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6 December 1984
Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 462 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 340 24465 8
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... at the heart’ of this biography of Queen Mary. What steaming titbit can her fellow American, Anne Edwards, biographer of film stars, have turned up at this late hour? Can it really be that rather overworked rumour that identifies Prince Eddy, the Queen’s first fiancé, as Jack the Ripper? Indeed it can. James Pope-Hennessy did not find room to ...

Bad Feeling

Gabriele Annan

5 November 1981
Sonya: The Life of Countess Tolstoy 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 512 pp., £8.50, July 1981, 9780340250020
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... watch the snow falling into Maria Vetsera’s open grave. The snow falls at Astopovo too, where Anne Edwards sets her prologue and shows us Countess Tolstoy outside the stationmaster’s hut, trying to catch a glimpse of her dying husband through the curtained windows. Astopovo is probably better documented than Mayerling, a secret trysting-place where ...
3 April 1986
Katharine Hepburn: A Biography 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 395 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 340 33719 2
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... is drawing attention to the fact, of which he is well aware, that he has to behave in a different manner as writer, lover, man of the world, from what he feels in his private being. One such is Sonnet 111, ‘O for my sake do you with fortune chide,’ in which he refers to his occupation and its ‘public means, which public m...

Miz Peggy

Penelope Gilliatt

15 September 1983
The Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1983, 0 340 32348 5
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... From Anne Edwards’s biography of Margaret Mitchell, we know that Peggy Mitchell had ‘sailor-blue eyes’. We also know that she stood four feet eight, which is mighty small for the militant author of Gone with the Wind. At this size she mounted, or climbed up a ladder to, a large horse. Wheeling him (fervently: her whole life was led in adverbs) and crying ‘Look at me!’ to the South in general, she fell off ...

Big Head

John Sutherland

23 April 1987
Thackeray’s Universe: Shifting Worlds of Imagination and Reality 
by Catherine Peters.
Faber, 292 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 571 14711 9
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... popular biography of Thackeray we have had in the last nine years, taking its place alongside Anne Monsarrat’s Thackeray: Uneasy Victorian (1980) and Margaret Forster’s sprightly ‘autobiography’, Thackeray: Memoirs of a Victorian Gentleman (1978). (Rather meanly, Peters leaves both competitors out of her ‘Select Bibliography’.) All three ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England

18 October 2007
Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... and her mother’s world which Henry’s first annulment crisis represented. Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, was equal to Katherine in stubbornness and her definite superior in intelligence: the only one of Henry’s six wives whose marriage to the king was regularly called her ‘reign’ by contemporaries. That she had a mind of her own and was not afraid ...

Making strange

John Sutherland

19 March 1981
Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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...  ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland

11 July 1991
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... ability. Lauretta Ngcobo (a contemporary South African novelist) has as much in common with Anne Bradstreet as with Athol Fugard – if not more. And Anne Bradstreet has as much in common with Ifeoma Okoye (a Nigerian writer of children’s stories) as with Cotton Mather, or more. Riding alongside is the assumption ...

Diary

David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991

25 January 1996
... Pâtisserie Viennoise. Then back to boulevard Voltaire. Judy still ill, cannot face reception chez Anne Wade-Minkowski, rue de Rivoli. I go with Jean-Claude. Adonis, Yves Bonnefoy, François-Xavier Jaujard and Paul le Jaloux already there. After an hour’s talk, champagne, quiche, sight of copious buffet in neighbouring room gives me nausea. I lie on sofa ...

Turncoats and Opportunists

Alexandra Walsham: Francis Walsingham

5 July 2012
The Queen’s Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by John Cooper.
Faber, 400 pp., £9.99, July 2012, 978 0 571 21827 1
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... of his private experience. Little can be gleaned about his marriages to the wealthy Londoner Anne Carleill, who died childless just two years after they married in 1564, and then in 1566 to the widow Ursula Worseley, with whom he had two children. His sole surviving daughter, Frances, married the poet and Protestant courtier Sir Philip Sidney. Cooper ...
22 May 1997
Sex, Nation and Dissent in Irish Writing 
edited by Éibhear Walshe.
Cork, 210 pp., £40, April 1997, 1 85918 013 2
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Gooddbye to Catholic Ireland 
by Mary Kenny.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 320 pp., £20, March 1997, 1 85619 751 4
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... was important for him: it was here in June 1927 that he met his lifelong partner Hilton Edwards. They became Ireland’s most famous homosexual couple. I remember, on Micheàl’s 70th birthday in 1969, watching them being treated as such on Irish television. When he died in 1978, MacLiammóir’s funeral was attended by the President, the ...
1 April 1982
Out of the Past 
by Alexandra Tolstoy.
Columbia, December 1981, 9780231051002
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... my father’s precepts?’ ‘Never easy’ is a euphemism. Troyat’s biography of Tolstoy and Anne Edwards’s recent one of Countess Tolstoy show life at Yasnaya Polyana to have been hellish: perpetual rows between the two factions – the husband’s and the wife’s – tantrums, periods of non-speak, hysteria, walk-outs, suicidal gestures. As a ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan

2 April 1987
The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... move, that the poem is an honorific ‘photograph’ because it is ‘great’. Such an assumption annexes realism to the Reflective Sublime, which may explain why Vendler ends up thinking the text written by a pen-torch. Thus endorsed by Stevens, and disabled by Vendler, Lowell staggers into the anthology as the author of unrhymed sonnets. Slack work from the ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett

5 April 2007
... was only one Mediterranean coffee-making machine in the whole city, in the Coffee Inn in South Anne Street. And then you turn into South Leinster Street, where the bomb went off in 1974, and you wonder how many precisely it killed and why there is no memorial, and then try to remember what the bomb had sounded like – nothing much in fact, it was more the ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London

19 June 2008
... the start of the 2007 season. Eleven pitches, trampled by hard-swearing enthusiasts, were lost. Anne Woollett of the Hackney Marshes User Group complained that the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) had sequestered portions of East Marsh, a year ahead of their promise, to construct ‘a huge 12-lane motorway’. The ODA admitted that two trenches had ...

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