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James McNamara

In 2013, US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich asked Australians to stop pirating Game of Thrones. A single episode of HBO’s gritty fantasy drama had been illegally downloaded over four million times, equalling the legitimate viewership of the program. ‘As the Ambassador here in Australia,’ Mr Bleich wrote, ‘it was especially troubling to find out that Austral ...

When we look back at the major cultural achievements of the early twenty-first century, The Sopranos (1999–2004) will surely prowl, thuggish, at the top of the list. Created by David Chase, the HBO drama tells the story of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss who tries to balance the violent demands of his professional life with a more quotidian existence as a father and husband in the suburbs. Tony’s treatment for panic attacks by the psychiatrist Dr Jennifer Melfi is central to the six seasons. Self-described as a ‘fat fuckin crook from New Jersey’, Tony Soprano is more than that: a multi-layered, deeply flawed, always fascinating creature of millennial capitalist America.

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American writer Gore Vidal was an intimate of political power. His grandfather was a US senator; his father served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Director of Air Commerce. When his mother remarried, to Hugh Auchincloss, Vidal obtained a descendant of Vice President Aaron Burr as a stepfather ...

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‘I am back again in London and smothered in work.’ Volume Three of T.S. Eliot’s letters opens to the poet working ‘hours [that] are long and late’, ‘under great pressure’ as a newly appointed professional editor and publisher. Eliot resigned from Lloyds Bank in late 1925 to join the board of Faber and Gwyer. The publishing house bought part of the Criterion, the literary periodical that Eliot produced alongside his banking job, and reissued it in January 1926 as the New Criterion, with Eliot as full-time, salaried editor.

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There is an entertaining moment in Woody Allen’s new film when the protagonist, Gil Pender, meets young Ernest in a bar. ‘You liked my book?’ Hemingway asks. ‘Liked? I loved all your work!’ gushes the time-travelling Pender. Hemingway looks chuffed and then proclaims his aesthetic.

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