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About to Pop

Madeleine Schwartz: Kathleen Collins, 4 July 2019

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? 
by Kathleen Collins.
Granta, 192 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78378 341 0
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Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works 
by Kathleen Collins.
Ecco, 464 pp., £14, February 2019, 978 0 06 280095 4
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... Only one​ of Kathleen Collins’s stories was published before she died of breast cancer at the age of 46 in 1988. Only one of her screenplays was made into a film. That film, Losing Ground, was completed but not given a full release in her lifetime. The world did not, and still does not, leave doors open for black women artists ...

When you’d started a world war

Blake Morrison: Walter Kempowski, 20 June 2019

Homeland 
by Walter Kempowski, translated by Charlotte Collins.
Granta, 240 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 78378 352 6
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... Why has​ so little of Walter Kempowski’s work appeared in English? In Germany he published forty-odd books but only two of his novels were translated into English during his lifetime: Aus grosser Zeit (Days of Greatness) in 1978 and Hundstage (Dog Days – not to be confused with Günter Grass’s Hundejahre, Dog Years) ten years later. There was also a collection of interviews, Did You Ever See Hitler?, one of the three ‘inquiry’ volumes accompanying his autobiographical novel sequence, Deutsche Chronik, though to buy it now you’d have to fork out £144 ...

Woman in Love

Brigid Brophy, 7 February 1985

The Life of Jane Austen 
by John Halperin.
Harvester, 400 pp., December 1984, 0 7108 0518 7
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... of the deep, but it utters some common sense. The other, which predominates, is the voice of Mr Collins. Long driven to that conclusion, I came upon Professor Halperin himself, some three hundred pages into his book, pronouncing that the Rev. James Stanier Clarke, the librarian to the Prince Regent who transmitted to Jane Austen his employer’s permission ...

Well done, you forgers

John Sutherland, 7 January 1993

The Two Forgers: A Biography of Harry Buxton Forman and Thomas James Wise 
by John Collins.
Scolar, 317 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 85967 754 0
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Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship 
by Anthony Grafton.
Princeton, 157 pp., £10.75, May 1990, 0 691 05544 0
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... to go into now.’ Recent sleuthing has filled in some of the gaps. Nicholas Barker and John Collins’s A Sequel to ‘An Enquiry’ (1983) clarifies the role of Wise’s reluctant partner, Harry Buxton Forman. The forgers’ liaison is fleshed out further in the biographical The Two Forgers, which offers the fullest and most readable narrative ...
... books. Publishing houses were rumoured to be in financial difficulty – such as Penguin – and Collins were presently said to have become ‘over-heated’ in Australia. Publishers were felt to be peculiarly exposed to the fortunes of the economy, and the country, for all its oil rigs, was felt to be keeling over. It is still felt to be keeling. But the ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... had a depressing effect on her in bookshops, and as a novelist of improbable incompetence. Collins ‘said they’d have to have a typescript by mid-January’, she told Francis King, ‘so I had to sit down and write a novel and, worse still, type it’. On the reverse side of this fabric, woven from an often difficult life, is to be found the ...

Angry ’Un

Terry Eagleton, 8 July 1993

The Hand of the Arch-Sinner: Two Angrian Chronicles of Branwell Brontë 
edited by Robert Collins.
Oxford, 300 pp., £30, April 1993, 0 19 812258 6
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... a run for its money. So it was that at the age of 17 he created the kingdom of Angria, and roped Charlotte into writing chronicles about it. Emily and Anne, distressed by the macho militarism of Branwell’s fables, created the more peaceable kingdom of Gondal in a separatist gesture. The hero of the Angrian myths is Alexander Percy, anarchist and ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’, 17 November 2016

... about Grey’s ‘dark side’ and his ‘rules’; and so on. The plots of Stephen King, Jackie Collins, Dan Brown, Sylvia Day, Danielle Steel, Lee Child and James Patterson all, apparently, have a similar shape, and the curve of The Da Vinci Code is identical in its measuring out of highs and lows until the very end of the novel: Dan Brown finishes his ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... of sequels, from Margaret Dashwood, or Interference (a sequel to Sense and Sensibility by Edith Charlotte Brown, 1929) to Consequence, or Whatever Became of Charlotte Lucas (Elizabeth Newark, 1997) and Desire & Duty: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (Ted Bader and Marilyn Bader, 1997) have appeared in ...

Hard Romance

Barbara Everett, 8 February 1996

... like a good child, he chalks onto the great guns of the battery given names: ‘The Reverend Collins’, ‘General Tilney’, ‘Lady Catherine de Bugg’. Something in the image hints at the mingling of pastoral and violence, of passion and illiteracy which can go to make up both human bonding and human learning, especially in Kipling’s late stories ...

A Perfect Eel

Elaine Showalter: ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’, 21 June 2012

Lady Audley’s Secret 
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, edited by Lyn Pykett.
Oxford, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2012, 978 0 19 957703 3
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... and eclectic reader’ of Shakespeare, Scott, Byron, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray and Wilkie Collins, but modelled her first literary efforts ‘chiefly upon Jane Eyre’ and believed that Charlotte Brontë was the most passionate Victorian novelist. Braddon also enjoyed the popular fiction in penny magazines and was a ...

How Wicked – Horrid

David Blackbourn: Two Duff Kings, 15 July 1999

Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser’s Early Life, 1859-88 
by John Röhl, translated by Jeremy Gaines.
Cambridge, 979 pp., £45, October 1999, 0 521 49752 3
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... To his mother, the daughter of Queen Victoria, he was ‘Willie’, or ‘Willy’. His sister Charlotte, with characteristic charm, gave him the pet name ‘Nigger’. To the British, the man who ruled Germany as Wilhelm II from his accession in 1888 until his abdication thirty years later has always been simply ‘the Kaiser ...

Descent into Oddness

Dinah Birch: Peter Rushforth’s long-awaited second novel, 6 January 2005

Pinkerton’s Sister 
by Peter Rushforth.
Scribner, 729 pp., £18.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5235 7
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... Tennyson, George MacDonald, Charles Reade, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Wilkie Collins, Mary Braddon, Conan Doyle, Du Maurier, and plenty more. Her literary memory is a compendium of every syllabus in Victorian literature that could be contrived. Alice is the woman in white, or Lewis Carroll’s little girl lost in a looking-glass. Still ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... Fraser ‘Frazer’? Above all, what credence can one attach to a student of the subject who lists Charlotte Charke as ‘Clarke’, thus defacing one of the most interesting names in the entire history – and one finely turned to fictional ends in Maureen Duffy’s The Microcosm (1966)? Many of these errors are repeated several times, as are the misspellings ...

New Women

Patricia Beer, 17 July 1980

The Odd Women 
by George Gissing.
Virago, 336 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 86068 140 8
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The Beth Book 
by Sarah Grand.
Virago, 527 pp., £3.50, January 1980, 0 86068 088 6
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... new sexual type had in fact taken place forty years earlier when, in The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins offset his pretty, insipid, helpless heroine by a second heroine who was none of these things: the great Marian Halcombe, whose charm subdued not only the equally great Count Fosco in the book but also such men of the readership as Swinburne and Edward ...

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