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The Virgin

David Plante, 3 April 1986

... Elizabeth was in bed. The dog had its front paws between her breasts, and, its tongue out, it stared at her as she spoke to it. Charles, the husband, undressed and hung his clothes askew on the silent butler. When he took off his underpants, he held them in his hands a moment, expecting his wife to look towards him naked ...

Who was David Peterley?

Michael Holroyd, 15 November 1984

... David Peterley’s Peterley Harvest was first published on 24 October 1960. The book had a curious history and, shortly before publication, stories began to appear in the press declaring it to be an elaborate hoax. The jacket of the book contained the information that David Peterley was the only son of an old Quaker family that had ‘lived in the Chilterns and been neighbours of Milton and the Penns ...

A Severed Penis

Elizabeth Lowry: Magic realism in Mozambique, 3 February 2005

The Last Flight of the Flamingo 
by Mia Couto, translated by David Brookshaw.
Serpent’s Tail, 179 pp., £9.99, March 2004, 1 85242 813 9
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... doubts are ‘voxpopulated’, orders ‘spontaneified’, someone arrives ‘envehicled’. David Brookshaw’s dexterity achieves a seemingly effortless fit with Couto’s idiosyncrasies. A virginal heiress, Temporina, ‘hadn’t been legged over, but at least she was worth a legacy’; the ex-Marxist Jonas calls his black market deals ‘my ...

Enabler’s Revenge

David Runciman: John Edwards, 25 March 2010

The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down 
by Andrew Young.
Thomas Dunne, 301 pp., $24.99, January 2010, 978 0 312 64065 1
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Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House 
by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.
Viking, 448 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 670 91802 7
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... in that sense, only Hillary Clinton was ‘real’.) The response of Edwards’s formidable wife, Elizabeth, to the loss of Wade was to abandon her own successful legal career in order to undergo fertility treatment at the age of 48, after which she gave birth to two more children. She also devoted herself to furthering her husband’s ambitions to move as ...

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 5 May 2016

‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
by Robin Muir.
National Portrait Gallery, 304 pp., £40, February 2016, 978 1 85514 561 0
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‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
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... by or about the group. Clive Bell went to the Paris exhibitions, there were stories by David Garnett, features on Duncan Grant, and Woolf wrote five pieces, including one about Sir Walter Raleigh. Vogue still owed something to the society magazine that was the earliest incarnation of the American edition, and the first frontispiece went to Eileen ...

Little Bastard

Patrick Collinson: Learning to be Queen, 6 July 2000

ElizabethApprenticeship 
by David Starkey.
Chatto, 339 pp., £20, April 2000, 0 7011 6939 7
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Elizabeth I: Collected Works 
edited by Leah Marcus and Janel Mueller.
Chicago, 436 pp., £25, September 2000, 0 226 50464 6
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... requires of a monarch. It was not always so. Whatever else has been said about the first Elizabeth (one recalls Sheridan’s ‘no scandal about Queen Elizabeth I hope?’) no one has ever complimented her on being dull. In sending her royal brother Edward VI her youthful likeness, soon to be hidden for ever behind ...

Yeti

Elizabeth Lowry: Doris Lessing, 22 March 2001

Doris Lessing: A Biography 
by Carole Klein.
Duckworth, 283 pp., £18.99, March 2000, 0 7156 2951 4
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Ben, in the World 
by Doris Lessing.
Flamingo, 178 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 655229 3
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... paradigm of the family as a microcosm of society. It is the Swinging Sixties. Harriet Walker and David Lovatt meet at an office party and discover that they are both ‘eccentrics’, at odds with the prevailing social climate: they want to fall in love, marry and settle down to have at least six (or eight, or ten) children. They buy an enormous Victorian ...

Downsize, Your Majesty

David Cannadine, 16 October 1997

The Royals 
by Kitty Kelley.
Warner, 547 pp., $27, September 1997, 0 446 51712 7
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... to uphold decent family values in the rackety era of the Bright Young Things. Think of George VI, Elizabeth and the two young princesses, ‘we four’, as the King observed with characteristic precision, ‘the royal family.’ And think of Elizabeth and Philip, whose domestic felicity was proclaimed to the world in the ...

Downhill

David Marquand, 19 September 1985

Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy 1945-51 
by Alec Cairncross.
Methuen, 527 pp., £35, April 1985, 0 416 37920 6
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The Politics of Recession 
by R.W. Johnson.
Macmillan, 275 pp., £20, January 1985, 0 333 36786 3
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The Labour Government 1974-79: Political Aims and Economic Reality 
by Martin Holmes.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 333 36735 9
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New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism 
by Elizabeth Durbin and Roy Hattersley.
Routledge, 341 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 9780710096500
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... in economics. Why the economic failures? Part of the answer is to be found between the lines of Elizabeth Durbin’s important and absorbing study of the ‘New’ Fabian economists of the Thirties, who tried to hammer out an intellectually respectable economic strategy for a future Labour government, in place of the mish-mash of Utopian aspirations and ...

Never Knowingly Naked

David Wootton: 17th-century bodies, 15 April 2004

Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in 17th-Century England 
by Laura Gowing.
Yale, 260 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 300 10096 5
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... to bed. One reason people kept their clothes on is that they were almost never alone. In 1674 Elizabeth Myres, like many servants, slept in a truckle-bed at the foot of her mistress’s bed. When her mistress took a lover it was Elizabeth’s job to help him pull off his shoes, after which he would climb into her ...

Dependencies

Elizabeth Young, 25 February 1993

The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... it begin and where did it end?’ wrote her close friend Raymond Marriott. In such circumstances David Callard should be congratulated for completing the project al all. It is not a very satisfactory biography but she was not a very satisfactory subject. Callard’s previous book, Pretty Good for a Woman: The Enigma of Evelyn Scott, charted the life of a ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England, 18 October 2007

Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... done to her mother and her mother’s world which Henry’s first annulment crisis represented. Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, was equal to Katherine in stubbornness and her definite superior in intelligence: the only one of Henry’s six wives whose marriage to the king was regularly called her ‘reign’ by contemporaries. That she had a mind of her ...

It’s Mummie

Jenny Diski, 16 December 1993

The Little Princesses 
by Marion Crawford, introduced by A.N. Wilson.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £14.99, November 1993, 0 7156 2497 0
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... of kingship’, Wilson explains, was restored in the late Thirties by George VI and Elizabeth, who, even before they moved into Buckingham Palace, erected a wall of silence around the House of Windsor, as soundproof as the walls of all those castles they processed around. Who knew of David Windsor’s ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019, 2 January 2020

... lover turns out to be a Spanish chef capable and indeed only too pleased to produce delicious pre-Elizabeth David food for the ravenous Radletts.13 February. ‘God’s honour’ we used to swear as boys. This remembered in the middle of an acute attack of arthritis pain this morning when I’m marooned on the sofa, cold, thirsty but unable to move. ‘I ...

Surplusage!

Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater, 6 February 2020

The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... of annotating any Paterian text. The general editors of the new Oxford edition, Lesley Higgins and David Latham, have embarked on the project with bravura: ‘The ten volumes of The Collected Works of Walter Pater are commissioned to serve scholars as the definitive edition for at least as long as the unscholarly 1910 Library Edition has served.’ Volumes III ...

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