsons humour, not j ust in
to see with nothing on ." It see ms fairly co mmon the spoof letters but also in the mo ck referen ce
for public-sc hoo l-educate d Englishmen, and per- book s such as Brewer 's Rogues, Villains and
haps so me others too, not to be able to co nnec t Ecce ntr ics, was founded on the belie f that we
sex and affec tion, but Donaldson suffere d from are all fakes, j ust hidin g our shame . Another
this dismal mala ise to an extre me degree. He diary entry : "The versio n of ou rse lves we
liked to pay, he liked to watc h, he requ ired deg- prese nt to the wo rld bears no resemblance to
radation. And on the other hand, when he was the trut h. If we knew the truth about eac h oth er
go ing ou t with the young and beauti ful Ca rly the Win ch ester byp ass. His father , shy, indeci- 1972 , he was slee ping on the beach , penniless. we could take no one seriously. The re isn' t one
Simon and she stre tched out naked on a bed and sive, alco holic, never wo rked aga in and drank That au tumn, he return ed to Lon don with all his of us who co uld affo rd to be ca ught. Tha t' s all
asked "What do you think?" , he felt " most himsel f to death in eightee n month s. He left possessions in a suitcase, to becom e a pim p for life is. Tryi ng not to be found ou t" . Is tha t a ll?
uncom fortable" . He hated to see a woman he 343 ,000, a sum Blac ker rec kons to be equiva- a girlf rie nd, "E mrna Jane Cra mpto n" , agai n Blacke r hedges his bet s to the last. "W ith an
loved and respected look ing " lewd and sugges- lent to 3 million no w, to Willi e and his sis ter, atte mpting to organize "pa rtouscs", as he pre- uncompromising instinct for followi ng his own
tive". "C arly had confu sed herself for a mom ent in 1957. ferred to term his paid-for gro up sex eve nts. morali ty, wha tever the co nsequence s, W illie
with a Helmut Newton wo man, a woman whose At Ca mbridge, Will ie funded a lavishl y pro- Onl y in 1975 did he publish his firs t book, co uld be said to ha ve lived the life of an exi ste n-
business was to do this sort of thin g, to pose and duced literary magazine, Gem ini. A fter graduat- Both the Ladies and the Gent leme n, describ ing tial hero. A lterna tive ly, he might sim ply have
mock yo u at a distance, to wea r thigh boots and ing, he became a theatrical impresario, mak ing life as a ponc e. Juli an M itch ell astutely co m- been trying to ex plai n the dam age wit hin his
sta nd in the co rne r if yo u told her to ." Donald - money as a backer of Beyond the Fringe, ment ed in his diary: "He' s half-proud of his ow n person ali ty, alie nated fro m itself." Te rence
son could alway s describ e his perver sity with ot herwi se stead ily losing. He liked awful old- caddis hness, shocking him sel f, whic h excites Blacker has tried to show us his hero but what
admirable lucid ity, it will be see n. fash ioned song-a nd-da nce spectacles , as we ll as him . . . . No parents, so he shocks himsel f he has fai thfully deli vered is the da mage .

- 25 - TLS J UNE I 2 0 07
BIOGRAPHY

n 1794, John Taylor, "drummer and men went to in order to prove that her ability to

I sailor ", was injured during the "Battle of


the Gloriou s First of June", receiving grape-
shot in his ankle and a musket ball to the thigh;
Girls who were boys fast was not miraculous make uncomfortable
reading. The doctors eve ntually dete rmined to
set four-hourly watches on her , round the clock,
he wou ld be scarred for life . Tay lor had been and to refuse anyone else entra nce; as they
working on merchant boats and even a French SHARO N R US TO N finally tried and hanged for forge ry; he had watched her, over the ensuing days, mov ing
privateer for some years , before enlist ing on the impersonated Augustus Hope, a Co lonel and slowly and horribl y towards death, they would
fighting ship the Brun swick, which would be fol- D ebbi e L e e Member of Parliament. Before being caught, he not relent until she signed a testimony admit-
lowed by the Vesuvi us and lina lly the cargo had managed to court and marry the legend ary ting that she had "attem pted to deceive and
boat Ariel in 1796. In fact, John Tay lor was ROM A N TI C LI A RS " Beauty of Buttermere ", Mary Robinso n. She impo se upon" those arou nd her.
Mary Ann Ta lbot, and it was not until he Obscu re wo me n w ho beca me impostors and c hal- never publicly complained about her mis- Similarly, when the proph etess Joanna
became an officer and was mistakenly press- lenged an e mpire fortune beyond writing a short factual acco unt. Southcott claimed , at the age of sixty-live, that
ganged in New York, that the secret was Palgrave Macmillan. 42 (US $75). Samue l Co leridge , who had met Hatlie ld, was she was going to give birth to "Shil oh" , the son
978 0 312294588 amazed at the locals' continued support and
re vealed. Ta lbot had been impersonating a man of God, she had to gain proof from the doctors.
since she was fourteen , when her guardian defe nce of his actions. They dul y exa mined her, and Southcott cer-
had stolen her fund for educatio n and made her up identities for themse lves and what motivate s Many of Lee' s liars impress the reader with tainly does seem to have needed medical help;
his serva nt. the desire to decei ve. She is interested in the their dexterity and sheer effro ntery. In the Lee highli ghts the acts of self-harm, the sexual
The stories told by Debbie Lee in Romantic complicity of the deceived, who are ofte n "wi ll- story of the Caraboo princess, which was the confusion, the need for endorse ment from the
Liars - of women who led fake lives and fooled ing victims", in the act of deception. In part, role ado pted by the dark-complexioned Mary clergy and medical co mmunity, and the strange
a grea t many peop le - are extraordi nary. Her this is because people tend to believe that others W ilcocks, her quick-wittedness outfoxe d a relationship that Sou thcott had with her father,
subjects include a cross-dresser, a prophetess, are telling the truth, but impostures are particu- number of eminent authorities on the subject of as crucia l factors in her psychological crisis.
a miraculous fasting woman and a pretend larly succe ssful, Lee points out, "because they her suppo sed home, Java. Wearin g her handk er- Lee' s treatment of Southcott is partic ularly
Orie ntal princess. The details of how they got tap into powerful cu ltural myths and because chief as a turban, she listened closely to schol- sym pathetic, as she finds in her delusions
away with their impersonatio ns for as long as they have an uncanny ability to refl ect our own ars discussing where she might have come evidence of a disordered and abused mind.
they did remain fascinating, and Lee is alive to personal fantasies back to us". In other words, from; as they described the differences in lan- One conclusion prompte d by this book is that
the sensational aspects of many of these tales, we want to believe them. It seems that this was guage and behaviou r between Asian peoples, the Romantic period, which is perhaps best
which are told in an easy and infor mal sty le. particularly the case with "Jo hn Hatlield". A she learned to act in the correct manner , weav- known for its emphasis on truth, sincerity and
Despite the animated, ofte n unacadem ic tone man with social ambitions, he found that to per- ing toge ther a "lingo" that was pronounced to authenticity , was awash with liars and cheats .
of voice, the researc h is sound; Lee has clea rly suade peo ple that he was an upper-class gentle- be most certa inly Javanese. Professional men Untruthful and unscrupu lous they may be, but
investigated these lives for herself, returning to man he had only to act and talk like one. figure largely in Roman tic Liars: we see them they remain, as Debbi e Lee has shown in
primary sources and challengin g the standar d Despite a life spent using other peo ple' s money asked to verify identity and to test claim s, but Rom antic Liars, interesting because of those
accounts. and abandoning his wives and children, he their presence is often more sinister than reassur- quali ties: " Because they step over the bounda -
Ta lbotfTay lor's story also teaches us about seems not to have met with the anger one might ing. In the case of Ann Moore, diagnosed by ries dividing truth and lies, fact and fiction, they
the fuller backgro und of the Revo lutionary expect from those whom he deceived . He was Lee as an anorexic , the lengths that medical reve al the nature of those bound aries".
Wars between Britai n and France at the end of
the eighteent h cent ury, and what it was like to -------------------~-------------------

serve in the Navy at this time. Many of the lives ten and the subseq uent use made of the text by
discussed here incidentally revea l what the
world was like for poor women at the time, and
what little chance they had of improving their
Bewildered, betrayed Robbie Ross, as he sought to claim Bosie 's place
as Wilde' s foremost friend. Ross was an amus-
ing and urbane character, and is rightly well

L
often desperate conditio ns. We have more sym- ord Alfred Douglas belon gs to that small MAT TH EW ST URGIS regarded for his work in securing Wilde' s liter-
pathy with some of Lee' s subjects than others ; group of indiv iduals who have had the ary legacy and in supporting Wilde' s orphaned
while Talbot was threatened with being sold shock of reading their own obituary. On Cas pa r Wint er m an s children, but in his dealings with Douglas it is
into slavery if she did n' t pretend to be a servant the afternoo n of Febru ary 4, 1nl , he bough t a clear that he did not play altogether fair. He had
boy, others had more venal reasons for their copy of the Evenin g News and was halted by A L F RE D D O U GL A S always been jea lous of Wilde' s love for Douglas
behaviour. T he "Witch of Leeds", as Mary the headlin e: "SUDDEN DEATH OF LORD A poet's life and his finest work and was delighted - when Wilde gave him the
Bateman became known, callously played on ALFRE D DOUGLAS - FOUN D DEAD IN 244pp. Peter Owen. 18.95 (US $42.95). De Profundis letter for safekeeping - to have the
the feelings of de sperate relatives who had to BED BY A MA ID". Wh at followe d was worse: 978 0 7206 1270 7 ammunition to humiliate his rival. Douglas' s
watch their loved one s sicken and die. Yet all of "A brill iant and most unhappy caree r is ended humiliation, when the letter was finally read out
the women featured here - and some of the .. .. The chari ty which is fitting at all times , but about the outcome of the Battle of Jutl and). in court in 1913, was complete. He felt betrayed
men, too - are in some sense victims of a rigidly most litting when we are speaking of the newly- According to the established reading it was by Wild e, by Ross, by eve ryone, and he began
unforgiving class structu re that forced people dead , urges that much shou ld be forgive n to this the thirty-six-year-old Wild e' s fata l passion for lashing out in all directions. He was indeed
into such impostures . poor, bewildered man, who, with all his gifts , beautiful young spoiled seltis h vicious Bosie - ofte n a "poor bewildered man", more deser ving
But if these were unusual performances, will perhaps only be remembered by the scan- then a tloppy-haired undergradu ate at Oxford - of sympathy than blame. And he has receive d a
people understood that so, too, was gender itself. dals and the quarrels in which he involved that led him onto the rocks of disaster. Their inti- good deal of the kindness over the years.
Talbot found it diflicult to return to dressing and himself". Alfred " Bosie" Douglas, who by this macy provoked lirs t the wrath ofBosie' s intem- This is not the first sympathetic life of Doug-
beha ving in a feminine manner after her subter- stage of his life (he was lifty-o ne) had largely perate father, the Marquess of Queensbur y, and las; it has the virtue, however, of being the short-
fuge was discovered; in her own words, she had abandoned literature for litigation, immediate ly then Bosies own intemperate desire to confro nt est. It is brisk, interesting, lucid , and also well
forgotten "how to act" the female part, and, after instructed his solicitors. It was a gross libel, he his brutal parent in the courtroom. This was the written - translated as it is from the original
her story was published, she had to prove that claimed, to suggest that he should be remem- interpretation of eve nts set dow n by Wild e Dutch by its author. Winterm ans is clea rly
she was the "rea l" Mary Ta lbot when another bered only for his squabbles. What of his poems, while he was in Readin g Gao l in the long - but steepe d in his subject, and his English - enli-
woman pretended to be her. Talbot' s experiences his good looks, his horsemanship, his journalism? never delivered - letter to Douglas, which was vened with occasional epigrams - has an engag-
allow Lee to make wider points that are clearly Douglas won his case, but he has scarcely eve ntually publi shed as De Profundis. It is an ingly period feel. He writes enthusiastically
relevant to today ' s culture. Recognized not as a been vindicated at the bar of history. Now , interpretation that has been readily taken up by about Bosie ' s poem s, and prints a generous
single, strange instance but as part of a tradition whenever he is recalled, it is as a playe r in others. It stands behind the acco unt in Ric hard se lect ion as an appendix . It is useful to have
of female sailors, and with her motives made Oscar Wildes dow nfall and its many after- Ellman's still authorita tive biograph y of Wild e. them , though they scarcely confirm the biogra-
comprehensible, Talbot becomes representative shocks. And certai nly this entertai ning and It inform ed the Stephen Fry lilm . pher' s warm verdict. Almost all of them are
rather than odd: "T he cross-dressing women well-researc hed biograph y derive s much of its Dougla s himself, by the actions of his later finely chise lled Petrarchean sonnets: a few
stand out because they showcase the fact that co lo ur and interest from the various ro w s, sca n- life, did much to contribut e to this negative cloyed with self-pity, some labori ously artili-
during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth dals, feuds and legal act ions in which Douglas impression. He published a bitter book repudiat- cial, and rather a high propo rtion beginning
centuries no less than today, female identity was embroiled on acco unt of his friendship ing Wilde' s memory and - following in his own with the exclamati on "A las". Alas, indeed. His
involved a particu lar kind of performance, with with Wilde. Additional spice is provided by sub- father's footsteps - he hou nded his contempo- one immortal line - ending a paean to same-sex
all of the attendant meanings that a performance sidiary squabbles with his wife, the intense ly rary and sometime-friend Robb ie Ross through love - remains, "I am the love that dare not
implies, such as masquerade, costume, disguise, affecte d poet Olive Custance (whom he married the cou rts for being a sodo mite. Caspar W inter- speak its name" . Its fame has carried eve n to
role playing, and imposture". in 1902), her father Co lonel Custance, and mans, however, offers a more co mplex and con- Middle America , where Pat Buchanan - faced
Lee subjects her Romantic-pe riod women to Win ston Churchill (whom Douglas accused of vincing picture of events. He carefu lly unpicks with the gay-rig hts lobby - recently modified it
modern method s of psychological interpreta- engineeri ng a stock-market coup for Jewish the background to the writing of De Profun dis , to "I am the love that will not shut up". As a lit-
tion, in the hope of learning why people make investors by withholding vital informatio n W ildes changi ng attitude to what he had writ- erary legacy it is limited, but not unimp ressive.

