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But You Married Him

Rosemary Hill: Princess Margaret and Lady Anne, 4 June 2020

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown 
by Anne Glenconner.
Hodder, 336 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 1 5293 5906 0
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... Lady​ Anne Glenconner has lived her life ‘in the shadow of the crown’. She is a friend of many members of the royal family and was, for thirty years, a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret. Her memoir, however, is written in the shadow of The Crown, ‘the popular Netflix series’ in which she was played by Nancy Carroll with Helena Bonham Carter as Margaret ...

La Grande Sartreuse

Douglas Johnson, 15 October 1981

Simone de Beauvoir and the Limits of Commitment 
by Anne Whitmarsh.
Cambridge, 212 pp., £14.50, June 1981, 9780521236690
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Un Fils Rebelle 
by Olivier Todd.
Grasset, 293 pp., £5.50, June 1981, 2 246 21231 6
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The Intellectual Resistance in Europe 
by James Wilkinson.
Harvard, 358 pp., £14, July 1981, 0 674 45775 7
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... There will be many who will find it significant that Anne Whitmarsh, beginning a careful and detailed study of Simone de Beauvoir with a section called ‘Biographical Notes’, should make the first entry read, ‘1905 21 June: Jean-Paul Sartre born in Paris’, and the last: ‘1980: Death of Sartre ...

All the girls said so

August Kleinzahler: John Berryman, 2 July 2015

The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 427 pp., £11.99, October 2014, 978 0 374 53455 4
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77 Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 84 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53452 3
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Berryman’s Sonnets 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 127 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53454 7
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The Heart Is Strange 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 179 pp., £17.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 22108 9
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Poets in their Youth 
by Eileen Simpson.
Farrar, Straus, 274 pp., £11.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 23559 8
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... in 1970, he was walking to a bar in Minneapolis one evening in the mid-1950s with his second wife, Anne, the two of them joking back and forth, when Berryman volunteered that he ‘hated the name Mabel more than any other female name’. Anne decided Henry was the name she found ‘unbearable’. For a long time ...

Viscounts Swapping Stories

Michael Wood: Jacques Derrida, 1 November 2001

The Work of Mourning 
by Jacques Derrida, translated by Pascale-Anne Brault.
Chicago, 272 pp., £16, July 2001, 0 226 14316 3
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A Taste for the Secret 
by Jacques Derrida and Maurizio Ferraris, translated by Giacomo Donis.
Polity, 161 pp., £13.99, May 2001, 0 7456 2334 4
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... a generation of writers and thinkers in France. The group Derrida has in mind includes Barthes (born 1915), Althusser (born 1918), Deleuze (born 1925) and Foucault (born 1926). Three years later Lyotard (...

Squidging about

Caroline Murphy: Camilla and the sex-motherers, 22 January 2004

Camilla: An Intimate Portrait 
by Rebecca Tyrrel.
Short Books, 244 pp., £14.99, October 2003, 1 904095 53 4
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... Parker Bowles like?’ He could do worse than refer the curious to Rebecca Tyrrel’s book. Born on 17 July 1947 (she is 16 months older than Prince Charles), Camilla is the daughter of an army major, Bruce Shand, and a society hostess, the Honourable Rosalind Shand (née Cubitt). Her paternal grandfather, P. Morton Shand, was an ‘insatiable ...

A Tale of Three Novels

Michael Holroyd: Violet Trefusis, 11 February 2010

... Violet Trefusis was born on 6 June 1894, the elder daughter of Alice Keppel, a famously discreet mistress of the future Edward VII. ‘I wonder if I shall ever squeeze as much romance into my life as she has had in hers,’ Violet wrote in the summer of 1918 to Vita Sackville-West. She had begun to squeeze a very indiscreet romance with Vita into her own life ...

Blush, grandeur, blush

Norma Clarke: One of the first bluestockings, 16 December 2004

Hannah More: The First Victorian 
by Anne Stott.
Oxford, 384 pp., £20, September 2004, 0 19 927488 6
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... success. She was ambitious for literary fame, and adored the theatre. Bouncy and excitable – Anne Stott describes her at the age of 18 as ‘a practised and persistent attention-seeker’ – she wrote pastoral verse drama for performance by schoolgirls and helped produce plays at Bristol’s Theatre Royal, but her sights were set on London. Quite how ...

