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At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Quilts, 22 April 2010

... was striking. Strongly patterned quilts were made in Britain too – particularly in Wales and the North where, one may suppose, printed cottons and patterned silks were less common. There are Welsh examples in the exhibition – and a handsome quilt in broad red and white stripes from Northumberland. But the bias of what is on show at the V&A is towards ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: The French Foreign Legion, 26 March 2009

... stars include the poet Blaise Cendrars, who joined in 1914, and the British ambulance driver Susan Travers, who chauffeured for a Legion medical officer in North Africa in 1941 and then, dashingly, for General Koenig, as the Free French abandoned Bir Hakeim the following year. For her gritty skills at the wheel she got ...

At Turner Contemporary

Eleanor Birne: ‘Curiosity’, 18 July 2013

... found when some other things were lost. And it looks rather fitting against the backdrop of the North Sea and the fairground rides on the beach. The objects collected in Curiosity are – to put it mildly – varied. They range from blown-glass models of sea creatures, made by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka between the 1850s and 1890s, to a collection of ...

Fairyland

Bruce Bawer, 2 May 1985

Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald 
by James Mellow.
Souvenir, 569 pp., £15.95, February 1985, 0 285 65001 7
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Home before Dark: A Personal Memoir of John Cheever 
by Susan Cheever.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 297 78376 9
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... composition and demoralising failure of Tender is the night; Zelda’s institutionalisation in North Carolina and the attempted resuscitation of his career by means of a scriptwriting stint in Hollywood; the affair with the gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, who helped him climb back on the wagon and encouraged his return to novel-writing with the ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... large-scale installation artists. On the contrary, the most concentrated attention was given to Susan Hiller’s After the Freud Museum, a work which has a gallery all to itself, but which consists of a single shelf-like display cabinet running the length of one wall with a series of small objects, images and written texts displayed within it. Viewers, who ...

Send more blondes

Bernard Porter: Spies in the Congo, 19 October 2016

Spies in the Congo: The Race for the Ore that Built the Atomic Bomb 
by Susan Williams.
Hurst, 369 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 84904 638 1
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... for the Congolese people working for them were dire. There’s a sickening description in Susan Williams’s book, from an American observer in the 1940s, of the flogging of a Congolese man with a chicotte – ‘a whip made of leather thongs tipped with metal’ – for stealing a pack of cigarettes from a Belgian. ‘The black’s skin from neck to ...

At Tate Britain

Jeremy Harding: Don McCullin, 18 April 2019

... look frankly at the human face, and often our gaze is reciprocated. Even a dead soldier with the North Vietnamese Army, killed during the Battle of Hue in 1968, seems to want to get us into focus through his half-closed eyes. (This was the only war composition that McCullin ‘contrived’, he explains, by scattering the man’s possessions on the ground ...

Women beware men

Margaret Anne Doody, 23 July 1992

Backlash: The Undeclared War against Women 
by Susan Faludi.
Chatto, 592 pp., £9.99, March 1992, 0 7011 4643 5
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The War against Women 
by Marilyn French.
Hamish Hamilton, 229 pp., £9.99, March 1992, 0 241 13271 1
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... Although first published in the United States, both books deal with England and other countries. Susan Faludi extensively revised her 1991 American edition for the 1992 British edition. This version, with a Preface by Joan Smith, includes information regarding the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. Marilyn French deals with Southern and Eastern ...

Jigsaw Mummies

Tom Shippey: Pagan Britain, 6 November 2014

Pagan Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 480 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 19771 6
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The King in the NorthThe Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria 
by Max Adams.
Head of Zeus, 450 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 1 78185 418 1
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... with Herne the Hunter, who is mentioned in The Merry Wives of Windsor and reimagined in Susan Cooper’s children’s fiction), and even Epona the horse goddess, often thought to lie behind the horse-dominated stories of Rhiannon in the Welsh Mabinogion. Britain is notably lacking in evidence for the cult of Epona that was widespread ...

Semiotics Right and Left

Christopher Norris, 4 September 1986

On Signs: A Semiotics Reader 
edited by Marshall Blonsky.
Blackwell, 536 pp., £27.50, September 1985, 0 631 10261 2
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... world, but with evidence of how that world has been constructed in the eyes of a dominant (North American) culture. In a sense, this violent juxtaposition is the heart of Blonsky’s anthology. It is here that the self-appointed ‘sciences of man’ – whatever their radical credentials – come up against a reality that stubbornly resists their ...

Necrophiliac Striptease

Thomas Jones: Mummies, 6 February 2014

The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 321 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 19 969871 4
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... to England. The mummy’s gilded mask was donated to the British Museum; the coffin went to Lady Susan Meux for her private museum of Egyptian artefacts at Theobalds Park in Hertfordshire. She died in 1911, leaving her collection to the British Museum, but they didn’t want it: it was a condition of her bequest that it be kept together rather than absorbed ...

Forget that I exist

Susan Eilenberg: Mary Wollstonecraft, 30 November 2000

Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life 
by Janet Todd.
Weidenfeld, 516 pp., £25, April 2000, 0 297 84299 4
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... her husband’s house. She then opened a school and established a household in Newington Green in North London to support this now helpless and homeless sister, taking in not just Eliza but her younger sister Everina and her delicate friend Fanny Blood as well, whose marriage to her dilatory suitor Hugh Skeys Wollstonecraft meanwhile actively promoted in the ...

Leaf, Button, Dog

Susan Eilenberg: The Sins of Hester Thrale, 1 November 2001

According to Queeney 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Little, Brown, 242 pp., £16.99, September 2001, 0 316 85867 6
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... later by Queeney, by then happily married to Baron Keith of Stonehaven Marischal, Admiral of the North Sea Fleet, was that ‘it was from original and persevering dislike and real hatred of us all, from her hatred of our father, and certainly her general conduct to the whole family strongly savours of that nature.’ Such is the material Bainbridge draws on ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... poems in German, sketches on nature, plans for seizing power in Britain (‘Blow up the Great North Road’) and some ecstatic love letters to Marxism. ‘I want to dedicate myself to it,’ he wrote aged 17. ‘I want to dive into it as into the sea, and drown in it. I want to love it, passionately … and yet spiritually. Like one loves a woman.’ At ...

Good Girl, Bad Girl

Elaine Showalter, 5 June 1997

Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment 
by Jane Gallop.
Duke, 104 pp., £28.50, June 1997, 0 8223 1918 7
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A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned 
by Jane Tompkins.
Addison-Wesley, 256 pp., $22, January 1997, 0 201 91212 0
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Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death 
by Nancy Miller.
Oxford, 208 pp., £19.50, February 1997, 0 19 509130 2
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... and Beloved during a term punctuated by communal outings to Ocracoke, a barrier island off the North Carolina coast, and Somerset Place Plantation near Edenton, North Carolina. Tompkins was thrilled by the sense of immediacy, intimacy and improvisation – ‘For me the course had been a wondrous series of ...

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