Tag Archives: books

Adorno, the Frankfurt School and the Soul of Europe

No one who has read Theodore Adorno would have been surprised by last summer’s Charlie Hebdo cartoon when Amatrice, an Italian town otherwise known for its pasta sauce, suffered a fatal earthquake. The French magazine with its satirical pasta shapes … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Britain Today, Europe, Frankfurt School, German Literature, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Antonio Tabucchi’s novel of pessmism and measured hope set in Fascist Portugal

Pereira Maintains, by the late Italian writer Alexander Trocchi, is a minature masterpiece. It is as satisfying in its form as it is morally, and contemporary literature doesn’t offer so many chances to say this. A smash success in Italy … Continue reading

Posted in Anyone's Game - my latest novel, Literature in Translation, novels, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , ,

Victor Klemperer, the German-Jewish academic who chronicled everyday life in Hitler’s Germany

Victor Klemperer was a German-Jewish academic whose survival of the Hitler years made possible his unique and irreplaceable testimony. Through 1931-1945 he kept detailed diaries of daily life in Dresden. There were sketches of a few friends who became Nazi … Continue reading

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Why Pamela Hansford Johnson disliked Iris Murdoch

The two novelists met at a dinner-party in October 1961. It was the only time they met, and apparently Murdoch, the younger of the two, left no record of it. Johnson by contrast was full of venom: Iris is heavy, … Continue reading

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Thomas Mann, Freud and Music

Thomas Mann’s reputation as a writer rests on three or four great achievements. One was to have achieved the consummate novel of ideas.[1] In the quarter century after his death in 1955 this view prevailed.  The Magic Mountain  (1924) was … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, German Literature, Nietzsche in Turin, Philosophy and Philosophers, The Secret Artist A Close Reading of Sigmund Freud, Things German | Tagged , , , , , ,

Jocelyn Brooke’s ‘Drawn Sword’ — An English ‘Death in Venice’?

I was reading Jocelyn Brooke during a period of thinking again about an old love, the German genius Thomas Mann. Brooke is a serious-minded English writer from the mid twentieth century. He was a fine stylist, and with that went … Continue reading

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Did Nietzsche want Success?

                             Did Nietzsche want Success? Success is a judgement about how we relate to our own times. It is a synonym for victory over circumstances and other people, and in extremis other countries, those forces which might otherwise make us … Continue reading

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