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Russian Women

Penelope Fitzgerald, 1 June 1989

On the Golden Porch 
by Tatyana Tolstaya, translated by Antonia Bouis.
Virago, 199 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85381 078 9
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Balancing Acts: Contemporary Stories by Russian Women 
edited by Helena Goscilo.
Indiana, 337 pp., $39.95, April 1989, 0 253 31134 9
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... rustling, golden in the sun, pale green in the shade, a thousand layers thick ... to the north, white roses and mushrooms, to the west, the mosquitoed raspberry patch, to the east, the bilberry patch, bees, the precipice, the lake, the bridges. They say that early in the morning they saw a completely naked man at the lake. Honestly. Don’t tell Mother. Do ...

The Real Johnny Hall

Penelope Fitzgerald, 3 October 1985

Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall 
by Michael Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 386 pp., £13.95, June 1985, 0 241 11539 6
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... which Baker evidently feels, about the discrepancy here. John was born as Marguerite Antonia Radclyffe-Hall in a house in Bournemouth called Sunny Lawn. She was not a masculine-looking child; Sir Arthur Sullivan called her ‘Toddles’. But Toddles suffered deeply from the division between her rarely-seen father and her violent, hysterical ...

It’s the Oil

Jim Holt: Iraq’s Lucrative Mess, 18 October 2007

... foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy,’ the analyst Antonia Juhasz wrote in the New York Times in March, after the draft law was leaked. ‘They could even ride out Iraq’s current “instability” by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi government is at its weakest, and then wait at least two years before ...

Gloomy Sunday Afternoons

Caroline Maclean: Modernists at the Movies, 10 September 2009

The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period 
by Laura Marcus.
Oxford, 562 pp., £39, December 2007, 978 0 19 923027 3
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... earliest film histories is an account of Edison’s life and inventions by Dickson and his sister Antonia. The book includes a photo of a monkey that ‘laughed, actually laughed’ at a filmstrip in a Kinetoscope. By associating the birth and development of cinema with the evolution of the primate, the Dicksons anticipated avant-garde film theories of the ...

The Dark Side of Brazilian Conviviality

Perry Anderson, 24 November 1994

... had radicalised intellectual opposition without yet repressing it, the Faculty on Rua Maria Antonia was an unforgettable place. An inconspicuous, squat building near the centre of the city, with a dingy façade and lugubrious interior, surrounded by a tangle of bars and lanchonetes into which its life continuously spilt out, it was like some magical ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland, 6 December 1984

Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... its wet, warm arms, showering her with thousands of greedy, rough kisses, blinding her with the white zigzag explosions of uncountable lightning bolts, deafening her with ear-splitting rolls of thunder ... Then already hopelessly soaked, she stood up straight, offering her body to the powerful surge of water. For an instant the thought crossed her mind to ...

Getting the Undulation

Benjamin Lytal: Willa Cather’s Letters, 20 February 2014

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather 
edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout.
Knopf, 715 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 307 95930 0
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... feel the weight of an Indian baby hanging to her back as she climbed. Cather habitually equates white American dreamers with vanished Native Americans. In A Lost Lady young Niel Herbert observes the decline of Mrs Forrester, the grande dame of Sweet Water, Colorado and retroactively lionises her first husband, the rich old Captain Forrester, who ‘dreamed ...


Rebecca Solnit: After the Oil Spill, 5 August 2010

... the territory the maps show, some probably leaking, but no one is monitoring them. Darryl, a big white-haired guy with a Southern accent and a slight Santa affect, showed me another map, an aerial photograph of a portion of the Louisiana coast, on which you could see all the channels the oil and gas industry has cut through the wetlands, creating straight ...


Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... responded by sending in an astonishing £25,000.’ There were messages of endorsement from Lady Antonia Fraser and the feisty historian Andrew Roberts; the Economist saluted the new edition as ‘impeccably postmodern’; 5000 free copies were distributed to schools, a Trojan horse for early indoctrination in traditional values that would be reinforced by ...


Angela Carter, 2 October 1980

... with the long, blond plaits; bride with the ‘splash of red carnations on the bodice of her white wedding gown’; in dinner jacket and monacle; pregnant, looking like ‘a rat dragging a stolen egg’. And so on. But she gives the impression of telling all, in a literary form unclassifiable except as a version of what television has accustomed us to ...

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