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24 January 1985
The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... inspired by Mrs David, who now spans the globe. The cook-proprietor of ‘Chez Panisse’, Alice Waters, says in her introduction: ‘I bought Elizabeth David’s French Country Cooking and I cooked everything in it, from beginning to end. I admired her aesthetics of food and wanted a restaurant that had the same feeling as the pictures on the ...

Down to the Last Cream Puff

Steven Shapin: The End of Haute Cuisine

5 August 2010
Au Revoir to All That: The Rise and Fall of French Cuisine 
by Michael Steinberger.
Bloomsbury, 248 pp., £8.99, July 2010, 978 1 4088 0136 9
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... stars meant and then filing reports from every one of France’s three-star establishments. Alice B. Toklas wrote her Cookbook, she said, ‘for America’, partly to explain the ‘delicacy and poignancy’, the perfect balance, of French cooking. (Alice’s recipe for boeuf bourguignon doesn’t have Julia’s ...

A Bed out of Leaves

Richard Wollheim: A dance at Belsen

4 December 2003
... Coast, London, Paris, most of the major cities of Europe, the Midwest and the Clinton White House. Alice Waters, the diminutive ball of fire who started Chez Panisse nearly thirty years ago, does not believe that the changes she has inaugurated should stop there. What she rightly calls ‘the philosophy of Chez Panisse’ is too big to be restricted to a ...

A Man’s Man’s World

Steven Shapin: Kitchens

30 November 2000
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly 
by Anthony Bourdain.
Bloomsbury, 307 pp., £16.99, August 2000, 0 7475 5072 7
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... board with Beth dry-humping him from behind, saying: “How do you like it, bitch?”’ (I trust Alice Waters orders these matters differently at Chez Panisse.) Bourdain records four epiphanies – all suitably profane – that confirmed his vocation. The first came when he was 11 years old, on vacation in France to visit his French father’s ...

Death and the Maiden

Mary-Kay Wilmers

6 August 1981
Alice James 
by Jean Strouse.
Cape, 367 pp., £9.95, February 1981, 0 224 01436 6
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The Death and Letters of Alice James 
edited by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
California, 214 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 520 03745 6
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... Alice James died in London at the age of 43, regretting only that she would not have the pleasure of knowing and reporting herself dead. The reporting was done instead by her favourite brother: ‘I went to the window to let in a little more of the afternoon light, and when I went back to the bed she had drawn the breath that was not succeeded by another,’ Henry James wrote to their eldest brother, William, in America, as if, in the now fashionable way, defining death to a Martian ...

Larks

Patricia Craig

19 September 1985
But for Bunter 
by David Hughes.
Heinemann, 223 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 434 35410 4
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Bunter Sahib 
by Daniel Green.
Hodder, 272 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 340 36429 7
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The Good Terrorist 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 370 pp., £9.50, September 1985, 0 224 02323 3
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Unexplained Laughter 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 155 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7156 2070 3
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Polaris and Other Stories 
by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 237 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 340 33227 1
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... with the seriousness of purpose which ‘Jane Somers’ lacked. The good terrorist of the title is Alice Mellings, a renegade from the middle classes, whose talent for housekeeping benefits an appalling squat. We follow with interest the processes – initiated by Alice – of getting lavatories unblocked, electricity ...

Outcanoevre

Aingeal Clare: Alice Oswald

23 March 2006
Woods etc 
by Alice Oswald.
Faber, 56 pp., £12.99, May 2005, 0 571 21852 0
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... Alice Oswald, though she may not seem it at first, is an opinionated poet of ideas, and her poetry is ambitious in both form and scope. She writes taut poems about nature but refuses to call them ‘nature poems’. Her work is ‘full of hymns’, as Elizabeth Bishop said of her own, as well as pagan shouts and birdcalls ...

