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Quite Nice

Diana Souhami: Fernande Olivier

13 December 2001
Loving Picasso: The Private Journal of Fernande Olivier 
edited by Marilyn McCully, translated by Christine Baker.
Abrams, 296 pp., £24, May 2001, 0 8109 4251 8
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... Fernande Olivier, like Frank Wedekind’s Lulu, sexualised all her relationships with men and served their desires while lamenting that her own were unfulfilled. She lived through her lovers in order perhaps to gain a passing sense of who she was. As each of her affairs in turn went wrong, she moved to a different man. This was a pattern she repeated until late middle age ...

Butcher, Baker, Wafer-Maker

Miri Rubin: A Medieval Mrs Beeton

8 April 2010
The Good Wife’s Guide: A Medieval Household Book 
translated by Gina Greco and Christine Rose.
Cornell, 366 pp., £16.95, March 2009, 978 0 8014 7474 3
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... him in her introduction as an urbane, amusing character. This new translation by Gina Greco and Christine Rose is the first to appear in English of the whole text. The editors have spent years on their translation, tracking down the names of animals, foods, plants, agricultural implements, kitchen gadgets and medicines, and have judged the register ...

Diary

David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991

25 January 1996
... to see us. Went on to see a new film, Uranos, in Montparnasse. Supper at the Select. Wednesday 2: Christine Jordis just returned, asked us to lunch at the Fin Gourmet, boulevard St Germain. No sooner served, Judy rushes to toilet, violently sick. Sent her back to hotel in taxi. Went to Librairie l’Escalier; tea at Pâtisserie Viennoise. Then back to ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair

21 February 2013
An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... confessed to the House of Commons that he had lied about the nature of his relationship with Christine Keeler. After Profumo’s resignation, there were two further, short-lived secretaries of state for war (Joseph Godber and James Ramsden). Within a year Harold Wilson’s incoming Labour government had abolished the post altogether, amalgamating its ...

Queening It

Jenny Diski: Nina Simone

25 June 2009
Nina Simone: The Biography 
by David Brun-Lambert.
Aurum, 346 pp., £20, February 2009, 978 1 84513 430 3
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... Matt Munro, Perry Como or Tony Bennett have been written about as tragic lives (though Chet Baker, with the sweet girlie voice that none of the divas had, probably belongs on the women’s side). Even the neurotic Sinatra is mostly known for having fun. Singing for men can be technique and a good voice, for women it has to come from bleeding ...

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