TLS J UNE I 2007 - 2 6-


BIOGRAPHY

arry Bernstei n's father was the oldest about the interview he lashes out: "T hey sent

H of ten children born into a poor Jewish


famil y in Poland. Sent out to work at
the age of five, he soon became a violent, hard-
Long division me out to work in a slaughter-house. I cleaned
up the blood and the entrails of the anima ls and
the shit and the hair and the eyes that rolled out
drink ing rebel who terrorized his siblings . His of the heads. Five years old, I was. Did I have
mother responded by disapp earin g, tak ing the MATTH EW J. R EIS Z an educati on? Did I go to school? . .. I'll give
whole family to a new life in Eng land one day yo u a new kind of education" . And with that he
while he was at work. Furio us, he plotted H arr y B e rn st ein gra bbed her by the hair and pulled her into the
reve nge , slow ly mad e his way across Europe street.
and eve ntually tracked them down in Lanca- T HE I N VI SIBL E W A L L The only remai ning exi t rou tes were poli tical
shire. When he knocked at the door late at 236pp. Hutchinson. 12.99. activ ism and love. Li ly becam e a socia list, took
night, his mother welcomed him by thro wing 9780 09 1 179543 6 up with a goy called Arthur and had a "revo lu-
the latrine bucket over his head. US: Ballantine Books. $22.95 . 978 0 3453 9580 8 tionary wedd ing" outside a co untry inn. As was
Once he was eve ntually let in, he soon made once co mmo n in Jewish families , her pare nts
them pay for their treachery. The hou se becam e in ginge r bee r bottles - for the local Romeo and treated her as if she were dead and performed
notor ious for swea ring , fighting and shouti ng Juliet, Fredd ie and Sarah. the mourning ritual of sitti ng shivah. It is only
matches. At her wits' end, his mother found In a world powered by gossi p, nothing can when she gave birth to a son and the who le
an innocent sixtee n-yea r-o ld Jewish girl, j ust remai n secret for long. The local chicke n street held a party that there see med renewed
arrive d from Poland withou t family or friends, dealer, out on business in the cou ntry, spotted hope of harmon y within the Bernstein family,
and persuaded her to marry her intractable the young coup le in the woods . Sarah was and between Christians and Jews.
son. She then put on an uncon vincin g show of insta ntly sent away to relatives in Australia. The Invisible Wall captures a world riven
ge nerosity , made over her home to the newly Freddie, who had already impr egn ated a neigh - by politica l dispu tes whic h see p into perso nal
weds and took the rest of the family away to bouring girl called Annie, lost his legs in the A street urchin , Lambeth, ea rl y tw entieth lives. An old rabbi is heartbrok en over his apos-
safe ty in Ame rica . First World War. This led to a feroci ous battle century; from the book under review tate son who disappears to Russia to join the
It was thus that Harry Bernstei n came to betwee n his sister and Annie' s mother to try to Revolu tion ; a younge r rabbi arrives from
spe nd his firs t twelve yea rs in a Lancashir e mill oftload responsibili ty for his care. to brin g her noth ing but misery". Harry' s Russia, becomes infa tuated with Lily and tries
tow n where the stree ts were "a ll dreadf ully Harry Bernstei n is now clo se to a hund red father, sca rred by his terribl e childhoo d, was to win her over to Z ionism . By a stra nge irony,
ali ke", althoug h theirs was divided down the years old and it wo uld perhaps not be surprising "sullen and hostile", a boozy tailor who took Arthur's mother went on to beco me pro minent
middle by an "invisi ble wall" sepa rati ng Chris- if this book - his first - were somew hat epi- pleas ure in shattering his children's drea ms . A in the Labour Party and helped pass legislation
tians from Je ws. This deterred inte rmar riage, sodic , soft-ce ntred or genera lized. Yet it turns rec urre nt image pict ures him wo lling do wn his specifically designed to clear slums like the
illi ci t rom ances and eve n most socia l co ntac t. out to be vivid, co mpassionate and notably eveni ng meal and then rushing off to the pub, one where Harry Bern stein grew up. He left
But suc h barriers are never totally effective. un sentiment al, and bu ilds to a moving cl imax "w hile still putting on his coat and with one Lancashi re for America in 192 2 and didn 't
This remarkable mem oir opens with Harr y, as Harry' s siste r Lily attempts to escape fro m sleeve dangling behind him, in a grea t hu rry to retu rn for forty yea rs. When he finally did,
age d abo ut four, becom ing an unwitting inter- their stifling family. Harry' s mother was get away fro m us" . Lily studie s hard to ge t into his street was just about to be demoli shed
med iary - smugg ling messages of love hidden tender- hea rted but tra pped in "a match that was gra mmar school, but when her father hears for eve r.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

acquiring Greene' s own cop ies of his book s, all

Proofs, firsts and file copies Gekoski co uld think of was, would they have
dust wrappers? Or so he recalls in his book of
anecdotes Tolkien 's Gow n (2004). In the
context of twenty-first-century booksellin g, this
hen is a first edition not a first edi- JAM ES FERGUSSO N "A collection of proof prospectuses, trial attitude will make him rich - and let happiness

W tion? The conventional definition


used by book collectors is, strictly
speaking, arbitrary. A first edition is an exam-
Proofs are only one part of the publishing
process. Cox 's cata logue makes a particular
engravings, notes and other preparatory
material . . . about 95 pieces" relating to the
project, for I,250. The main obstacle to
wait. Gekoski' s catalogue s are short and spare
and quietl y grand. Where Cox runs to 280
items, Gekoski' s latest, Number 32 (from R. A.
ple of the "finished" book in its primary "pub- point of them, but it also has items showi ng publication, he surmises , was the difficulty of Gekoski, Pied Bull Yard, 15a Bloomsbur y
lished" state. But what is publication? When "the making of books", from the original printing Eileen Mayo ' s wood-engravings, one Square, London WC IA 2LP), makes a graceful
John Betjeman ' s Church Poems came out, one inspiration - Bishop John Fell's copy of an of which, a dramatic multicolour illustration of fifty. There are no proo fs, only the typescript
of the last of his book s to appear in his lifetime, Elzevir Greek New Testament with his annota- women bath ing, went through variant trial "setting copy" of Lawrence Durrell ' s The Black
it was marred by small errors - lines missing, tions; "U ndoubtedly the major source for Fell' s impressions. It would be instructive to know Book (1938, 32,500), the corrected typescript
the wrong ISBN on the dust ja cket ("T he proofs critical [1675] edition of the Greek Testament" how this material, from the collection of of The Master by T. H. White ( 1957), inscribed
blew out of the window" was his publisher Jock (550) - to the raw manuscript: Roy Jenkin s' s Cleverdon ' s schoolfriend the bookseller to John Arlott (4,000), Robert Nichol s' s auto-
Murray' s unlikely exp lanation). Murra y' s with- magisterial presidential biography Truman J. Stevens Cox, relates to the five folders of graph manuscript of Aurelia (1920 ), billed as a
drew it, although the book did go on sale in (1986), in his hand, is offered for a mere 250. material (includin g specimen pages, orders Nancy Cunard item (1,500), and an original
many shops. Some months later, a corrected Better than an uncorrected proof, of course, is a and original Mayo drawings) amon g the shooting script for Joseph Strick' s 1967 lilm of
edition appeared , identical in most respects. proo f corrected by the author. Cox offers Cleverdon papers at the Lilly Library, Indiana Ulysses ( 1,850). More in Geko si' s line are
The firs t first edition says on the back of the Theodore Watts-Dunton' s "heavily" corrected University. James Joyces first appeara nce in book form,
title-page, "First published 1980". The second galley proo fs of "Aspects of Tennyson", an When is a first edi tion not a first edition? The Day of the Rabblem ent (1901, 13,500)
first edition says, without comment, "First 1893 essay for The Nineteenth Centu ry (350) , When it competes with an unauthori zed one, and The Holy Offi ce (1904 or 1905), "in effect
published 1981". Betjeman put 1981 in his and Ruby M. Ayres's carefully emended proof [his] fi rst book" (45,000); Ernest Heming-
Who 's Who entry, but, if you were a collector, of her 195 I love stories Autumn Fires (40) ; way's first book, Thr ee Stories & Ten Poem s
which ed ition would you collect? Ayres was the model for P. G. Wod ehou se' s (1923), inscribed to his friend and editor
Charles Cox is an antiquarian book seller Rosie M. Banks and was "said to have been Edward J. O 'B rien (70,000) ; Graham
based in Cornwall, Betjeman co untry (River able to write 20,000 words a day" . Dispiriting Greene' s first book, Babbling Ap ril (19 30)
House, Treg lasta, Launceston PUS 8PY), who for the author but invigorating for the co llector inscribed to Lady Ottolin e Morrell (10,000);
specia lizes in nineteenth-century literature. He are those co rrections which were never and the first Hogarth Press book, Virginia and
is drawn less to first editions than to interesting published , such as E. C. Bentley' s scrupulous Leonard WooIr s Two Stories (1917, 22,500).
editions; less to "great" authors than to their marginalia in his autobiography, Those Days W. B. Years' s Fo ur Plays fo r Dancers (1921 ),
circles and connections. He believes in intel- (1940), improvements for a new edition that inscribed to Lady Gregory, is put at 17,500;
ligent persuasion rather than brash display, never saw the light of day (80). Some copies Siegfried Sassoon ' s second book, Orpheus in
which means that he is more likely to become deserve special attention when they demon - Diloeryum (1908 ), inscribed to his childho od
happy than rich. His catalogue Number 54, strate a publisher's or editor' s cont inuing friend H. F. Thomp son, at 3,500; Lawrence
"States of Undress" , is subtitled "A uthors', commitment to a book. Examples here include Durrells second book , Ten Poe ms (1932), at
printers and publishers' proofs, prospectuses, the fourth ed ition of Thomas Percy's Reliques 9,750 ; Ani ma l Farm (second impression,
dumm ies, samples, unbound sheets & other pre- (Volume Two only, 1791), which was worked 1945) , inscribed by George Orwell to Arthur
liminary & ephemeral texts exhibiting the mak- on intensively for a further edition (350), and Koestler, at 22,500; and Lord of the Flies
ing & unmaking of book s from the 17th to the the proof copy, circa 1925, for the ninth print- (second US edition, 1962), inscribed by
21st centuries". In his introduction to it, David ing of P. G. Wodehou ses The Clicking of William Goldin g to E. M. Forster (who contrib-
McKitterick writes : "This catalogue documen ts Cuthbe rt, described as "completing 80,965 uted a preface), at 12,500. "In my business",
a way of looking. By that looking, much has copies" (65). The printer' s corrected proo fs of wrote Gekoski in 2004, "I have concentrated on
been preserved that otherwise would have been a ballad sheet, Dr unken Wife [and] The Trottn acquiri ng the linest works by those modern
neglected and lost". [sic] Horse (c I850), meanwhile, must be a very writers whom I actually kno w about, and whom
The proof copy in the twentieth century was rare survival ( 120). Galley proofs of the I used to teach: authors like Henry James,
always more interesting than valuable. Despite anthology Ne w Poe ms 1960 (1960, 65) lack Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Joyce, Lawrence, Hemin g-
often being riddled with errors (Iris Murdoch the preface by the newly retired Editor of the way, Woolf, Beckett. Every year or so I issue a
was "Irish Murdo ch" in the proof of one of her TLS, Alan Pryce-Jones, and the names of catalogue with a few nice things in it .. . and
novels), bound proofs were produced in three of its contributor s are misspelt ("Patric One of Virginia Woolf's supplements to her eventually most of them sell."
unknown numbers and collectors didn 't know Dickenson" , "Hilory Corke", "Edwin Muik"). nephews' mock newspapers, The Charleston Simon Finch, another bookseller of dash and
where they were with them. Sometimes publish- Also offered is a letter to Pryce-Jones from Bulletin and Th e New Bulletin, now held by ambition, has issued his first cata logue for a
ers printed a few, for genuine proofing pur- David Farrer of Seeker & Warburg enclosed the British Library long time, Number 62 (from Simon Finch Rare
poses, sometimes they issued severa l hundreds with a proof of Eric Bligh ' s memoir Faintly Books, 53 Maddo x Street, London WIS 2PN).
as "advance" copies for booksellers and Smili ng Mouth (1961), soliciting "a puff ... perhaps. A London bookseller , J. A. Allen, put It contains 272 items, ranging in date from 1518
reviewe rs. In the twenty-first centu ry, when which we could use in our advance promotion" together a printed version of the speech given to 2006 , from Johannes Stoeffler to Damien
marketing plays a large part in publishing and (14). Why are publishers so careless about by Thoma s Hardy on the laying of the Hirst. Finch is eclectic. He veers happily from
making any corrections at page- proof stage is their file copies? Cox offers fourteen titles foundation stone of Dorchester Grammar medicin e and astronomy to ballooning, sword-
expensive , proofs have been further devalued : published by Frederick Warn e between 1874 School on July 21, 1927 (his last big public making, natural history and chess. Next to a
publishers tend to dismiss their import ance and 1941, several marked "Not To Be Taken outing), which "conceivably" , says Hardy' s Shakespeare First Folio ("price on application" ;
even while they are offered for sale on eBay Away" (25- 95). File copies can offer bibliographer Richard Little Purdy, predates it is apparently not the Or Williams' s Library
and Amazon. Cox's catalogue opens with a irreplacea ble publishing information - some the edition of twelve produced for Mrs Hardy copy Finch bought at Sotheby' s for 2.8m last
co llection of some sixty proof copies, give precise print runs, others poignantly by Cambrid ge University Press in August. Cox year), may be found Alice Liddell ' s opera
1935- 2006, "selected in part to demonstrate the reco rd the meltin g of stereotypes. File copi e s offers galley proofs of The Two Hardys for glasses (4,500), H. G. Wells' s The First Men
various styles adopted by publishers" and of a group of live of Penguin's glamorous 165. But the "publishing practice", he argues, in the Moon (190 I), inscribed by Buzz Aldrin
priced at a modest 160. They are variously green crime novels, 195 I- 60, by Erie Stanley was Hutch inson' s issuing the uncorrected (3,750), and a one-pound note signed "Ronnie
marked "for inspection purposes only", "for Gardn er and others, seem very cheap at 25. proof copy of Kingsley Amis' s 1988 novel Biggs. Rio" (750).
your personal reading", "reading copy", Always diverting, if confusing, is the "ghost" Difficult ies with Gi rls in a numbered edition Finch does offer one notable proof - J. K.
"advance reading copy", "not for sale", "not for title, the book which was advertised but never of 500, so "v irtually adva ncing it to the status Rowling' s Harry Po tter and the Philosopher's
publication", "book proof" , "uncorrected book published . There is a proof copy here of Lettice of a first edition". Cox prices the proof at 18. Stone (1997), inscribed by the author ( 10,000).
proof ', "uncorrected proof ', "uncorrected Cooper's Removal (1936, 75), described by The first edition in dustwrapper is routinely When Rick Gekoski was offered ju st such a
proof copy on proofing paper", "uncorrected Cox as "rare - perhaps unique", for the novel priced at 20. copy, seven years ago, by John Walsh, former
advance page proofs", "uncorrected copy", was actually issued under another title, The Unlike Charles Cox , Rick Gekoski is not by literary ed itor of the Ind ependent , he
"advance proof: does not contain proo f readers' New Ho use. Douglas Cleverdon ' s ed ition of instinct a proof man. A former academic, he is responded: "Please go away. I don't want it.
marks", "paper bound copy" , "duplicate proofs The Bamb oo Dancer, a collection of African lured to the high spots. When Graham Greene Don 't make me buy it". As with many aspects
for retent ion", and "read and corrected by the folk tales by J. H. Driberg, was announc ed asked him whether he might be interested - "if of booksellin g, what you sell and how you
printer". by the Clover Hill Press for 1936. Cox offers you could be bothered to pick them up" - in catalogue it are a matter of taste.

