Tag Archives: books

The End of the Gift of Language?

In November 2010 one of this country’s subtlest interpreters of French thought gave a lecture in the capital on Aristotle and his critics. Geoffrey Bennington’s rare London appearance was billed ‘Political Animals…’ but his actual topic was The Death of … Continue reading

Posted in American literature, Britain Today, French intellectuals, novels, postmodernism, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The genius of The Human Stain

Would they have given Philip Roth a Pulitzer prize for such an indictment of the state of America as his great novel, The Human Stain, turned out to be? It wasn’t published until 2000 but maybe it was in gestation … Continue reading

Posted in American literature, New York Intellectuals, novels, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

John Le Carré’s Legacy: Passion in Germany and the Maze of Betrayal

In possibly his last novel, A Legacy of Spies (2017) John le Carré, aged 86, has done what writers and artists long to do, not for their audiences but for the sake of their own soul. He’s found the perfect … Continue reading

Posted in Britain Today, Cold War, english literature, novels, Writing | Tagged , , , ,

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

Posted in A Shoe Story, Europe, German Literature, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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

Posted in english literature, novels, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment