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Waiting for Something Unexpected

Sophie Pinkham: Gaito Gazdanov, 6 March 2014

The Spectre of Alexander Wolf 
by Gaito Gazdanov, translated by Bryan Karetnyk.
Pushkin, 167 pp., £7.99, November 2013, 978 1 78227 072 0
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... to achieve real fame. Others became successful writers with French names: Elsa Triolet, born Ella Kagan; and Henri Troyat, born Lev Tarasov. Troyat adopted the pseudonym at the suggestion of his editor, and went on to become the first Russian to be elected to the Académie Française. But many more writers were unwilling, or unable, to abandon their original ...

Cynical Realism

Randall Kennedy: Supreme Court Biases, 21 January 2021

... Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latinx on the Court, in 2009 by Barack Obama, who also nominated Elena Kagan the following year. Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were all nominated by Donald Trump during his single term in office.Before a nominee can take his or her seat on the court, they must be confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate. For ...


Brian Rotman: Fractals, 7 November 2013

The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick 
by Benoit Mandelbrot.
Pantheon, 324 pp., £22.50, October 2012, 978 0 307 37735 7
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... Institute of Advanced Study as an assistant to John von Neumann. A chance meeting with Robert Oppenheimer led to an invitation to talk about the Zipf-Mandelbrot law at the Institute. The talk fell flat, people fell asleep, and a distinguished historian of mathematics stood up and declared he hadn’t understood a word. Mandelbrot was paralysed, but ...

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount, 20 February 2020

... he has been more recently for the founders of American neoconservatism, the Yale classicist Donald Kagan and his sons Robert and Frederick, both of whom were influential in promoting the second Iraq War. And yet for the Founding Fathers of the United States, Hamilton and Madison in particular, Pericles was a warmongering ...

Depicting Europe

Perry Anderson, 20 September 2007

... has become a common coin of complacency. As the countdown to Iraq proceeded, the British diplomat Robert Cooper, special adviser on security to Blair, and later to Prodi as head of the Commission, explained the merits of empire to readers of Prospect. ‘A system in which the strong protect the weak, in which the efficient and well-governed export stability ...

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