TLS J UNE I 20 07 - 28 -
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Sterr y (1866-1955) and includ es some rem ark-

Fine editions and the future able woodland portrait s of Gore-B ooth in
Pre-Ra phaelite poses, as well as a superbly
evoca tive picture of her smoking with the artist
Althe a Gyles in a suitably bohemi an setting in
here have been few sa les at the major H. R. WOUDH UYS EN about sixteen subsc ribers, eac h requ ested not to Chel sea. Thi s attr acti ve co llect ion is available

T auct ion houses this year, but they are


abou t to enter a period of activity
coi nci ding with this yea r' s Antiqu aria n Book
book s, let alone read them, but its future
remains perilou s.
keep the co py for mor e than two days. Ther e
are pages for rea ders' comments, togeth er with
two envelopes, one for the penn y subscription
for 16 ,500 , che aper than the fifty-thr ee letters
and fifty dra wings sent by Burne-Jone s to
Violet Maxse, later Viscountess Miln er (she is
Fair at Olympia fro m Jun e 7 to 9. Christie 's Readers can do their bit for the future of (and the penn y-a-day fine if kep t for longer than describ ed by the ODNB as an "i mperial activ-
ha ve sa les of Fine Printed Boo ks and Mau- second-hand book s by going to the annual two day s), the oth er for queries addr essed to the ist"). Th ese are contained in two album s, and
scripts on June 5, and Valu able Manu scrip ts Book Fa ir at Olym pia. Th ere they will find the Editor. Th is archive of Edwa rdian childhood is they chart the artist 's ev ide nt affection for the
and Prin ted Books on June 6, and Sotheb y' s are usual odd mixtu re of the extreme ly desirabl e, priced at 650 . much younger woman, as well as co nta ining
selling An nette Carnpbell- Whi tes Modern the decidedl y unapp ealin g, the neglected From the same period, Jarnd yce (who still descrip tion s of his work on paintings and on the
Mo vem ent Collect ion on Jun e 7. bargain and the exaggeratedly overpriced, as issue some of the mo st interesting and origin al Kelm scott Chaucer: they are bein g offered by
Th ese sales appear to show the buoyancy of David Brass for $ 125,000. Vita Sack ville-West
the mark et at the moment, but old and rare was an equally for mida ble woman. Michael
books are only a very sma ll part of the global Silverm an has the autog raph manu script of her
market for collectors . Th e Ma y sales of Impress- book Pa ssenger to Teheran , compl eted in
ion ist and Modern Art that Chr istie' sand Au gu st 1926, for 17,500. Th e publi shed
Sotheb y' s held in New York, for exa mp le, fiction of anoth er traveller , Graham Greene,
yielded around 290 mill ion on some 130 or so can be had for exactly half tha t price: a copy of
lots. How can the book market begin to co m- the first edition ("nea r fine" ) of The Pow er and
pete against such figures , or hop e to match the the Glory is for sale from Luciu s Book shop
extra ordinary publicity the sales attract ? One with its du st wrapper bearin g the unusual price
answer may be Sotheby' s recent decision only of eight shillings and three penc e.
to sell lots in their book sales whic h have esti- The se are serious items at serious prices.
mates of a 1 ,000 or above . Bloomsbu ry, which None of them, however , has the strong sense of
started life as Bloom sbury Book Auctions, sell- remote history exuded by a cop y of two works
ing large numb ers of lots chea ply and qu ickl y, of 1605 and 1611 , on exotic plant s and anima ls
has now diversified into mod ern art, prin ts, writ- by Charles de L'Ecluse. Th e volume belon ged
ing materials, banknotes, chess sets, fossils, and to Thomas Went worth , lirst Earl of Stra fford ,
almost anything for which there is a sig nific ant who was executed in 1641 , and it bears his coa t
market. These are evi de ntly hard times for the of arm s on both its covers and his sig nature on a
book departm ent s of even the majo r auction paste-do wn. Norbert Do nho fer has this and is
hou ses: exce ptional co llections sold by offerin g it for abou t 6,500 .
Sotheb y' s, such as the magnifi cen t Maccl es- No t all the books at the Fa ir are equally grave
field Library, and Lord Wardin gton ' s atlases , or ex pensive. Roger Treglo wn has copies of
can do something to help the balance, but these Robert Payne' s novel The Want on Ny mph: A
are by thei r nature rare and unu sual eve nts. study of pri de (1951) - "An acce ptably tight
Meanwhil e, the trade is also suffering, and not example and , thankfull y, lacking the usual
simp ly as a result of the internet. If anything, fingermar ks, with the du stwrapper a little worn
sites such as abebo ok s have revi talized the busi- and tired aro und the edges . A somew hat sed uc-
ness of buyin g and selling book s, but they have tive copy" - for 69p , and of Douglas T.
also affected the trade in two distinctive ways . Constance Gore-Booth with Althea GyIes , StanIey Studios, 1898 Hamilton's Automatic Screw Machine Practice
First, by allow ing collecto rs to co mpare what (New York , 1912) - "If you want the best
dealers all over the wor ld have on offe r, the well the usual puzzling item s which it is impo s- catalogues in the trade) has a fine photograph counterbore or are worried about loose or
internet has helped drive do wn prices of some sible to imagine that anyon e would want to give album which includ es num erou s portra its tight fit s, or if your recessing tool is the wrong
books; in particul ar, academi c book s and schol- preciou s shelf-space to. Th e layout of the Fair, of Constance Gore-Booth , later Coun tess diameter, if you have disco vered you need a
arly ed ition s see m to have lost a grea t deal of its endl ess ro ws of identical-look ing stands Marki ewicz. The album app ear s to have been swing-to ol holder the answe r is in this book" -
their prestige. Seco nd, virtual business has (there are around 150 ex hibitors), always makes compiled by or for the Etonian lawyer Wasey for 6.66p.
mad e the prospect of runn ing a shop, with its touring it a strange experience, at times reminis- ~====================================
attendant incon veniences of premi ses and cus- cent of Mar vell ' s descript ion of disorien tat ion: I
tomers, see m less attractive . Similarly, with "As, und er water, none does kno w I Wh ether he
some notabl e exceptions, the inte rnet has fall throu gh it or go". A sense of the topsy-t urvy
mad e the issuing of cata log ues seem un- attaches itself to children' s books, which will
necessary. A clear sign of this major change in featur e widely in this year's Fair (it is being
doin g business has been the declin e of the book opened by Jacqu elin e Wilson) : their high cost
fair: the monthl y PBFA fairs in London, which see ms disproportionate to their original
used to occupy two days and lill two large intend ed audience . Thi s is part icularl y the case ReadySteadyBook.com is an independent book
room s at the Russell Ho tel, have shrunk to with the large number of editions of Arthur websitc dcvotcd to discussing and rcuiewing
being a one-day eve nt with a more lim ited Rackham, A. A. Miln e, J. R. R. Tolki en and the very best in literargfiction, poem],
range of ex hibitors. J. K. Rowlin g which will be on sale, but it also criticism, histol'y and philosophy.
It ma y be that the relative cheapness of book s applies to some of the more attractive classics
in a market where wea lthy collectors think little bein g offered , such as Aquila Book s of Award-wiTl nning Irish poet Denn is O'Driscoll
of spe nding tens of thou sand s of pound s is Ca nada's co py of the lirst ed ition, lirst impress- recently described ReadySteadyBook.colII as
again st them. A more worrying thou ght is that ion o f Lucy Maud Montgomery' s no vel Anne "unfailingly resourceful and iriforlllative
books are co nsidered dull and un interesting: of G reen Gables (Bo ston , 1908) for 7 ,500 . .. day after lively day ".
they require some kno wledge from the buyer ; Mor e unu sally, Ken Spelm an Rare Book s has
they take up space , are hard to displa y attrac- six issues of a charming hom e-m ade ma gazin e,
''he UK's largest indepe ndent lileral) 'lI"ebsite"
tively; they ga ther dust. Worse, the import ance The A corn, condu cted by M iss Joan Th oyts and -The Observer
of reading, in a wor ld which has seen the future M iss Jo an William s of 3 Merton Road , South -
and decid ed it is electron ic, may be in doubt. sea, or Heath Den e, Camb erle y, Surrey. At least "A treas ure ... with smart, serious analysis"
Th e deci sion by Bloom sbur y to move into twe lve issues of between 45 and 89 pages were - l'he Guardian
mod ern art, or of Quaritch (amon g others) into publi shed in typescript between 1911 and 1912:
photograph s makes commerci al sense . The they includ e origin al short stories, puzzles, www.ReadySteadyBook.com
trade may not yet be faced by a version of wate rcolours and pen-and -ink draw ings . The
Hardy' s common univer sal wish not to collect magazin e was designed to be posted between

- 2 9- TLS J UNE I 200 7


IN BRIEF

Psychology
Rachel Bowlby
FR E UDI AN MY T HOLOGI ES
Greek tragedy and modern identity
25 1pp. Oxford University Press. 45
(US $85).
978 0 19 927039 2

P sychoanalysis is detective work, seeking to


reconstruct from clues scattered in the
present a past story that explains a scene of
crime or suffering. It was Freud ' s famous
Memoirs patient Sergei Pankej eff - better known as "the
Wolf Man" - who told us that Freud was a
Lydia Flem reader of Conan Doyle. "1 had thought that
THE FINA L REMI ND ER Freud would have no use for this type of light
How I emptie d my parents ' house reading matter, and was surprised to find that
Translated from the French by Elfreda Powe ll this was not at all the case and that Freud had
119pp. Souvenir Press. 9 .99. read this author attentively." But Freud found
978 0 285 63782 5 his exemplary detective story not in Conan
Doyle but in Sophocl es. He promoted Oed ipus

