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Warrior Women

Patrick Wormald, 19 June 1986

Women in Anglo-Saxon England and the Impact of 1066 
by Christine Fell, Cecily Clark and Elizabeth Williams.
British Museum/Blackwell, 208 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 7141 8057 2
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... was horrible or a great improvement on the present: all was grist to the political mill. Professor Fell is much too good a scholar to write with a political purpose, but this will not save her from being classed with the reactionaries. The message of this book is expressed at the end of the Introduction: ‘It is salutary to remember that scholarship does not ...

Grendel gongan

Richard North, 10 October 1991

The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature 
by Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £30, June 1991, 0 521 37438 3
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... remnants of English paganism, are among other themes eloquently handled. There is a fine essay by Christine Fell on Anglo-Saxon perceptions of transience, showing what is unique in the Old English elegies. In his discussion of the Old English ‘Genesis’ and ‘Exodus’ poems, Malcolm Godden gives fresh insights into the way a people recently ...

Year of the Viking

Patrick Wormald, 17 July 1980

The Vikings 
by James Graham-Campbell and D. Kidd.
British Museum, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 7141 1352 2
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The Viking World 
edited by James Graham-Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 220 pp., £11.95, March 1980, 0 906459 04 4
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The Northern World 
edited by David Wilson.
Thames and Hudson, 248 pp., £15, February 1980, 0 500 25070 7
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by Magnus Magnusson.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £10, May 1980, 0 370 30272 9
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The Vikings 
by Johannes Bronsted.
Penguin, 347 pp., £1.95, April 1980, 0 14 020459 8
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Viking Age Sculpture 
by Richard Bailey.
Collins, 288 pp., £10.95, February 1980, 0 00 216228 8
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The Viking Age in Denmark 
by Klaus Randsborg.
Duckworth, 206 pp., £7.95, February 1980, 0 7156 1466 5
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... James Graham-Campbell’s volumes, and James Graham-Campbell writes for David Wilson’s, while Christine Fell is, as it were, the religious affairs correspondent for each of them. Magnus Magnusson’s ‘book of the film’ is without even a foreword by David Wilson, and is pitched at a more popular and chatty level, but otherwise shares many features ...


Eleanor Birne: Toni Morrison, 19 August 2004

by Toni Morrison.
Vintage, 202 pp., £6.99, August 2004, 0 09 945549 8
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... smart Indian couples and Rasta men, one of them carrying his son on his shoulders. At 7.30 a hush fell on the hall. The organiser gave a short, breathless speech; and then the crowd was up on its feet to watch Toni Morrison glide onto the stage. The audience applauded everything. They applauded when she announced that her son was in the room, and then the son ...

Feast of Darks

Christine Stansell: Whistler, 23 October 2003

Whistler, Women and Fashion 
by Margaret MacDonald and Susan Grace Galassi et al.
Yale, 243 pp., £35, May 2003, 0 300 09906 1
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Whistler and His Mother: An Unexpected Relationship 
by Sarah Walden.
Gibson Square, 242 pp., £15.99, July 2003, 1 903933 28 5
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... intellect and gravity; he fluttered about among the latest fashions. When the French painters fell in love with Japanese prints, Whistler fell in love with them too, and slapped Japanese motifs all over his paintings, as Sickert observed: ‘Japanese fans were arranged on English shelves, and English ladies . . . were ...

Such Little Trousers

Lavinia Greenlaw: Pamela Hansford Johnson, 21 March 2019

This Bed Thy Centre 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 288 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7985 6
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An Impossible Marriage 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7980 1
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The Last Resort 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7994 8
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The Holiday Friend 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7987 0
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... As before, teenagers gather on deckchairs on the Common on summer evenings and boys play ukuleles. Christine is a teenager, but far more sophisticated than Elsie. Her boyfriend, Leslie, who wears purple Oxfords, gets excited about the rumour of a brothel in Balham. ‘I was six months older than he and had read more. I said I had always imagined there might be ...

Winter Facts

Lorna Sage, 4 April 1996

by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Carcanet, 172 pp., £9.95, February 1996, 1 85754 222 3
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... Christine Brooke-Rose’s story of how this new book came to be is that she set out to write about her life, and instead produced a kind of antibiography. It’s described in the jacket’s blurb by Carcanet as ‘an autobiographical novel with a difference’ which ‘uses life material to compose a third-person fiction ...

Dingy Quadrilaterals

Ian Gilmour: The Profumo Case, 19 October 2006

Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir 
by David Profumo.
Murray, 291 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 7195 6608 8
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... a leading role in the West End aged 15, and before long went to Hollywood. Back in England she fell ‘instantly’ in love with the 33-year-old film producer Anthony Havelock-Allan, marrying him three years later. They had two sons; the older one had Down’s syndrome and the other is a judge. She never criticised Havelock-Allan, but David, evidently ...

Really fantastic

A.D. Nuttall, 18 November 1982

A Rhetoric of the Unreal: Studies in Narrative and Structure, especially of the Fantastic 
by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Cambridge, 380 pp., £25, October 1981, 0 521 22561 2
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... If Christine Brooke-Rose had stayed in Oxford, instead of migrating to France, she might have been rather like Helen Gardner. Her new book is written with a crispness and a briskness which at once evokes a certain atmosphere: a highly intelligent unresponsiveness to theory, a fear of subjectivity (she even recalls, with obvious relish, her Oxford tutor’s phrase for mere criticism, ‘personal effusions ...

No Peep of Protest

Barbara Newman: Medieval Marriage, 19 July 2018

Conduct Becoming: Good Wives and Husbands in the Later Middle Ages 
by Glenn Burger.
Pennsylvania, 262 pp., £50, September 2017, 978 0 8122 4960 6
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... he states, to benefit the second husband she would take after his death.* Other specimens include Christine de Pizan’s Treasure of the City of Ladies, Philippe de Mézières’s On the Virtue of the Sacrament of Marriage, a Middle English work called How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, and many more. The wife with the broken nose is typical of the ...

Both wish to rule

Catriona Seth: Empress Maria Theresa, 3 November 2022

Maria Theresa: The Habsburg Empress in Her Time 
by Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, translated by Robert Savage.
Princeton, 1045 pp., £35, March, 978 0 691 17906 3
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... Maria Theresa​ Walburga Amalia Christine, as she was baptised in Vienna in 1717, did not expect to become queen – or ‘female king’ (rex femina) as she was known in several of her many lands. After observing the ravages of the War of the Spanish Succession, Charles VI issued the Pragmatic Sanction, an edict which aimed to ensure that his (as yet unborn) children – even his daughters – would stand in line to inherit his kingdoms ...

Nothing Nice about Them

Terry Eagleton: The Brontës, 4 November 2010

The Brontës: Tales of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal 
edited by Christine Alexander.
Oxford, 620 pp., £12.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 282763 0
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... selfish reasons, coolly lies through his teeth, informing them that their ‘sweet little boy’ fell down as they were playing together. That his wrath springs from a very Charlotte-like contempt for the unwashed hordes around Haworth is confirmed by the provincial, distastefully plebeian quality of the dinner (roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mashed ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: The Weiner Trilogy, 29 August 2013

... He won Schumer’s congressional seat when Schumer ran for the Senate in 1998. In Washington he fell in line, and voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. He made a failed bid for the Democratic nomination for New York mayor in 2005, remembered mostly for a neighbourhood sanitation programme called ‘Weiner’s Cleaners’ (the name has now been scrubbed of ...

A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe, 26 April 2012

... party in Paris during the German occupation’ (Resistance party?), he became the lover of Christine, a young black woman who would end up a follower of Malcolm X. