Helen Deutsch

Helen Deutsch, the author of Loving Dr Johnson, is working on a book about Jonathan Swift and Edward Said.

Summoning Dr Johnson

Helen Deutsch, 9 February 2012

On Saturday, July 30, Dr Johnson and I took a sculler at the Temple-stairs, and set out for Greenwich. I asked him if he really thought a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages an essential requisite to a good education. JOHNSON. ‘Most certainly, sir; for those who know them have a very great advantage over those who do not. Nay, sir, it is wonderful what a difference learning...

Hester Lynch Salusbury Thrale Piozzi

Helen Deutsch, 14 May 2009

In the DNB Hester Lynch Piozzi (as they call her) is identified as a ‘writer’, but for the past two centuries she has been a heroine of old and new-fashioned marriage plots and a source of critical controversy. A brilliant conversationalist and an innovative recorder of her own life, she was dull only on the subject of her genealogy: her parents (who were cousins) were descended...

‘If ever a woman wanted a champion,’ Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘it is obviously Laetitia Pilkington.’ Norma Clarke intends to vindicate both the author and her Memoirs (she pays tribute to A.C. Elias’s invaluable 1997 edition). Correcting the long-standing categorisation of Pilkington as a ‘scandalous memoirist’ (her story was advertised alongside...

Female poets of the eighteenth century

Helen Deutsch, 21 September 2006

What would the 18th-century poetic canon look like if women were included? Imagine women poets being venerated alongside Alexander Pope, who held that ‘Most Women have no Characters at all,’ or Jonathan Swift, who, at the conclusion of that catalogue of excremental horrors ‘The Lady’s Dressing Room’, has his speaker remark: ‘Should I the Queen of Love...


Woolf wasn’t right

21 September 2006

Norma Clarke disagrees more with Paula Backscheider than with me (Letters, 5 October). I chose Woolf’s outdated, polemical and still (to Clarke’s dismay) powerful A Room of One’s Own as a ‘proleptic prequel’ to Backscheider’s book as a way to make sense of Backscheider’s attempt to imagine a separate women’s poetry in the 18th century. I contended that...

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