E loquent, poignant and profound ly honest,


The Final Reminder is a rumination on age-
ing, bereavement, solitude and ancestry. Follow-
the King to the story of stories not only because
of the core truth of human deve lopment that it
containes but because of the way it comes at
ing the death of her second parent, Lydia Flem that truth. Like Holmes, Oedipu s goes over
was forced to carry out an act both common again the ground of the crime, lead ing an
enough and deeply traumatic : the emptying out inquest by which the present recovers the past,
of the family home. "In years gone by", writes gives it new meaning.
Flem, "dea th was an experience that lived in Among the virtues of Rachel Bowlby' s lively
the heart of the community . . . but today and engagi ng new book is that she repeatedly
bereavement has to be carried out in the lonely tracks back from Freud's Greek examples and
compartment of our private life." As an only allusions to their source. And she uses Freud' s
child, her sense of isolation cou ld only be insights to reread the ancient texts - employing
heightened. also the wisdom of those texts to re-read Freud.
Flem is a psychoa nalyst, and this essay is a Bowlby dep loys the term "mythologies" some-
form of therapy, as she passes through "the tem- what in the manner of Roland Barthes, in his
pest of feelings, without excluding any, how- book of that name: as "a narrative movement
ever acute and vile" . ("T his book", she says of telling and retelling that at once sustains and
later, "has been vital to me as evidence .") Her changes the likely or fabulous ideas and stories
relationship with her parents, survivors of the Smokestacks, Ford Factory, Detroit, Michigan, 1926; from E. O. Hoppe's Amerika : Mod ern ist in circulation". Going back to Sophocles (and
Holocaust, had always been troubled; her photographsfrom the 1920 's by Phillip Prodger (176pp. Nor ton. 28. 978 0 393 06544 2) sometimes Aeschylus and Eurip ides as well)
mother, in partic ular, seems to have been over- produces a dialogic reading of Freud and the
the motherland; for the rebellious colonists, mythic templates he uses - the "stereotype
bearing, anxiou s and critica l. Now, as well as
anguish, Flem experie nces a sense of freedom:
Theatre Shakespeare's works served to authorize revolt plates", as he called them, referring to a now
sifting through the objects that she had once Frances Teague and to reproach England for neglecting its tradi- abandoned printing technique.
been forbidden to touch; wearing the colours SHAK ESPEA RE AN D T H E AME RICAN tional values. Teag ue sifts through a range of Bowlby wants to use past and present in "a
that she had believed were "reserved" for her POPUL A R ST AG E co nte mporary newspape r rep orts, journ als and mo vemen t of mu tual rea ni mation". She largel y
mother. Inveterate hoarders ("Were objects, in 221pp . Cambridge University Press. 48 letters, constructing a lucid account of Shake- succeeds in giving us engrossing and enriching
their eyes, more importa nt than their daugh- (paperback, 17.99). speare's emerging status as a national icon with- re-readings of Freud and his texts of reference.
ter?"), Flems parents have left her with an 978052 1 86 1878 out losing sight of individ ual responses to his She is not uncritical, especia lly of Freud ' s
inheritance that feels alarmingly unsanctioned. work. She considers the role Shakespeare famous baftle ment about what women want.
played in the formation of socia l identity
Though legally the inheritor, she feels like an
impostor. Flem linds violence in the verb
"emp ty", likening the process to gutting a lish.
T he first Shakespeare play performed in
America seems to have been Richard Ill,
which was staged in New York in 1750. It had
through events such as P. T. Barn um's attempt
to buy and transport Shakespeare' s birthplace,
But she is able to read such problematic notions
as "castration" in a contemporary context
which does not simply dismiss them - which,
She wishes for a more precise inventory and been a cent ury and a half since Spanish settlers the rioting of 15,000 working-class men outside on the contrary, unfolds the possibility that cas-
allotment, a "bequeathing" rather than an "inher- had first put on the work of Lope de Vega and a a New York theatre and the assassination of tration points to a lack of wholeness central to
itance". "The passing down from one gene ra- hundred years after the French performed Abraham Lincoln by a Shakespearean actor. every thinking person' s sense of the human con-
tion to the next should not be done wordlessly, Corne ille' s Le Cid. Yet despite the lateness of From here, Teague switches abruptly to a dition. Freudian Mythologies belongs to a
it should be a choice", she concludes. Shakespeare's arrival in America , the following consideratio n of Shakespeare and the Broadway renewed interest in Freud as analyst of our civili-
In sorting through the fragments, Flem lifteen years saw approxi mately 500 perfor m- musical. In this linal section of the book, Teague zation who, for all that is dated in his work,
encounters evidence of family members mur- ances of his works and the mass proliferation of abandons the metaphor of the "screen" for that remains an indispensable thinker in the under-
dered by the Nazis - a legacy her parents had domestic memor abil ia such as busts, medal- of the "bear d", arguing that Shakespeare' s pres- standing of modern identity.
always been reluctant to mention. ("One can lions and, in one case, a Macbeth-them ed chess ence in musicals functions to mask the subver- P ET E R B RO O KS
ne ver put into wo rds w hat we we nt throug h", set. In the first half of her lively and well- sive challenging of ethnic or sexual boundari es.
her mother used to tell her.) In so doing, she researched study, Frances Teague sets about The scope of her research is certainly impres-
reca lls the damaging effects that this silence unravellin g the reaso ns for the dramatist' s early sive: over twenty musicals are assessed, from
Science
wrought on her, and contemplates other geno- absence from the colonial stage before scrutiniz- Mr Hamlet of Broadway (1908) to Bombitty of David J. Linden
cides, emphasizing the importance of confronta- ing the nature of his appeal to pre- and post- Errors (1999). The discussion feels discon- THE ACC ID EN TA L MI ND
tion, com memoration - and patience: "it needs Revolutionary Americans. nected from preceding material on Shakespeare How brain evolution has given us love,
time for their dead to become dead" . Thou ght- Central to Shakespea re and the Ame rican in a colonial and post-Revolutionary world, memory, dreams, and God
fully rende red by Elfreda Powe ll' s translation, Popular Stage is the argument that Shakespeare however, and might have worked better as a 236pp. Belknap Press. 13 .40
The Final Reminder is more than one woman ' s functioned as a "silhouette artist's screen, both study on its own. Despite this, Shakespea re and (US $25.95.)
personal catharsis: it is a moving and consoling displaying England and projecting American the American Popular Stage is industriously 978 0 674 02478 6
med itation relevant to anyone who has ever con- emotio ns about England". During the Revo lu- researched and frequently illuminating: a useful
contribution to American studies, and to the
templated loss - and what it really means to
grow up.
T OBY LI CHTI G
tion, for example, British forces staged the
plays as a means of reinforcing a sense of
national identity and promoting the power of
study of Shakespeare in performance.
HELO'iSE S E N E CHA L
D avid J. Linden believes that the brain is
like an ice cream cone - and a triple scoop
at that. Evolution has only been able to add to

TLS JUNE I 2007 - 30 -


IN BRI E F

what's already present, lumpin g new llavours ignorance of the war and a reluctance to draw rate acco unt doe s not gras p the bleakness of politik and domestic horse-tradin g that moti-
on to old. We embody the vagaries of our grad- seve ral rather elementa ry distinctions. Eva ns war". I read her extraordinary book in consterna- vated them , seem to be largely off the radar.
ual and inadvertent design : phylogenetics, as it may dress her point up by quoting part of a sen- tion, angered by what she describes, distressed McGrath has prod uced a finely drawn study of
were, is ou r history. tence from Harold LasweIl' s Prop aganda Tech- by my own help lessness. On such a reaction, psyc hologica l and cu ltural miscommunication ,
In The A ccid ental Mind , Linden ' s prose niques in the World War but surely she knows the luxury of the fortunate, Emcke quotes O vid: but not eve ry story is explicable in terms of
wobbles a little - it can be dry and pron e to that there was a good reason why " the Ger mans "qui lacriment, desunt" - "whoever weeps is these relatio nships.
jargo n, and elsewhere is marred by clum sy were never able to efface the intial impression not here" . J ONA THA N D O R E
chumminess - but it is generally intelligent and that they were the aggress ors" : they invaded KA T E M cLOU GHLI N
clear. Linden gives a good account of why our Belgium. The Canadi an Patriotic Fund distrib- Literature
ner vous syste ms predispose us to esca late vio- uted funds to bereaved mothers and wives and Anthropo logy
lent con l1icts (we tend to assume that the other thus bears a superficia l similarity to the funds An n Rad cliffe
person is the aggressor). He suggests that reli- dispersed by Saddam Hussein durin g the Melanie McGrath GAS TON D E BLO ND EVILL E
gion is a side-e ffect of our inbuilt tend ency to Second Intifada. But Evans should be able to T HE LO NG E X ILE Edited by Frances Chiu
con fabu late (but then rapidl y retreats, fearful of distinguish between those who supported an A true story of deception and surviva l 257pp . Chicago IL: Valancourt. $ 17.95;
alienating a fundamenta list audience). He army that fought to liberate France and amongst the Inuit of the Ca nadian Arctic distri buted in the UK by Bertram's.
argues persua sively that ou r brains are wonder- Belgium on the battlefield and those who sup- 288pp. Fo urth Estate. 16 .99. Paperb ack, 10 .99.
ful "kludges" - perfect examples of what millen- port blo wing up pizza parlours tilled with civil- 978 0 007 15796 9 978 0977784 103
nia of small changes can achieve in the total ians. By placing a letter, which mayor may not US: Knop f. $24.95. 978 I 40004047 6
absence of ove rarching design princip les and
no ability to start afresh.
Linden ' s punches land most lightl y when it
have been writte n by Abra ham Lincoln, in
which he tells a Mr s Bixby that his words
cannot red uce her pain at ha ving lost live sons, T he long exile of Melanie McG rath ' s title is
one that, for many of its victims and their
A nn Radcl iffe' s last novel, Gaston de
Blondeville, was publi shed posthumo usly
in 1826 and has been overlooked since then .
comes to his belief that studyi ng the brain can immediately ahead of the story of Naima descendants, still appli es. Although the Inuit Radcliffe rose to literar y fame with The
teach us about the mind. The chapter on sleep ai-Abed, who rej oices in her son' s joining families who were relocated in 1953 from the Mysteries of Udo lpho (1794) and The Italian
provides lots of neuroph ysiologica l detail, for Hamas, Evan s implies the unimaginab le: tundra of Ungava , in northern Quebec, far north (1797), both of which sea led her position as
exa mple, without tellin g us anythin g really that Lincoln wou ld have appro ved of Hamas to Devon and Ellesmere Islands are now able the high priestess of the pop ular Goth ic genre in
impo rtant about the heart of its mystery. Some and its tactics. to return to their homeland , a large numb er of the Rom antic age . The aim of the Valan court
other topics are handl ed no better. Take this N AT H AN GREE NF IELD them have remained in that northern polar press (taking its name from Valan court , the
fact: "A rtificia l electrica l stimulation of a male desert. Th is particular reloca tion, which hero in Udo lpho ) is to reintroduce readers to
monk ey' s medial preoptic area will ca use it to Journalism became a Canad ian nationa l scanda l when its rare novels from the eighteenth and nineteenth
mount a nearb y female". Th is tells us some- history o f coe rcio n, lies and brok en promises centuries. Incl uding the so-ca lled "Northanger
thing about the molecular basis of sex without Carolin E mc ke was re vealed in an ex plos ive series of No vels" - various Gothic romances that
really deepenin g our appreciatio n of it. Even if EC HOE S OF VIOLE N C E public hearings in 1993, was part of a succes- Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austen' s No rthange r
we unders tand the ce llular basis of an experi- Letters from a war repo rter sion of geopolitica lly and commercially Abb ey (1818) gives to the gullible Catherine
ence, we may learn noth ing of real interest. List- 340pp. Princeton Unive rsity Press. 15.95 moti vated movements of Inuit peoples aro und Mo rland to read - the list now includes several
ing the neurotransmitters underlying passion (US $24.9 5). the Arctic between the late 1930s and early 60s. titles that expand our unders tanding of the
will not deepen our capacity for love. Know- 978 069 1 12903 7 The story has been told before, in the Royal fantastic genre .
ledge and wisdo m, at least in neurol ogy, are far Commiss ion report that followed the hearings, Gas ton continues the themes o f aristocratic
from being one. arolin Emckes intense desire to make and in academic studies by Alan Marcus
The majority of this book is an enjoya ble neu-
roscie nces primer for the general reader. Evo lu-
C words convey what she has seen gives
Echoes of Violence the force of an explosive .
and by Frank Teste r and Peter Kulchyski;
but McGrath ' s is the first acco unt for a wider
cor ruptio n, religious repression and the law' s
injustices that are found in The Itali an. Set in
the reig n of Henr y Ill , the story ce ntres on
tionar y and psyc hologica l perspectives provi de Haunted by the inadequacy of language, the reade rship. Hugh Woodreeve, a Bristol merchant , who
occas ional insights about the mind, but mostly reporter for Der Sp iege l turned from "tradi- As in her earlier book , Silvertown , the multi- accuses Henr y Ill ' s favourite knigh t, Gaston de
the subject here is the organ capable of conj ur- tional news cove rage" to emailing friends, find- generational story of an East End family, Blondeville, of the robbery and murder of
ing it into exis tence. Linden makes clear that ing a genre that allowe d her "to combine diffe r- McGrath uses family relationships as the bed- Woodreeve' s friend. Wood reeve is imprisoned
the physical substra te of our men tal phenomena ent form s of narration". Travelogues, rell ec- rock of her narrative. The chief strength of The in Kenilworth Castle and unjustly tried for
- the squidgy and haphazard mass of our brain tions on hum anity and political analysis Long Exile is the imaginative sympathy with sorce ry and sedition.
- is a gloriously evolved mudd le. buttress each other in the effort to overcom e which she recreates the interior lives of individ- Frances Chiu usefully context ualizes the
DRUt N BU RCH war's resistance to repre sentation. uals - principally the hunter and odd-job man novel' s theme of "wronge d innoce nce" in the
Little prob ably remains of the original emails Josephie Flaherty and his stepfa ther, the hunter light of the post-Revolutionary poli tics of the
here: they have been translated into and ou t of and sculptor Paddy Aqiatu suk - who have left 1790s . She arg ues that the representation of
Socia l Studies Ger man and "prepared for publication" . Hesi- behind almost no words of their own and whose Gasto n as French, and suppo rted by an arbitrary
Suza n ne Evans tant and traumat ized-sou nding in each section personalities are give n shape only in the memo - legal syste m, rellects the critique of the
MOTH ERS OF HERO ES , MOTHERS at first, Emcke' s voice grows louder and more ries of their familie s, whom McGrath inter- establishment by radical thinkers and writers
OF M ARTYRS con fident: the origi nally private "letters" viewed. And by reimagining the unspoken like Mary Wollstonecraft, Will iam Godwi n,
World War One and the polit ics of grief become an unmistakably public correspond- undercurrents to the conversations in which Thomas Paine, John Thelwall and Vicesim us
211pp . McG ill-Qu een ' s Unive rsity Press. ence. This is fortunate because their contents Aq iatusuk was persuaded to leave his home Knox. Reacting agains t Edmund Burke' s
US $34.95; distribu ted in the UK by are something everyone should hear. and trave l to an unkn own land, McGrath also defence of aristoc racy and chivalry following
Combined Academic Publi shers. 21. 99. The sections cove r Emcke' s trips from 1999 skilfully illuminates some genera l truths the French Revolution, liberal refo rmers
978 07735 3 188 8 to 2003 to Kosovo, Lebanon, Nicarag ua, Rom a- about the tortuou s system of social dynamic s espo used the theory of the Nor man Yoke,
nia, New York , Pakistan, Afg hanista n, Colom- and expectatio ns between Inuit and white whereby the Normans had destroyed the ega li-