Poxy Doxies

Margaret Anne Doody, 14 December 1995

Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet 
by Germaine Greer.
Viking, 517 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 670 84914 6
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... is an ambiguous female, who must have been lower class if she grovelled so flatteringly to the low-born Nell Gwynn. It has been suggested elsewhere that Aphra Behn had some connections with Kentish gentry, but Greer will have none of it: ‘It is more likely that Mrs Behn’s was a milieu without social status: possibly an émigré community, perhaps Jewish or ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Listen to Heloïse, 10 May 2007

... I had moved with it, or so it seemed at the time. Three years later I was suddenly, ecstatically Born Again (hallelujah!), because lapsing was not a matter of indifference, after all, but of crisis. No one talks about how much fun it is to be a fundamentalist. The word has changed, of course: for any rational person, ‘fundamentalist’ now means ...

In Cardiff

Anne Wagner: David Nash, 15 August 2019

... National Museum of Wales in Cardiff (until 1 September) is a tribute to his time in the region. Born in Surrey in 1945, he moved to the once flourishing slate-mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1967, the year he left Kingston School of Art. By then, work at the local mines and mills had all but collapsed. Oakeley, the largest underground slate mine in the ...

At the Royal Academy

Anne Wagner: America after the Fall , 4 May 2017

... wafted in from a story by Poe. If there is something unsettling in the way Kantor, who was born in Minsk in 1896, deals with the distant past of his adopted country, his picture is among those in the show that engage with, and manage to contest, the nation’s founding myths. Consider the contrast between Kantor’s picture and the nearby work by Doris ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: Conceptual Art in Britain, 1964-79, 14 July 2016

... readerly qualities are all to the good, given that the conceptualist generation (the majority were born in the 1930s and 1940s) shared a preference for working with words, if in an aggressively non-literary way. These were artists more at home at a desk than an easel, more likely to wield a camera than a paintbrush. Most preferred data to drawing, were ...

He fights with flashing weapons

Katherine Rundell: Thomas Wyatt, 6 December 2012

Thomas Wyatt: The Heart’s Forest 
by Susan Brigden.
Faber, 714 pp., £30, September 2012, 978 0 571 23584 1
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Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy 
by Nicola Shulman.
Short Books, 378 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 1 906021 11 5
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... Before Anne Boleyn laid her head on the executioner’s block, she bent and wrapped the hem of her dress around her feet. She thereby ensured that, if in her death throes she were to spreadeagle her legs, the crowd would not see up her skirt. It was a gesture at once gracious and gruesome, and the verse that Sir Thomas Wyatt (probably) wrote on the occasion from the Tower of London is equally dark (‘circa Regna tonat’ means ‘it thunders around the throne’): The bell towre showid me suche syght That in my head stekys day and nyght There dyd I lerne out of A grate For all vavore glory or myght That yet circa Regna tonat ...

Doctoring the past

Anne Summers, 24 September 1992

The Woman beneath the Skin: A Doctor’s Patients in 18th-Century Germany 
by Barbara Duden, translated by Thomas Dunlap.
Harvard, 241 pp., £19.95, September 1991, 0 674 95403 3
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The Nature of their Bodies: Women and their Doctors in Victorian Canada 
by Wendy Mitchinson.
Toronto, 474 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 8020 5901 5
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Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900-1950 
by Lesley Hall.
Polity, 218 pp., £35, May 1991, 0 7456 0741 1
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... the relative insignificance of gender as a defining category in this period. Storch was born in 1681 in a village of six hundred inhabitants where both his father and grandfather had practised as tailors, local healers and dealers in herbs and medicines. Unlike them, he studied medicine at the University of Jena, where he undertook the dissection of ...

Diary

Anne Enright: My Milk, 5 October 2000

... amazed that ‘bravery’ is one of the feelings she has already experienced, that she should be born so intrepid and easily affronted – that she should be born so much herself. She is also, at this early stage, almost gender free. This is useful. The statistics on how often mothers choose not to breastfeed girl babies ...

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