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Strictly Technical

Aijaz Ahmad: India’s Far-Right, 19 March 2020

The RSS: A Menace to India 
by A.G. Noorani.
LeftWord, 547 pp., £33.75, September 2019, 978 81 934666 8 1
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Messengers of Hindu Nationalism: How the RSS Reshaped India 
by Walter Andersen and Shridhar Damle.
Hurst, 405 pp., £25, April 2019, 978 1 78738 025 7
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... helpfully includes a list of known affiliates that takes up two dozen lines of small print. Walter Andersen and Shridhar Damle – less helpfully – tend to repeat verbatim information given out by the RSS itself. According to them, the RSS has 36 affiliates and another hundred or more that it counts as its own but which don’t have official ...

Falling in love with Fanny

V.S. Pritchett, 5 August 1982

Memoirs of a Midget 
by Walter de la Mare.
Oxford, 392 pp., £3.50, May 1982, 0 19 281344 7
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... frisked a pampered mouse’ – a curdled Georgian sentence that leads one straight into one of Walter de la Mare’s most plain and chilling tales about a boy’s initiation into horror. The story is ‘An Ideal Craftsman’. In this genre he was a master – albeit a very literary master – of the riddles of sado-masochism, the dark underside of his ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar, 19 May 2016

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... Even relatively minor figures declined to come. Some came but soon left, like Hans Christian Andersen and Hoffmann von Fallersleben, author of ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, über Alles’. The exception was Franz Liszt, who spent thirty years in Weimar in all. He first appeared in 1841 and was soon offered the post of extraordinary Kapellmeister. He took ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... appropriately, with an imaginary novel, 1999: Casinos of the Third Reich, contrived by Kurt Andersen, an editor at Spy, a New York magazine of the 1980s and 1990s. Over several months in late 1989 and early 1990, Andersen kept referring to the non-existent Casinos of the Third Reich and its implausible ...

Kermode’s Changing Times

P.N. Furbank, 7 March 1991

The Uses of Error 
by Frank Kermode.
Collins, 432 pp., £18, February 1991, 9780002154659
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... Kermode: ‘opinion’, in the form of a felt need, on the part of Burne-Jones, Swinburne and Walter Pater, for a certain kind of early Renaissance art; ‘knowledge’ (that is to say, solid art-history), since Pater and co got a great deal wrong – for instance, the ‘cadaverous’ colour so admired by Pater in The Birth of Venus was merely the result ...

Fed up with Ibiza

Jenny Turner: Sybille Bedford, 1 April 2021

Sybille Bedford: An Appetite for Life 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 432 pp., £35, November 2020, 978 1 78474 113 6
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... Caroline Hastings in A Legacy is English, young, beautiful, rich and – ‘do forgive the Hans Andersen word, one can hardly use it at table’ – an orphan. She is also much in need of a hasty exit from an ill-starred attachment to a married man. Bedford’s actual mother was just as young and rich and beautiful and rakish, but German and with a German ...

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