C ross-cultural studies can be revealing; Jay


Wint er' s Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourn -
ing : The Grea t War in Euro pea n cultura l his-
bia and Iraq . Not all her visits are to active war
zones: her subject is human misery. She
describes it with a scenic techn ique, creati ng
Canadians .
McGrath is less at home with the historical
background that wou ld give her hum an drama
taria n gove rnme nt of the Saxons and robb ed
Britons of their rights. As Chiu sugges ts, "the
crimes of Gas ton, robber-cum-baron, in other
tory (1995) being, perhaps, the most relevant compo site pictures of victims and victims- some wider context. A brief paragraph on the words, correspond to those of William the Con-
model for a consi deration o f Suzanne Ev anss turned-perpetrators. In one passage, she writes ex ploration of the Nort h-West passage contains queror". Political writers reso rted to Gothic
exa mination of mothers, mo urnin g and Canada about her need to disbelieve, when she is shown various fact ual errors, and refe rences to the pre- tropes in order to attack the aristocracy, Church
- not least becau se Evans appears unaware of a 4 1/2 by 2 II2-foot cell in which a Hezbollah history and migrations of the Inuit and their and monarchy. W ith reformers and their sup-
W inter ' s book. Neve rtheless, parts of her argu- memb er has been detained for six month s. predecessors are also unreliable. More problem- porte rs imprisoned simply for meet ing toge ther
ment - how Ca nadian mothers recapitulated the Unable to bear this information, Emcke dis- atic is the thinness of explanation given to the under the Seditious Meeting Act (1795 ), the
ritua ls of ancient Maccabean mothers who sacri- tracts herself by turning professional, entering Canadian poli tical background that led to the Gothic novel' s image ry of tyrants imprisoning
ficed their sons for their holy beliefs, how " In the cell to feel its dim ension s. "More?" she policy of relocations in the lirst place. There is voices of dissent held ob vious appea l.
Flanders Fields" sanctified the dead and called asks, holding the reader's face to the horror, little sense of how this policy arose from the In this scholarly edition, with a selection of
the living to catch "the torch", and the rhetoric knowing that there is a limit to what some of us long Canadian ambivalence about its Arctic pos- co ntempo rary reviews and extracts from vari-
and design of Commonwealth Graves - fit can take - knowing, too, that others have no sessions and the varie ty of internatio nal pres- ous key refor mist players, Gas ton de Blonde-
nicely within Winter' s argument that the First choice in the matter. sures that have been exe rted on its claims of sov- ville supports the recent opinion that
World War led to a revival of trad itional reli- Though she deli vers searing, unforgettable ereignty there. The personal and party rivalries Radcli ffes narrative politic s are more radica l
gious and aesthetic modes of remembrance. depiction s, Emck e is left with "a feeling of fail- of the politicians who gave the original orders, than has previously been considere d.
Other parts of Evanss book d isplay both ure, of emptiness, because eve n the mo st accu- and the consideratio ns of intern ational real- MAX F IN CH ER

- 3 1- TLS J UNE I 2 0 07
LITERARY CRITICISM

She give s close attention to early drafts of his

First through Kiev works, and finds that in most cases they are more
Ukrainian in outlo ok than the publi shed texts.
She mai ntains that the various editors of Gogo!' s
collected works, being ma inly Russian , ha ve
n 1844 a frie nd asked Gogol whether he GEOFFREY A . HOSKING St Petersburg as the natural con seq uence of misunderstood some of the most important

I was a Ukrainia n or a Russia n. In a much


quoted letter , Gogol replied: "Two natures
are unit ed in me: that of a khok hlik and that of
E dy ta M . Ba j anaw sk a
comparing mode st pro vincial Dikan 'k a with
one of the largest and mo st cos mo po lita n cities
in the wo rld, a kind of anti- Herderian Baby lon.
unpubli shed fragm ents that survive in his
archive , and con sequentl y have grouped and
classified them in a way that obstructs under-
a Russian". (Khok hlik was an affec tio nate and NI K O LA I G OG O L In the Russian ca pital, the relat ively innoc uous standing of the evo lution of his ideas.
mildl y deprecat ory diminu tive that Russ ian s Between Ukrainian and Russian nationalism go blins of village Ukraine whic h Go gol had Her interpretat ion is not the who le story, of
used to den ote a Ukrainian.) He adde d touchil y, 424pp. Harvard University Press. 38.95 ev oked in his early stories becam e mon strou s co urse : Go gol was one of the first European
in an eg regio us non sequitur , " But tell me, am (US $59.95) diabol ic presenc es sucking the hum anit y out of write rs - he was soon followe d by Kierk egaard
978 0674 0229 1 I
I a saint? Can I rea lly see all my loathsom e the hord es trud ging along the Nevs ky Pro spect. and Do stoe vsk y - to sea rch for salvat ion
fau lts?". Th ere are two remar kable featur es Gogol never reall y got to kno w Russ ia' s ow n throu gh the anguished awa reness of imp erfec-
abo ut this exc ha nge . First, Gogol used a co l- spo ntaneo usly and with attrac tive humour. Tha t pro vinci al and rural c ulture : all he knew was St tion and sin. Bojanowska rem ark s at one
loqui al term to describ e his own native national - is why the wo rk was so popul ar. Its success and Petersbur g and its bureaucratic ambience. In his point that "th e author-narrato r gives lusciou s
ity, but not for that of the Russians. Second , he Gogol' s ambition dro ve him to settle in St novel Dead Souls he tran splan ted this world to concreteness to what Russi a is not, while he
evi de ntly regarded the question as con cern ing Petersbu rg, becom e a Russ ian (rath er than a the countrysid e, produ cing a grotesque satirical transfo rms into austere abstraction s what
not onl y ethnic identit y, but also his mor al stand- Ukrai nian) write r, and exto l the Russ ians as a and com ic masterp iece. It did not , however , Russia is" . Th is was true not onl y of Go go!' s
ing. Man y scholars have alread y adduced this peopl e with a miss ion to save hum an ity. But commun icate his driving visio n that Russia was nat ional obsess ions, but of his crea tive pro cess
letter as ev ide nce of Gogo!' s ambiva lent atti- what he found there appa lled him. Wh ereas destined to save humani ty. Wh en he atte mpted as a who le. He succeeded in par t becau se
tude to his own nation al identity, but Edyta M . oth er Euro pean capitals had their own "i mprint to achieve that miss ion in the sec ond part of of what he saw as his ow n failur e. Th is parado x
Bojano wska' s book N ikolai Gogo l: Between of nationality" , he rem ark ed that " in St Dead Souls he found the task beyond him and rather than discord ant national iden tity lies
Ukrainian and Russian nationali sm is the first Petersbu rg there is no character wha tsoever: burn ed his manu scripts. at the heart of his work. For a thorough and
act ua lly to eleva te this ambiva lence into a key foreigners who settled here ... no longer rese m- Bojano wska ' s study is the most thorou gh yet insightful study of Gogo!' s perpetual preoc cupa-
to und erstanding his wo rk. She makes a stro ng ble fore igners , and the Russian s in turn becom e attempted of Gogol's internally cont rad ictory tion with nat ion al ide ntity, ho we ver, there is
case. neith er one thing nor the other". Ac tually , this national identity, and it presents a cha llenging no better place to begin than with Edyta
Bojanow ska considers nationalism an on- perception was not so much a reali stic ima ge of and convincing portr ayal of his creativity. Boj ano wska' s book.
going project. Nationa l ident ity is thus not a
-------------------
~-------------------
fixed ca tegory, but a lluctu ating process, in the
course o f which one or more identities can
evolve side by side in the same pers on, in greate r
or lesser tension with each other. In that sense,
her work parallels that of Aleksei Mill er, the
From a Turin window
Russian scholar who has written persuasively rimo Levi , who died twen ty years ago, in IAN THOMSON ery. (It see ms he did not wa nt to go into his
of Russian and Ukrainian nationalism as two
altern ative "national projects" . Co nsistently with
this approach, Bojano wska considers that
P the sp ring of 1987, portr ayed his Ital ian
Jewish ances tors as unworldl y, scholarly
charac ters lost in idle speculation. In The
Alb erta C ava glian
fath er' s bank ing business, and grad uated,
instead , in civ il engi neeri ng from Turin.)
Acc ording to Cavaglion , his family profited
nation al identity can be mult iple or co mpound , Periodic Table (1975 ), his literary-scient ific N O TIZ IE S U AR GO N imm en sely from the sec ular liberalism that
that an individual can be both Scott ish and Brit- memoi r, they appear und er heavy disgui se, a Gli antenati di Prima Levi da Francesco Petrarca follo wed the Savoy ed ict. Records indic ate
ish, or Ukrai nian and Russian. The two (or more ) a Cesare Lombroso
mi xtur e of fictiona l elaboration and goss ip. Its that they owned at least fourtee n prop erties
nation al identities are not ju st superimposed on 149pp. Turin: Instar Libri. 12.
famo us open ing chapt er, "Argon" , chronicles in the Piedmon tese town of Bene Vagienn a.
978 8846 1 0083 2
one another , but may compl ement each other and their prob able descent from the Sephardim who The family bank , off the town ' s main square ,
interact with each other, since the definin g fea- had lled anti-Sem itic Cas tile in the fifteenth nego tiated deal s in prop ert y and gold, and was
tures of each nation differ from case to case. It is ce ntury. In about 1500 the Levis sett led in Pied- Though Lombroso was Je wish, his book the community' S financi al lifeblood.
not necessary, then , to decid e whether Go gol felt mont, "at the foot of the mountains" , a region An ti-S emitism and the Modem Science (pub - Yet, notes Ca vaglion , Catholi cs in post-
him sel f to be a Russian or a U krainian, but rathe r later ruled from Tu rin by the House of Sa voy. lished in 1894 , at the height of the Dreyfus Risorgim ento Italy had reason to fear the
to observe how both identities evo lved in his writ- For Alberto Cavagli on , the Piedm ontese liter- Affair ) scorned the singular appeara nce and liberal new age. Le vi' s family , typically for
ings and to trace the relat ionship between them. ary criti c and historian , The Periodic Table patholo gy of Jews, who were deem ed to be Piedmontese Jews at this sec ular hour , took
He was both an ethnic Ukrainian nationalist and rema ins one of the mo st darin g and orig inal unattractive and mor e pron e to suicide than ad vantage of the new Italian laws that abolished
an imperial Russian patriot, but the attempt to works of post-war Italian literature. Structured Cathol ics. As Cavaglion point s out , the book cleric al imrnunities and allowed Jew s to
hold together the two positions brought him aro und eleme nts of the periodic table ("Potas- was extre me ly inll uential. Bram Stok er, in purch ase ecclesi ast ica l es tates . Se veral of the ir
cont inual spiritual mala ise. slum" , "Nic ke l" ), the book gathe rs up an giving a Sem itic c urve to the va mpire's nose prop ert ies in Ben e Vagienna had formerly
Gogol was wri ting at a time whe n the dilem - ext raordinary range of writing , from detect ive in his novel Dracu la, not onl y betra yed his belon ged to the Church, and this bred resent -
ma s of Russ ian nati onhood were appro achin g liction to epic war narra tive to learned scie ntific xenophobia toward s the East European Jews men t locall y among the clergy. In 1888, a
thei r first maj or crux. Th e problem was that trea tise. "Argon " , with its und ertow of who had llood ed into Britain since the late mob desce nded on the Le vi bank apparently
Russ ia could only becom e a multin ation al romance, pro vides both a rnicroh istory of Pied- l 880s, but borro wed direc tly from Lomb ro sc ' s intending to lynch the owners. On e of the mob ,
empire and Europ ean great power by absor bing mont ese Jewry and an affectionate chronicle of biolo gic al approac h to crim inalit y, and the a tax coll ector kno wn as "Ce dulari us" (cedo la
a ll Ea st Slav s into Russian nation alit y. Th e crit i- Le vis forebears. In Notizie su Argon (" Re por t prejudice (ex presse d by Lombroso) that is Italianized Latin for "receipt" ), was also a
ca l perio d when the different disco urses of East on Argon " ), Cavaglion offe rs a fasci nati ng Judai sm was "una malatt ia soci ale" - a social priest. Th e mob was eas ily swayed by the
Slav nationh ood first clashed with one anot her gloss on "Arg on" and, along the way, celebra tes illn ess. Church ; a half-edu cated country priest had no
was the I830s - 50s. Taras Shevch enko pub - some o f Prima Levi' s more abstruse ancestors Lornb ro so is now ju stly discredited, yet he difficu lty in Whipping up anti-Jewish passion
lished his narr ative poem Kobrar in 1840 , in and relatives , among them the Piedmontese hist- was emblematic of newly enfra nchised Italian among the m.
Ukrainian, not Russia n, asserting a separate orians A rturo Jemolo and Arnaldo Mom igliano . Jewry at the mid -n ineteenth ce ntury. In 1848, In desperation o ver his family 's re sultant
Ukrainian cultural ident ity. Thi s was a cha l- Presid ing ove r this idio syncratic Jewish Ihe rulin g King of Sa voy, Carlo Alb erto, had insol ven cy, Mich ele Le vi later look his life .
lenge Russ ian states men could not count- wor ld, in Cavaglion ' s readin g, is the shadowy proclaimed the epo chal Edic t o f Emancip ation , (Lik e his gra ndson Primo Levi ninet y-nine
enance : the Russian projec t was inherently lig ure of Cesare Lombroso , In 1876, this self- which gra nted und reamed-of right s to the Jews yea rs later, he leapt to his dea th from an apart-
mul ti-ethni c and imp eri al , and to fulfil it styled "craniometrist" had fo unded in Tur in the in his dominions. The ghett os of No rthern Italy men t block in Turin.) In thi s po ignant cultural
Ukraine had to be part of Russ ia in the cultural new discipline of criminal anthropology. W ith we re dism antled, and ass imilation spread across study , Alb erto Ca vaglion open s a window on to
as we ll as the geog raphic and polit ical senses. the a id of cal ipers and cra niometry charts Piedmon t. Prima Le vi' s ancest ors were now a vanished wor ld of North Italian Jewry - its
In this view , Ukrainia n culture could not Lombroso tried to de fine the ex istence of a able to branch ou t into the pro fess ions, whereas derision , sorrows and persecut ions - and shows
becom e mor e than exotic rural folklore . "de linquent type" acc ording to physical ch arac- before emanci patio n the only care ers open to wha t a sec ular Jud aism was practised by Levi' s
Bojanowska' s stu dy places Gogol at the teristics . (Ha ndle-shap ed ea rs, prehe nsile toes them would ha ve been finance or the rabb inate. forebears. Toward s the end of his life, Primo
ce ntre of this historic contro versy. His first and oth er apis h stigmata we re all con sid ered Mich ele Levi , Primo Levi' s patern al gra nd- Le vi may ha ve felt a twin ge of remorse for his
published work, Evenings on a Fa rm near te lltale atavism s.) Levi' s father, who was born father, was among the first gene ration of North- dim inished faith. He was una voidably shaped
Dikan 'ka, offered unproblema tic Ukrai nian in Piedmont in 1878, kne w Lombro so and ern Italian Je ws to relinquish the traditiona l by Judai sm , a fter all, and ex pose d to its cultural
local colour, in the He rderia n sense, depl oyed frequented the crimi nologist's salon in Tur in. ghetto trades of mon eylending and golds mit h- tradi tion s from an ea rly age.

