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All Woman

Michael Mason, 23 May 1985

‘Men’: A Documentary 
by Anna Ford.
Weidenfeld, 196 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 0 297 78468 4
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Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure 
by John Cleland, edited by Peter Sabor.
Oxford, 256 pp., £1.95, February 1985, 0 19 281634 9
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... One may ask of Ms Ford’s book, rather as Alice asks of the White Knight’s poem: ‘What is it called?’ The title on the jacket is ‘Men’; the title on the title-page is Men. The jacket is the part of a book where publishers most candidly make known their views. Publishing contracts specifically reserve to the publisher the right to determine its appearance, unilaterally if necessary ...

Root Books

Julie Davidson, 7 November 1985

Henry Root’s A-Z of Women 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £7.95, July 1985, 0 297 78593 1
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... awakening of Henry Root. In the course of his researches for Root on Women – ‘to balance Anna Ford on men’ – the barnstorming litterateur discovers the vice anglais. Talk about flogging a dead horse. From then on, it’s bondage all the way for the captive reviewer, with exchanges of this kind: ‘The upper classes, you say? Etonians? The ...

Her way of helping me

Hugo Young, 6 December 1990

Listening for a Midnight Tram: Memoirs 
by John Junor.
Chapmans, 341 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 9781855925014
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... Warm and vibrant. We lunched together a few times but, alas, remained only good friends’ – to Anna Ford (‘I had the feeling that her first love was men and work came second’), and ‘my friend and discovery Selina – gorgeous, delicious Selina Scott’. The old boy seems always to have been unduly fascinated by sexual speculation. He finds it ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities, 11 September 2003

Searching for John FordA Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... are normal people, were questions that came up all the time in the film-making career of John Ford, a career that lasted fifty years, and which one way or another says as much about home and landscape, belonging and solitude, war and peace, history and memory, America and Europe, as that of any American storyteller in any medium. ...
... absence of naturalised Arabs from all the party lists, one wonders how these French variants on Anna Ford and Selena Scott manage to look so pertly relevant while posing such ludicrous questions.) Even ‘liberals’ such as ex-President Giscard make ponderous remarks about immigrants having to ‘remember that they may have rights, but they have ...


Craig Raine, 13 June 1991

Constance Garnett: A Heroic Life 
by Richard Garnett.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 402 pp., £20, March 1991, 1 85619 033 1
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... example of Mdlle Rossignol for Florence Nightingale, Hingley boldly translates the untranslatable. Anna Sergeyevna is deprived of her atmospheric and irreplaceable patronymic and becomes ‘Anne’. In Garnett, Anna Sergeyevna isn’t sure ‘whether her husband has a post in a Crown Department or under the Provincial ...

I even misspell intellectual

Rupert Thomson: Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor, 2 April 2020

The Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Caroline Gordon 
edited by Christine Flanagan.
Georgia, 272 pp., £31.95, October 2018, 978 0 8203 5408 8
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... in 1948. Gordon had impeccable literary credentials. As a young writer, she had been mentored by Ford Madox Ford, who had her read an early draft of her first novel, Penhally, out loud to him. She was edited by Maxwell Perkins, and had published eight novels and one short story collection. O’Connor was familiar with ...


Peter Campbell, 31 August 1989

A Particular Place 
by Mary Hocking.
Chatto, 216 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 7011 3454 2
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The House of Fear, Notes from Down Below 
by Leonora Carrington.
Virago, 216 pp., £10.99, July 1989, 1 85381 048 7
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Painted Lives 
by Max Egremont.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 241 12706 8
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The Ultimate Good Luck 
by Richard Ford.
Collins Harvill, 201 pp., £11.95, July 1989, 0 00 271853 7
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... desiccated schoolmaster, more interested in literature than life. His lecture to a local group on Anna Karenina is followed by a discussion in which Anna’s conduct is criticised: ‘What had she done, Charles wondered, to arouse dislike in these liberated women?’ His fastidiousness about the introduction of his ...

