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John Bayley

6 September 1984
The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... was released from the father figures who tyrannise Rachel, but just as rigorously if more subtly controlled by the new kinds of social and aesthetic domination, and by such bogus concepts as Clive Bell’s ‘significant form’. As Diarist, she had an assiduous zest for social goings-on of any kind, and for the places where things were happening. But she had the snob’s fatal lack of independence ...
20 November 1980
The Sickle Side of the Moon: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, 1932-1935 
edited by Nigel Nicolson.
Hogarth, 476 pp., £12.50, September 1979, 0 7012 0469 9
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Leave the Letters till we’re dead: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Vol. VI, 1936-41 
edited by Nigel Nicolson and Joanne​ Trautman.
Hogarth, 556 pp., £15, September 1980, 0 7012 0470 2
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The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. III: 1925-1930 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell.
Hogarth, 384 pp., £10.50, March 1980, 0 7012 0466 4
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Virginia Woolf 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Routledge, 270 pp., £7.95, September 1979, 0 7100 0189 4
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Virginia Woolf’s Major Novels: The Fables of Anon 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 252 pp., £11, April 1980, 0 300 02402 9
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... is equally disapproving of Virginia Woolf’s treatment of the other major theme of Three Guineas, war and the causes of war, a theme which was to her a kind of posthumous discussion with Julian Bell about his decision to go to Spain. She suspected his motives and could not find them altogether admirable. Nicolson’s verdict is that ‘she tried to be rational about war, but her emotion got the ...

Kitchen Devil

John Bayley

20 December 1990
Emily Brontë: A Chainless Soul 
by Katherine Frank.
Hamish Hamilton, 303 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 9780241121993
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... basic matters, while being encouraged to transpose them into adult passions and obsessions, even to the point of being able to identify with the gloriously ‘tragic and fated’ love of a Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon, enacted in the film of the book. But the real book is a kind of bible of arrested development, as must have been perceived by L.P. Hartley, no grown-up himself. Love, sex and adult ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters

24 January 2013
Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... clarion debut novel, Lie Down in Darkness, for Mademoiselle, asked the young author to a little thing he was hosting. Who was there? Oh, you know, the usual crew: Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and Hemingway’s great chum, the one he called ‘the Kraut’: Marlene Dietrich. ‘You could have knocked me over with a pin,’ Styron wrote to his aunt Edith, ‘when Leo took ...


Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007

3 January 2008
... agreement in Northern Ireland. The spotlight tempts politicians to perform; shift it and they can just get on with the job. 31 March. Jehovah’s Witnesses blitz the street and when they ring the bell I lie low until the coast is clear. I imagine they’re used to this sort of response and even when someone is unwary enough to open them the door the exchange is generally pretty curt. In one house ...

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