TLS J UNE I 2 0 07 - 32-


RE LIGION

t has long been a com mo np lace to spea k of ters from serio us contact with radical poli tical

I the V ictorian age as a peri od of religiou s


doub t. The arc h-Victorian Alfred Tennyson
famo usly intoned "T he re lives more fait h in
Lost faith in doubt and religious ideas.
The pictur e that e merges fro m Larsen ' s
biogr aph ical essays is one of religiou s doubt as
honest dou bt, / Belie ve me than in half the a phen om en on of adolescence in cultures as
creeds". A. N. Wil son ' s book God 's Funeral A NTHONY K E N NY to Christian apolo get ics, de live ring 4 ,292 lec- we ll as indi vidua ls. Th e plebeian rad icals
(1999) procl aim s on its dust jac ket that by the tures, preach ing 2,568 ser mons and publi sh ing ca ught the disea se at an ea rly stage : a striking
end of the nineteenth ce ntury, "a lmos t all the several best-sellin g books on Ch ristian evi- number of them recovered afte r a longer or
Timoth y L ar s en
great writers, artists, and intellec tuals had de nces . " I ca nnot live in a wo rld of co ld nega- shorte r illness and ende d their lives as
aba ndoned Christianity" . C R IS IS O F DO UBT tio ns", he wrote shortly befor e his death in a cha mpions of Chris tianity. Memb er s of the
Timothy Larsen , Pro fessor of Theo logy at Hon est faith in nineteenth-ce ntury Eng land pass age quoted by Larsen . " It is a won de r to me socia l elite , on the other hand , we re infe cte d at
Wh eaton Co llege, Illinois, sets out to show that 336pp. Oxford University Press. 60 (US $ 110). tha t other men can live in such a world. But I do a later stage with a more virulent form of Victo-
this view is one-si ded . In nineteenth -centu ry 978 0 19 928787 1 not co nde mn them for it. I onl y wis h that they ria n doub t, and never grew out of it in their
England there was, he claims, as much honest felt the satisfaction, the happiness, the thankful- lifetimes. The litera ry class as a whole had to
faith as honest doub t, and it was of equa l signifi- Lond on to wo rk as a journa list. Returnin g to the ne ss that I fee l in recei ving Christia nity. " wa it until the twentieth ce ntury to return to a
ca nce for its religious history. In orde r to sub- M idland s to write for a Leicester newspaper he Th e eru di tion tha t Coo per displayed, whe ther health ful zes t for reli gion .
sta ntiate his clai ms, he does not attempt to was appa lled by the pover ty he enco untered, as free- thinker or apologis t, is aston ish ing when Larsens thesis is intriguing , and suppor ted
present an array of intellectu als who retain ed and j oin ed the Charti st mo vem ent, edi ting a one reali zes tha t it was all self-a dministe red. with a wea lth of eru dite ev ide nce . There is
their faith throu ghou t their lives. Instead , he number of its publi cation s. A fiery speec h he But this fits into a pattern whic h Larsen weaves indeed somet hing attracti ve in the idea that
focu ses on a very part icular gro up : men who, made to striking workers in Hanley led to ars on skilfully thro ugho ut his book . Sce ptica l ideas, the reco nverted should be give n equa l time with
having lost their faith and then been ac tive in and cri mina l dama ge, and he was co nvic ted of he ma intains, influence d wor king-c lass rad icals the apo states, eve n though , as Larsen ca ndidly
pro pagatin g secularism, later recon vert ed to sedi tious conspiracy and im priso ned for two lon g be fore they began to infect the academical ad mits, the fact that A and B we re believers
one or ot her form of Christia nity. A ll of them years fro m 184 3 to 1845. e lite. Several of these men had imbibed materi- while Y and Z we re athei sts is simply an ite m of
were self-taught plebei ans , and most of them Extensive readin g in priso n turned him into alism fro m d'H olba ch' s System of Nat ure . Tom histor y which cannot be used to arg ue in fav our
were politica l rad icals. The book present s chap- a religiou s sceptic, and on his release he ea rned Paine ' s The Age of Reason had made the m either of reli gion or irreli gion . But co nside red
ter-len gth biograph ies of seve n suc h men: W il- his living for seve ral yea rs as a highl y popul ar fam ilia r with the argume nts later used by bibli - simply fro m the historical po int of view , ca n it
liam Hone, Frederic Rowland Youn g, Thomas sec ularist lectur er , describ ing him self as an cal critics to show the inconsistencies and serio usly be claimed that those Victorians who
Cooper, Joh n Henr y Gordon , Jo seph Barker, " unfettered thinker and plai n spea ker for Truth, absurdi ties in the Old Te stament. The Oracle of lost faith in their doubts are as sign ifica nt as
John Bagnall Bebb ington and George Sexton . Freedom, and Pro gress" . He lectu red on an enor- Reason, an atheistic jou rna l, had been propound - those who conti nued to doubt their faith? No ne
Th om as Coo per (1805- 92 ), a Chartist, mou s numb er of topics , showing an envia ble ing a doctrine of evo lution for nearl y twent y of the perso nne l of Crisis of Doubt have left
appears the mo st rem ark ab le of the gro up. The gras p of co nte mporary learnin g. But soo n he years be fore Darwin wrote The Origin of wri tings that are rea d today by anyone exce pt
son of a poor widow of Leicester, he read vora- became as disillusioned with secularism as he Species. Cooper him self was one of the first histori an s of religion . Bu t many peopl e tod ay,
ciously as a child. Con verted to Meth od ism , he had been wit h Chri stian ity, and in 1865 he Engl ish readers to master George Eliot's transla- with no specia list inte rest in history and no reli-
was app ren ticed as a shoe maker, but at the age astonished a London audie nce who had tion of Strausss critical Life of Jesus . By con- gious or anti-re lig io us axe to grin d, still read
of twe nty- three set up a school in Gainsboro ugh ex pec ted a lectur e on Swe de n with a homil y on trast, the middl e-cl ass intellec tua ls who becam e with pleasure and pro fit the wor ks of Geor ge
with the aim of teach ing Lat in to the working " the existence of a div ine moral gove rnor". He famou s for their loss of fait h had in the ir you th Eliot , Ar thur Hugh Clough , Matth ew Arnold,
classes. This was not a success, and he we nt to became a Bapt ist and devoted the rest of his life been prot ected in do mestic and aca de mic she l- Henr y Sidgwick and Leslie Steph en .

2 Members of Education
Honours Committee
Applications ar e invit ed for 2 appointm ents These positions are unpaid . Reasonable e xpenses
to the advisory committee chaired by Dame for attendance at meetings will be available.
Alexandra Burslem which makes recommendations Further information and an application
to th e Main Honours Committee for awards
form can be down loaded from
t o people working in the Education Sector. http ://www.honours.gov.uk
We ar e looking for 2 candidates, o ne of whom
sh ould have a deep understanding of the w orld Or you can ca ll The Cab inet Offic e, Cer emonial
of scholarship. Secretariat on 020 7276 208 1.
Members of honours committees advise on the The closing date for applications is 29 June. A sift
app ropriateness of th e awa rd of hon ours t o meeting w ill be held on 9 July and int e rview s wi ll
people suggested by members of the public, take place on 20 July.
government departments and professional bodies. The Cabinet Office is committed to a policy of eq ua l
The individuals should be people with considerable opportunities. Applications are parti cularly welcome
expe rie nce of and cre dib ilit y within th e world of from wo me n, minorit y ethnic and disabled candidates
education and scho la rship and be able to act who are under-represented at this level in public life.
with independ enc e. Although these appointments do not come
The Education committe e meets twice a year to within the remit of the Commissioner for Public
conside r nominations for New Ye a r and Birthday Appointments, they are being made using
Honours. There may occasionally be a need for a process which takes into account the
more meetings. Commissioner's Code of Practice as be st practice.

o
- 33- TLS J UNE I 2 0 07
UNIVERSITY AWARDS &
APPOINTMENTS FELLOWSHIPS

Prince Fahad Bin Sultan University, Tabuk, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia B. 11. BRESLAUER FOlJNDATION
(With Technical Assistance from the American University of Beirut)
The Foundation's Board of Directors now
is seeking qualified faculty in the following fields:
accepts requests for grants from institutional
a. English Language, Applied Linguistics, TEFLlTESLlTESOL libraries to help fund major acquisitions oC
Minimum qualification: M.A.; high level of spoken and written English; and teaching experience manuscripts, printed books and bookbindings,
(preferably some experien ce in the Middle East). B.A. holders will also be considered for the
Applications for grants to m ake spe cific a cquisitions can be made by
Orientation Program Unit (pre-Freshman) with a minimum teaching experience of three years. corresp o n d en ce or e-m uil, nn d urgent request s ll1uy e ve rt h e rnade h y t elephone .
They ehou ld h e ac co mpan ie d b y a s mu ch rele van t documentarion H ~ possihl e
b. Director for the Intensive English Program: Ph.D. in English Language. Applied Linguistics. or
o n The d esi re d a cq u isi tio n, as well a s p rec ise in formatio n on pr ovenance and
TEFUfESUfESOL price. Be cause of the n ature of the rare boo k market a n d the auction process,
Would consider an MA holder in th e same fields with extensive teaching and administrative th e o ffice rs of th e Found ation realize th a t effect ive d eci sions oft en n eed to h e
experience mad e p rom p tly. Unde r :i ll y ci rcums tances, thei r d ecis ion will be final .