World’s End

John Sutherland

1 October 1987
The Day of Creation 
by J.G. Ballard.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 04152 8
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The Playmaker 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 310 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 340 34154 8
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In the Skin of a Lion 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Secker, 244 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 436 34009 7
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The House of Hospitalities 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 184 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81501 2
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... In that parched novel, the earth has ceased to produce rain because of radioactive waste and its waters are drying to produce a global dustbowl. In the last twenty years the inexorable advance of the Sahara has spared Ballard from having to invent his climatic catastrophe and gives his 1987 apocalyptic fable a more ominous edge of realism. In the ‘dead ...

Dream Leaps

Tessa Hadley: Alice Munro

25 January 2007
The View from Castle Rock 
by Alice Munro.
Chatto, 349 pp., £15.99, November 2006, 0 7011 7989 9
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... Alice Munro doesn’t write much about her writing: there are only a few interviews, hardly any essays or journalistic pieces, and we don’t catch her holding forth about her literary likes and dislikes. But here in her new collection, The View from Castle Rock, she speaks to us directly, first in a brief introduction explaining the way the book has been put together, and then in a piece, ‘No Advantages’, in which she describes in her own person the researches into her family history that have resulted in some of the stories that follow ...

Treated with Ping-Pong

Susan Eilenberg: The History of Mental Medicine

23 July 2009
Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present 
by Lisa Appignanesi.
Virago, 592 pp., £12.99, January 2009, 978 1 84408 234 6
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... we have any choice. Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Janet, Josef Breuer, Sigmund Freud, Mary Lamb, Alice James, Anna O., Zelda Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe and Sylvia Plath are household names. Not everyone may be able instantly to identify Henriette Cornier (who in 1825 chopped off her 19-month-old charge’s head), or Augustine (Charcot’s ‘model ...

A Man with My Trouble

Colm Tóibín: Henry James leaves home

3 January 2008
The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume I 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 391 pp., £57, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2584 8
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The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume II 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 524 pp., £60, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2607 4
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... magnificently tanned & muscular – the men at least are a very effective lot.’ To his sister, Alice, on Pope Pius IX: ‘When you have seen that flaccid old woman waving his ridiculous fingers over the prostrate multitude & have duly felt the picturesqueness of the scene – & then turn away sickened by its absolute obscenity – you may climb the steps ...
16 April 1998
Joe Gould's Secret 
by Joseph Mitchell.
Cape, 200 pp., £9.99, October 1997, 0 224 05107 5
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... belted around by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs’. Mitchell was the laureate of the waters around New York. He recorded the arcana of the rivermen. He described the harbour’s abundance of shellfish and finfish – not just common finfish like flounder, alewife, sea bass and ling, but also the rarer strays from southern ...

A New Twist in the Long Tradition of the Grotesque

Marina Warner: The monstrousness of Britart

13 April 2000
High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s 
by Julian Stallabrass.
Verso, 342 pp., £22, December 1999, 1 85984 721 8
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This is Modern Art 
by Matthew Collings.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 297 84292 7
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... its back on, all that it leaves out when it comes to what art can be.’ As it pans the miasmic waters where the Chapman Brothers, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and of course Damien Hirst loom, High Art Lite finds the ark of art occupied, betrayed and shipwrecked. The principles that gave the avant-garde of the earlier part of the 20th century its energy and ...

The Trouble with HRH

Christopher Hitchens

5 June 1997
Princess Margaret: A Biography 
by Theo Aronson.
O’Mara, 336 pp., £16.99, February 1997, 1 85479 248 2
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... Home Secretary to Ramsay MacDonald, had to journey to Glamis Castle and wait for 16 days for the waters to break. He passed the time profitably enough being shown around the local estates by Lady Airlie, a lady-in-waiting, who was pleased to find ‘under his homely exterior a deeply sensitive mind, touchingly appreciative of beauty’. In the company of the ...
21 August 1980
On the Edge of Paradise 
by David Newsome.
Murray, 405 pp., £17.50, June 1980, 0 7195 3690 1
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... infallibility to the living. But Benson demanded ‘prejudice, preference, humanity, humour, malice, salinity, and a hundred little spices in my dish’. So, frankly, do we, and his delight in the specific and quirky, his ability to plant bombs under ample chairs, spare him from the accusation of being called Mr Chadband the pharisee. While David Newsome ...

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