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Bright Blue Dark Blue

Rosemary Hill: ‘Weatherland’, 5 November 2015

by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 432 pp., £24.95, September 2015, 978 0 500 51811 3
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... late development. Seasons, the overarching and background reality of life, are older, although as Alexandra Harris explains, ‘spring’ was invented only in the late Middle Ages. Before all that there was just climate and what people thought about it is all but unknowable. In the temperate zones, where the waxing and waning of the year is more ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Radio 3’s ‘X Factor’, 14 July 2011

... their ‘impact’ ratings no end), but then these particular academics are hardly obscure. Alexandra Harris (‘A Brief History of Being Cold: Journeys through English Art and the Elements’) won last year’s Guardian First Book Award; Rachel Hewitt (‘Britain in the 1790s: The Age of Despair’) wrote a bestselling history of the Ordnance ...

Bourgeois Reveries

Julian Bell: Farmer Eliot, 3 February 2011

Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper 
by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 320 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 0 500 25171 3
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... Romantic Moderns, her provocative critical survey of English cultural life between 1930 and 1945, Alexandra Harris points to Eliot’s lines in ‘East Coker’ about ‘Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth/Mirth of those long since under earth/Nourishing the corn.’ Harris argues that the poet was thinking ...

Just William

Doris Grumbach, 25 June 1987

Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice 
by Sharon O’Brien.
Oxford, 544 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 19 504132 1
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... for her fine works on Nebraska. We know of her adolescent years before college from ‘Old Mrs Harris’, a story published much later in Obscure Destinies. It reflects the poignant discontent of Victoria (the young Willa), living too close to the crowded miseries of an always-pregnant mother, an improvident father, an obediently slavish Southern ...

I’ll do the dishes

Sophie Lewis: Mothers’ Work, 4 May 2023

Essential Labour: Mothering as Social Change 
by Angela Garbes.
Harper Wave, 222 pp., £20, May 2022, 978 0 06 293736 0
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... Appleton designed kitchenless cities where everyone would be provided with free cooked meals. Alexandra Kollontai proposed the mass roll-out of co-operative childcare centres. In more recent decades, Frances Gabe thought about how to build ‘self-cleaning’ houses and Shulamith Firestone dreamed of the ‘diffusion’ of care responsibilities across the ...


Janet Todd, 21 December 1989

Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up 
by Hermione Lee.
Virago, 409 pp., £12.99, October 1989, 0 86068 661 2
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... a student at Lincoln University. Much of this early life is caught in a late story ‘Old Mrs Harris’, tapes of which are used to accompany the modern pilgrim round the Cather shrine. At University she settled into literature when a teacher published a paper of hers on Carlyle in the Nebraska State Journal. She was soon reviewing theatrical productions ...

Goodbye Glossies

Amy Larocca: Vogue World, 1 December 2022

A Visible Man 
by Edward Enninful.
Bloomsbury, 265 pp., £25, September 2022, 978 1 5266 4153 3
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... this state of affairs.’ It was a far different proposal from that made by his predecessor, Alexandra Shulman, whose mother had co-authored a book called Lady Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners. Shulman writes in her memoir that she only needs to ‘put on a Chanel jacket and a pair of heels and immediately I can be seen … as somebody who, at some ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... his body was later recovered from the 13th floor. Victoria King, who was 71, and her daughter Alexandra Atala, on the 20th floor, never made it out. Anthony Disson, 65, a former bin man and Fulham fan, left it very late before trying to get out of his flat. ‘We used to go “totting” together,’ his son, Lee, said. ‘You know, scrap iron. He had a ...

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