T h e Founda tion is u pri va te churituhlc fou nd a tion under See ;:)01 (c) (3) of (h e lu tcr n al
Salaries and Benefits
Rn'l :TlUC Code. [1::; ma in purp('::;': is to ma ke riist ri hu tion s to libruri es domiciled ill t he
Salaries are competit ive and commensurate with qualifications. Benefits include housing. annual round U n ited Slfll..,<; a n d to LJ.S . af fili ntes o f fo rei g n i ns rit tuio ns IhM co netit ute 'Ch a rrta hle
trip travel , medical insurance. and settling allowance, (I rgaru ze tions' u nder t he In te r n al Hcvon u e G 1d c.

Contact C orres po n d e nce address: E-mail a d d ress:


IVIm 8 . Hoscnblum , se cr et ary Hre:slau erFD .'1@att .n et
Applications must include a letter of interest. teaching. research. and service statement s. complete
4:44 Park Avenue So u th . 7 th Hoor Telephone, +33-6-22 ,0"",75,80
curriculum vitae. and the names. e-rnails, and addresses of at least three profession al references. NewYork, ;\'Y 10016 F elix de Marez Ov ens, president
Interested candidates should send their applications to the following address by mid-June 2007:

Regional External Programs, American University of Beirut, P.O.Box 11-0236, ACCOMMODATION HOLIDAYS
Riad El-Solh, Beirut 1107-2020, Lebanon. .l\latllre author and insomniac painter (without Rome - historical centre - onc bedroom apart-
TellFax: +00961-1-748539, e-mall: ma53@aub.edu.lb paint) seck peaceful two-bedroom flat in Central ment available for short term rental. Images on
London for fortniglH ill lall: June. 020 R946 mO l http://www.paulahowart h.net

ONLY SHORT-LISTED APPLICANTS WILL BE CONTACTED


BOOKS & PRINTS SUMMER SCHOOLS
BOOKFINDlNG SERVICE Synge Summer School July 1-7 2007
CONFERENCES Out-of-print titles. All subjec ts.
Visa and Ma sterCar d welcome.
Rathdrum, County Wicklow, Ireland
Lecturers inclune Hen l evita s, Flon a .'YIclntos h,
Books are willingly mailed overseas. Ar-na Mc Mu l:,l 'l, Anlhon y Rod-e, A nn Sarldlpmye f, etc
Barlew l\loor Books, 29 Chur chwood Road Poe try Reading : Eava n Bola nd 8<Drama wo rksho p

t3~ University of Didsbur y, Manchester M20 6TZ


Te l: 016 1 4345073 Fax : 0161 448 2491
f'ur:he l iniOllnd:io n:
www_wicklmvJ e! sYflge su mm erscho ol

rt1f:J BIUSTOL e-m al l: hooks @ha r lowm oorhooks.com Co ntac t: svng csummc rsc hcolesiolfre e.re

Conferences organised by the Faculty of Arts for June/July 2007: BOOK FAIRS
Saturday 30th June 2007
The Instit ute fo r Garde n and Landsc ape History
London's leading Rare and Collectible Book Fair
'The laurel, the palms and the paean' - Gardens of the Aesthetic Movement'
http:// www.ga rdo nhisto ryinstit uto .c o.ukjovc nts .html Sunday 3rd - Monday 4th June
Sunday 1st - Tuesday 3rd July 2007 12 noon to 6pm
Departme nt of Philoso phy
Free Admission
'Perception, Action and Consciousness: Sensorimotor Dynamics and Dual Vision'
http:// www .bris.ac.ukj p hilosop hyj depart mentjeventsj PAC_c o nferencej ind ex.ht mIjCo nferenc e.htm
Rare and collectible books, prints, maps and ephemera on all subjects
Monday 9th - Tuesday 10th July 2007
The Russell Hotel, Russell Square, London WCt
Centre for th e Histo ry of M usic In Brita in, th e Em pire and the Com mo nw ealt h (CHOMBEC )
'Music, cultural history and the Wesleys' Organised by the PBFA. Tel: 01763 248400. E-mail: inja@l,bja .org
htt p:! j www .bris.ac.u kj m usicjw esleyconferen ce200 7j
Wednesday 11th - Saturday 14th July 2007
Organised by th e University of Bristol and th e University of th e West of England
'Defining the British world '
Coming up in the TLS...
htt p,'j www .uw e.ac.ukjh lssj histo ryj br itishw o rld 2007j index.sht m I
Tuesday 17th - Thursday 19th July 2007
Institut e of Greece, Rom e and t he Classical Trad ition
8th June
The 5th Marks Conference 'Ruins and Reconstructions: Pompeii in the Popular Imagination'
http:!j www .bristol.nc .ukjartsjb irthnjconfo ronccsj po mpc iij indc x_ htm l
University Presses
Thursday 26th - Sunday 29th July 2007
Centr e for Romantic Studies
15th June
~A R SjN ASS R 20 07 Conference
'Emancipation, Liberation, Freedom'
Science
http:// www .bris.ac .ukj romanticst ud iesjeve ntsj2 00 7_bnr s_ nassr_c o nfe rence .ht ml
22ndJune
Supported by the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts
(BIRTHA) http://www.bris.ac.uk/arts/birtha/
Italy

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THIS W E EK 'S CONTRIB UTORS IN N EX T W E EK 'S
Tom Aitken ' s book, Blood and Fir e, proje ct s inclu ded a n Encyclop edia of Ball iol , Pr esid ent o f the Br itish Sameer Rahim wo rks at the Daily

TLS
Tsar and Com m issar : The Salvat ion the A rctic. Aca dem y a nd C hairman of the Board Telegrap h.
Arm y in Russia 190 7-1 923 , will be James Fergusson is Ob itua rie s Ed itor of the Br iti sh Li brar y. A mo ng his Matthew J . Reisz is Ed itor of the
publish ed thi s yea r. of the Ind ependent, He on ce sat o n th e recent bo oks are The Unkno wn Go d, Je wish Quart erly .
Phil Baker' s short history of Co m mittee of the A ntiquar ian 2004 , and What 1 Believe, published Oliver Re ynolds ' s mo st recent
psych ogeogr aph y, "Secret C ity: Book sell ers' Association. last year. co llection of poems is Almost, 1999.
Psych oge ogr aph y and the end of Max Fincher' s bo ok Queering David Lehman is the ed itor of The Sharon Ruston te ac he s at Keel e
London" , wa s pub lishe d in London Gothic in the Romantic Age: The Oxfo rd Book ofAme rican Poetry , Univers ity. S he is the author of
from Punk to Blair, 2003. penetrating eye is pub lished thi s publish ed la st year. Shell ey and Vitality, 2005 .
Peter Brooks teac he s Co m pa rat ive month. Angela Leighton is Se n ior Resear ch Heloise Senechal is the g los sing Bee Wilson
Literature at Yale Un ivers ity. Hi s N a t h a n M . Greenlield ' s new book, Fe llow at Trinity Co lleg e, Ca mbridge. editor of the recen tly p ub lished RSC
late st book, Henry Jam es Goe s to Bap tism of Fire : The Second Battle of He r mo st recent bo ok is On Form: Shakespeare . In the French
Paris, wa s published ea rl ier this ye ar. Ypr es and thefo rging of Canada, Poetry, aestheticism and the legacy of Da vid Sexton is Lit er ar y Ed ito r of the
Druin Burch is a ho spit al ph ysi cian April 1915, will be pu bli shed later thi s a word, publish ed th is year. Evening Standard. bread oven
a nd a te ach er at th e U nive rs ity of y ea r. Toby Li chtig is an A ssista nt Ed itor at Matthew Sturgis' s biograph y of
Ox for d . Hi s bo ok Digging Up the Clare Griffiths is a lecturer in the TLS. W aite r S icker t wa s pub lishe d in 200 5.
Dead: Uncovering the life and tim es Modern History at the University o f Caroline McGinn is a fre elan ce His Aubrey Beardsley: A bio graph y
ofan extraordinar y surgeon was S he ff ield, and the a uthor of Labour w riter li vin g in London . a ppe ared in 19 98. Richard
publish ed ea rl ier thi s year. and the Countrysid e, published thi s Patrick O'Connor wa s Consulting Bharat Tandon teach es at St A nne ' s
Stephen Burt' s second co llec tio n of yea r. Sh e is working on a biogra ph y of Ed itor to The Ne w Gro ve Dictionary Co llege, Oxfor d . H is book Jan e
Davenport-Hines
po ems, Parallel Play, wa s publish ed the Fa bia n Soc ialists G . D . H . and ofOpera , 19 98. A usten and the Morali ty of
in th e US last year. M ar ga ret Co le . Chris P atten ' s Not Qui te the Conversation wa s publishe d in 2003 .
Before Viagra
James Campbell is the author of a Tanya Harrod ' s Life of M ichae l Diplomat: Home truths about world Heather Thompson is wor ki ng on a
bio graph y of Jam es Bald win , Talking Ca rdew wi ll be p ub lishe d later thi s affairs was publishe d in 20 05. novel a nd w riting for the Daily
atthe Gate s, 1991 , and more recen tly year. She is the a uthor of The Craft s in
Britain in the Twentieth Cent ury,
Joe Phelan is Se nior Lecturer in Telegrap h. KateBrown
This is the Beat Generation, 1999 . Hi s E ng lish at De M ontfort Un ivers ity, lan Thomson' s biograph y ofPrimo
ne w book , Through the Grap evine : 199 9 . Lei cester. Hi s book on the nineteenth- Levi won the Royal So ciety of Literature Gulags
Essays and portra its, w ill be Geoffrey Hosking is Professor of ce ntury so nnet wa s publishe d in 2004 . W. H. Hein emann Prize in 200 3.
pub lishe d next year. Ru ssian Hist or y at Un iversity Co llege Hu Ping is chief editor o f th e N ew Clive Wilmer is a Fello w of S idney without guards
Michael Corballis is Professo r of London . H is mo st rece nt book is York-based C hine se -la nguage Suss ex Co lle ge, Cambridge. Hi s mo st
Psych ol og y at the University o f Rul ers and Victim s: The Russians in monthl y Beijin g Spr ing, and is a recent co llect io n of poem s is The
A uck la nd . His most rece nt boo k is the Soviet Union , publish ed last ye ar. member of the board of director s of Mystery ofThings, 2005 .
From Hand to Mouth : The gest ura! Roz Kaveney ' s book Teen D reams: Hum an Right s in C hina . H . R. Woudhuys en is Professo r of TLS/Foyles Poetry
origins of language, 2002 . Reading teenfilm and television from Andrew Porter is chief mu sic critic E nglish at Un ivers ity Co llege
Stephanie Cross hold s an MPhil in Heathers to Veronica Mars was of the TLS. Lon don . He is the author of Sir Philip Competition
C riticis m and C ulture from Selw yn publish ed last year. Michele Pridmore-Brown is a Sidney and the Circula tion
Co llege, Ca mbridge . Tim Kendall is Professor of Eng lish resear ch scholar at the Unive rs ity of of Manuscripts, 1558-1 640 , 1996. The judges' shortlist
Jonathan Dore is a form er atthe Unive rsity of Ex eter. He is Ca liforn ia, Berkele y. She is wor king Correction: Th e a uthor of Cairo
co m mi ssio ning ed ito r at FitZfOY w riting a study of Fro st' s po etr y. on a stud y of the bi op olitics of late Stor ies, reviewed in last wee k 's TLS,
Dearb orn Publ ish ers, wher e his Anthony Kenny has been Ma ster of fertility. is A nne- M arie Dr o sso , not G ro sso.