In the Spirit of Mayhew

Frank Kermode: Rohinton Mistry, 25 April 2002

Family Matters 
by Rohinton Mistry.
Faber, 487 pp., £16.99, April 2002, 0 571 19427 3
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... aware of the new techniques, new styles of ‘treatment’, currently being explored by Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, and aware also of the new rules of the game as promulgated by Henry James with his passion for ‘doing’. Bennett greatly admired Conrad, but decided against this kind of ‘doing’. The Old Wives’ Tale ...


Karl Miller, 18 September 1980

The Oxford Chekov. Vol. IV: Stories 1888-1889 
edited by Ronald Hingley.
Oxford, 287 pp., £14, July 1980, 0 19 211389 5
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... of individuals essential to the music they make. These talkers do not much converse, and soon Ford Madox Ford was to break the news that modern art should show how in conversations the speakers do not listen to one another. Of the art of Ford’s friend and collaborator, Conrad, Ian ...


Daniel Soar: John McGahern, 21 February 2002

That They May Face the Rising Sun 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 298 pp., £16.99, January 2002, 0 571 21216 6
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... good stories. Jamesie likes to tell the one about his brother Johnny, who went to England after Anna Mulvey, the girl he loved. Johnny is a mythical figure: ‘the best shot this part of the country has ever seen’, ‘the whole world at his feet’. He’s Synge’s Playboy – and, appropriately, he once played the Playboy – lord of everywhere, or so ...

Priapus Knight

Marilyn Butler, 18 March 1982

The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824 
edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny.
Manchester, 189 pp., £30, February 1982, 0 7190 0871 9
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... for their private collections. Compared with their modern counterparts, scholars funded by Mellon, Ford, Guggenheim and the British Academy, the Dilettanti had a striking characteristic: they were not so much specialists as universalists. By the time Knight joined it, the Society was absorbing the fruits, not only of archaeological discoveries at Pompeii and ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne, 3 September 1981

David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... Was Selznick wary of greater challenges – Bleak House or Huckleberry Finn? When he tackled Anna Karenina, also in 1935, he turned it into a glossy vehicle for Garbo; and his very last film, A Farewell to Arms, was an over-reverent flop. The best picture he produced, Carol Reed’s The Third Man, was the one in which he interfered the least – although ...

Wild Horses

Claude Rawson, 1 April 1983

‘The Bronze Horseman’ and Other Poems 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by D.M. Thomas.
Penguin, 261 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 14 042309 5
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Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study 
by A.D.P. Briggs.
Croom Helm, 257 pp., £14.95, November 1982, 0 7099 0688 9
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‘Choiseul and Talleyrand’: A Historical Novella and Other Poems, with New Verse Translations of Alexander Pushkin 
by Charles Johnston.
Bodley Head, 88 pp., £5.25, July 1982, 0 370 30924 3
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Mozart and Salieri: The Little Tragedies 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Antony Wood.
Angel, 94 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 02 6
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I have come to greet you 
by Afanasy Fet, translated by James Greene.
Angel, 71 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 03 4
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Uncollected Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 81 pp., £4.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3969 2
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Travelling without a Valid Ticket 
by Howard Sergeant.
Rivelin, 14 pp., £1, May 1982, 0 904524 39 6
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... down. His attack on rhyming translatorese includes a telling examination of a stanza from ‘To Anna Kern’ as rendered by Kisch, Newmarch, T.B. Shaw and Bowra. His own version has no difficulty in achieving a more tactful, as well as more literal, fidelity: I remember the moment of wonder: You appeared before me, Like a momentary vision, A spirit of pure ...

Patriotic Gore

Michael Wood, 19 May 1983

by Gore Vidal.
Heinemann, 203 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 434 83076 3
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Pink Triangle and Yellow Star and Other Essays 1976-1982 
by Gore Vidal.
Heinemann, 278 pp., £10, July 1982, 0 434 83075 5
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... it for you with my Dunhill.’ ‘May I have this dance, Lady Darlene? I am the Earl of Grant ford.’ ‘Indeed you may, Earl, honey. I am Lady Darlene.’ There are even touches of Gracie (or is it Woody?) Allen:   ‘Was your father weak, passive, absent from home a lot?’   ‘You mean before he died?’ There is also a glum, constant sense ...

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