Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kanan Makiya and the Death of Pluralism

That’s the hope I still have for Iraq — that it can rediscover its destiny as a richly various and pluralistic society, a meeting ground of all sorts of creeds and groupings. That’s the hope that sustains me. Kanan Makiya, … Continue reading

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Roman Tragedy: Lucio Fulci’s ‘Beatrice Cenci’

Guido Reni’s portrait of Beatrice Cenci retains pride of place at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Barberini, just off Piazza Barberini in Rome. It is a beautiful painting, but the old story that it was completed by Reni on … Continue reading

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On the Legacy of George L. Mosse

Past history is always contemporary.  George L. Mosse, The Nationalization of the Masses During the Berlin uprising of January 1919, the Spartacus League occupied the headquarters of Rudolf Mosse’s publishing empire, Mossehaus. Their aim was to stop the publication of … Continue reading

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Slaughter Commissions: Crime Films and the Italian Crisis

Mario Imperoli’s 1976 film Like Rabid Dogs opens with a brutal armed robbery that takes place in the bowels of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in the middle of a football match. The footage used to frame this scene is taken from … Continue reading

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‘Everyone Middle East is here’: The British in Iraq

The real difficulty here is that we don’t know exactly what we intend to do in this country. Can you persuade people to take your side when you are not sure in the end whether you’ll be there to take … Continue reading

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The Writing Racket: Balzac’s ‘Lost Illusions’

During his lifetime, Balzac’s debts were as famous as his novels and more widely discussed than his love affairs. Money was the great unifying subject of La Comédie humaine and the legal and moral dimensions of debt were an important … Continue reading

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On Marvin Gaye’s ‘Midnight Love’

In February 1981, Marvin Gaye moved to the seaside town of Ostend in Belgium, as a guest of the concert promoter Freddy Cousaert. This was a rescue mission for Cousaert, as well as an unmissable opportunity: a fan of Gaye, … Continue reading

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The Queen of Condé Nast

  I: Condé Nasties On the surface, Anna Wintour took public humiliation well. It was easier when The Devil Wears Prada was just a book, even if it was a New York Times bestseller and progenitor of an entire literary … Continue reading

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American Carnage: Sarah Palin’s Revolution

  I: Family  Sarah Palin was like a comet zooming across the American sky: out of Alaska, a blazing vision of the republic’s future. In the thick of this current political era, it is worth re-watching the first national speech that … Continue reading

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‘The Town Blazing Scarlet’: Swansea’s Blitz

They take you up on Townhill at night to see the furnaces in the pit of the town blazing scarlet, and the parallel crossing lines of lamps…If it is always a city of dreadful day, it is for the moment … Continue reading

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