AUTHOR, A UTHOR 1,350 TLS CROSSWORD 697


Re ad er s are in vit ed to identify the be able to ident ify every car as it passed The se nder o f th e first correct so lution op en ed on Jun e 22
thr ee qu otation s wh ich foll o w , and by: Th om as Flyer, Firestone-Co lum bus, will rece ive a c as h prize o f 40.
to send the answ ers so that the y reach Steve ns Du ryea, Rambl er, Win ston , En tries sho uld be addre ssed to TL S C ross wo rd 697,
thi s o ffice no lat erthan June 22 . Whit e Steame r, etc. I never co uld. Th e Times Hou se , I Pe nning ton Street, Lo nd o n E98 IBS .
A pri ze of 25 is offered for the lirs t only ca r I was really interested in was The winner of Cross word 693 is John Garret t. Coventry.
correct e ntry opened o n th at dat e. one that the Ge t-Ready Man , as we
E ntries , mark ed " A uthor , Author ca lled him , rod e around to wn in: a big SO LU TI O N T O C RO SSW O RD 693

I ,350" on the enve lo pe , sho uld be Red Devil with a doo r in the back . F U G A R D A S N A P P E R

add resse d to the Ed itor , The TLS, 0 A 0 R E E H I


R E L I G I E tJ X S W A N N
Tim es Ho use , I Penningt on Street, 3 Fa the r resign ed fro m the service in
F A U V T I E G
Lon don E98 1BS. The so lutio n w ill 192 7, buthe ne ver had a civ ilian caree r; E X T R E M E U K R I D G E
ap pea r on Jun e 29. he instead had merel y twenty-t wo years I E M R S R D
T I A R A E M P y R E A N
of the civ ilian life. A lmos t immediately
S L N 0 U I
1 S ome wo rd s of thi s co nve rsa tio n he bou ght a larger and mor e stylish A D D E N D U M R 0 B I N
mu st ha ve reached Wil son , sw ay ing in hou se; he so ld his asceti c, stove-blac k V I M P A A F

the office do or , for sudden ly a new Hu d son and bou ght a plump bro wn I 0 N E S C 0 E C L o G U E
C M y R I R P R
them e found vo ice am on g hi s gas p ing Buick; later the Bui ck wa s exc ha nged
T H 0 L L E H U U I I I 0 N
cries : " Yo u don 't ha ve to tell me w ha t for a high-ton ed , as -goo d-as-new I N P L S D P A
kind of ca r it wa s! I k now what k ind of Packard with a custo m-de sig ned roy al M I T C H E L L S E W E L L

car it wa s!" blu e and mahogan y bod y. With out ACROSS


drama, his earnings more or less I Flower of Joyce' s creation (5) I Sulphurous marr iage of " Barbara Vine" (9)
2 Th e boys I we nt to school with used to decre ased from year to year. 4 Pullman' s sombre stuffs (9) 2 Hambu rger' s earth had none (5)
9 Drowned qu ality of Alien (9) 3 Premier choreograp her(9)
A NSWERS COMPETITION NO 1,346 10 He appear s in nearly all his ow n book s (5) 4 White' s solid Jungian symbo l (7 )
W INNER : JAMES W . THIRSK 11 Rila ' s so rt of o per a cOlllpo se r (5 ) 5 Mrs Le verson' xIlour (7 )
12 It was beaming in one eye of Dickens' s Mrs Todgers, while 6 What' s left of Robert Hillyer (5)
1 She va iled her eyelid s, who lik e Th e bar she lean ed on w arm .. ..
ca lculation was shining out of the other (9) 7 Its followers may be ex posed (9)
sluices stopped D ant e Ga brie l Ro ssetti, "T he Blessed
13 Her brother was urged to be true to himself (7) 8 Alone with new Greek poet (5)
Th e cry stal tide that from her two D am ozel ". 15 Belief in the voyage of Leviathan? (7) 14 Her mishap, perhaps, in Hudson ' s county (9)
cheeks fair 18 Stoats variously presented by Anouilh and Ruth Pitter (7) 16 " Hints were made of ment al - on his part" (Jac k London, The
In the sweet cha nnel of her bo som 3 At number five a ro sebush leans across 20 Very early poet, possibly from Macedon (7) I ro n He el ) (9)
dropped . ... the fenc e; wh ite b lo sso ms pinn ed to its 21 "My mother imagined he had stepped out for lint and - " 17 He "married on his whiskers, upon which property he had
W illi am Sha kespea re , Venus and full bosom (Sterne, Tristrarn Shandy ) (9) previously subsisted" (9)
Ad onis . ex hale sw eet perfume lik e co ld - 23 His work can be a bit of a trial (5) 19 Falstaffs sherry, with reservation, for old member of wind
cream. Ti ght bud s 25 Amer ican dramatist offers art icles about relatives (5) section (7)
26 Injured in war, he finds peace with his loving nurse (9) 20 Romeo noted that night' s were burned out (7)
2 A nd still she bo wed hersel f and of mem or y unfold , re sto re that seaso n
27 The ceremonies includ e second scurrilous Shakespea rea n 21 Purchase it, say (giving us possession?) (5)
stooped whe n I lived ca refree in m y mother ' s
character (9) 22 Some desires of Clark Blaise (5)
O ut of th e circl ing char m ; hou se . . .. 28 Not a ruthless ancestorof David (5) 24 Wi lkie Co ilins made him count (5)
Until her b osom mu st ha ve mad e Anna Ada ms, "Paradise Dismembered ".

- 35- TLS JUNE I 2007


TLS
Haunted technology
" Type Writin g is dead " , says Darren PHIL BAKER
Wershler-Henry, " but its ghos ts still
haun t us." Although he ske tches in the
Darr en W ershler-H enry
mech anic al evolution of the machine, and the
indu stri al world aro und it (including mass TH E IRO N WHIM
production, speed competitions - one of them A fragm ented history of type writing
featuring a young Northro p Frye, who came 344pp. !thaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
seco nd in a nat ional contest - and the victory of $29.95; distributed in the UK by NBN . 15.95.
9780 80144586 8
QWERTY over its more user-friendl y compe ti-
tor , the Dvorak keyboard), Wer shler-Henr y is
ne ver reluctant to leave the historic al nut s and gave his style "a sort of free, incantatory qu al-
bolt s beh ind. His larger interest is in the cultural ity". He seems to ha ve found the sound of a
and theoretical resonances of ty pe writing , and typewriter necessary to composition and a
he considers them in an impressively wide- comfort in itse lf, askin g to have one tapp ed as
ran gin g, virtuoso perform ance which often ha s he lay on his deathb ed ; as death grew clo ser , he
a rather Gothic air about it. dictated two lellers from Napol eon Bon ap arte. The Yost typewriter with extra-wide carriage (1915)
Unexpe cted app ear ances include Nietzsche, Wershler-H enr y comments that James' s ability
who compared him self to an ea rly typing to "ch annel " Napoleon is sym ptomatic of the tion. In Wershl er-Henry' s account, " insertin g a there was method in its madn ess. It was
machin e: "THE WRITING BALL IS A THING mod ern writer's relationship with a "ha unted typewrit er into the scene of writ ing" tran sform s intend ed to underline the difference between
LIKE ME: MADE OF IRON YET EASILY technology" , but it was trumped by his secre- dic tation, and speeds up the rate at which mach ines and non -metaphorical anim als,
TWISTED ON JO UR NEYS. / PATIENCE tary, Mi ss Bosanquet. Over the next coupl e of dictator and amanuensis "possess and con sume demonstratin g the peril s of analogy, the gap
AND TACT ARE REQ UIR ED IN A BUN- decades she recei ved dicta tion from James him - each other", an image lead ing him to cite betw een the ideal and the real , and the irreduci -
DANCE, AS WELL AS FINE FINGERS , TO se lf, via the Ouija board : " a kind of primitive ano ther academ ic comment ator , Jennifer ble otherness of oth er species. In the words
USE US. In a stylistically and thematically char- index-style typewriter de signed for receivin g Wick e, who asse rts that Dracula " is typew rit - of its de signer, Geo ff Cox , "monkeys aren ' t
ac teri stic moment, Wershl er-Henr y obser ves dict ation fro m beyond the grave". ing, and ty pe writing is vampiric". reducible to a random proc ess" .
that thi s poem mark s Nietzsches tran sform a- Bram Stoker' s Dra cula is notabl e for the Sooner or later, Wershlcr -Henry obser ves, Typin g monkeys belong in the idea mu seum ,
tion into " the fir st cybor g philo soph er" . way its ch aracters use what were then cutting- "anyone wr iting about typewrit ing has to deal and a larger air of "pastness" (in Fredric
Henr y Jam es was add icted to the proce ss o f edge technologies of typewri ting, ste nog ra phy, with the monk eys": the monkeys, that is, Jam eson ' s sense , dist ingui shin g it fro m the
dictation, which Mar shall McLuhan sugges ts Kod ak photo graph y and phonographic dict a- who will eve ntually produce the complete works actua l rea lity of living in the past) per vad es
;:::===================================::;-l of1909Shake speare. Th ey appear to deri ve from a
book on prob abilit y by the French math e-
The Iron Whim . Wershler-Henr y is nost algic
for the ty pew riter as an icon of " unalie nated
matician Emile Borel, who invented the ima ge mod erni st writing" , a tok en of a chime rica l time
of the "dactylographic monk ey" to illustrat e a "w hen things - in this case, writing - ' mea nt
math ematical propo sition named Kolmogoro v' s something :".
Zero -One Law. According to zero -one law, Having paved the way for the digital era,
Borel ex plained, a typewr iting monk ey would the typewr iter itself has now entered the realm
e ventuall y re produce every single book in the of simulation. Among the man y weird and won-
Bibli otheque nationale. Typin g monke ys ha ve derful thin gs achie ved by the "casemodding"
had their niche in the math ematical ima ginat ion community (whose computers resembl e toasters,
e ver since. Som etim es they reproduce the atomic bomb s, ant farm s and much more) some
Library of Con gress, and in a 1940 short story by case modd ers have chopped and cu stomi zed
Ru ssell Malon ey, " Inllex ible Logic " , the Brit ish their "plain vanilla" computers into retrof uturist
Library. Overh earin g a man ex plain that six typewriter s like the one s in Terry Gill iam ' s
ch impan zees would eve ntually write all the Brazil, or David Cronenberg' s lilm of Naked
book s in the Briti sh Mu seum , a Mr Bainbridge Lunch. One enthusiast has installed his computer
sets out to experiment. The experiment works into a 1924 Underwood and sampled the noise of
almo st too well, with the monk eys produ cing a working Underwood to make his machine
John Donne' s prose, the memo irs of Queen sound like the original , inviting the predictable
Marie of Romania and a mono graph on mar sh question from Wershler-Hcn ry: "does the word
grasses. It remains for his sobering mathem atical 'original' ha ve any place in this con text?"
friend, Mallard, to brin g him back to eart h: Loo sely organ ized , The Iron Whim is a
"These chimpanzees will begin to compose gib- scrapbook of interesting fragm ent s stuck
beri sh quite soon" , he predict s. " It is bound to togeth er with an appli cat ion of slightly tack y
happ en . Science tells us so." theor y, brid gin g cultural studies, secretaries as
More so beringly still, a physics profe ssor at cybor gs, and "ty pewr iting as discourse" . Onl y
Yal e, Will iam R. Benn ett , ha s calculated that if occ asionally does Darren W ershler-Henr y' s
a trillion monkeys ty ped ten random cha rac ters ex cita bly po stmodern enthusiasm for the sub-
a second, it would still take a trillion tim es ject ge t the beller of him , as in his offhand asse r-
long er than the uni ver se ha s been in ex istence tion , apropos of old type writer keys bein g made
ju st to produce the sentence, "To be or not to be, into bracelets and earrings, that the Victorians -
that is the que st ion". Mo ving from calculation that distant , mysteriou s tribe - liked to mak e
to ex periment, The Monkey Shake spea re Simu - the bon es of their dead into jeweller y.
lator , in existenc e since 200 3 with a hundred
monk eys typ ing at a vastly accelerate d speed,
Th e Times Lit arary Supplement Limit ed , 2007, Pub lished and lice nsed
ha s produced ju st ninete en letters fro m The Two for d istribut ion in elect ron ic and a ll ot her der ivat ive forms by T he Tim es
Literary Supp leme nt Limrted, Times House, 1 Penningl on Street,
Gentlemen of Verona after 42 ,162 ,500 ,000 bil- Lo ndon E98 1SS, Eng land. Te leph o ne 0 20-7 782 5000, w ithou t w hose
express permiss ion no part may be reproduced . Printed by N.I.N. Lld, Killing
lion bill ion monkey ye ars: "V alentine. Cease to Road , Prescot, Me rseyside , L34

Until 18 August 10 - 39.50 Idor:eFLPoFRjWK78aX z ... ". 2 2> ~~~di~~g~~~ ~g~b:r~~p~~n ~~i~~
Europe 1 40 , USA $1 69. Ca nada
An enter prising experiment that invol ved
02074523000 nationaltheatre.org.uk
$2 25 , ROW 165 , EUROPEAN
PRICES: Be lg ium 2 .8 5 , France
real monk eys produced eve n mor e confoundi ng 2. 8 5 , Ge rmany 4 ,20 , Greece
4. 2 0 , Italy 4. 0 0 , Nel herlands
results, not least becau se "th ey get bored and 4. 2 0 , Po rtuga l 3. 10 , Spa in
2. 6 5 , CANADIAN PRICES
they shit on the keyboard rath er than type " , but Toronto $5 ,20. Outside $5. 45

TLS J U NE I 2007 -36-