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Hilary Mantel, 27 February 1992

The Literary Companion to Sex: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry 
edited by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 415 pp., £18, February 1992, 1 85619 127 3
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The Love Quest: A Sexual Odyssey 
by Anne Cumming.
Peter Owen, 200 pp., £15.50, November 1991, 9780720608359
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... And after all, it’s size that counts, you know. If there are problems in writing about sex, Anne Cumming hasn’t been discouraged by them. The Love Quest is the second volume of her memoirs; it begins in 1952, and finds the former debutante, actress and intelligence officer in mid-career, with one marriage behind her and her second looking ...

Avoid the Orient

Colm Tóibín: The Ghastly Paul Bowles, 4 January 2007

Paul Bowles: A Life 
by Virginia Spencer Carr.
Peter Owen, 431 pp., £19.95, July 2005, 0 7206 1254 3
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... in Tangier, until he became one of its most famous expatriate inhabitants, much described. Anne Cumming, the author of Men on Five Dollars a Day wrote: ‘During our “psychedelic summer” of 1961 when the entire Beat generation of writers rampaged through Tangier, trying every known drug and eating bat stew, Paul remained the quiet cult figure ...

Working under Covers

Paul Laity: Mata Hari, 8 January 2004

Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War 
by Tammy Proctor.
New York, 205 pp., $27, June 2003, 0 8147 6693 5
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... run "by the sort of men who called each other Wolly, Bunter, Biffy and Blinker. Mansfield Smith Cumming, the original ‘C.’, thought espionage ‘a capital sport’, and is memorably described by Phillip Knightley in his recently reissued study of 20th-century spying, The Second Oldest Profession:* He wore a gold-rimmed monocle, wrote only in green ...

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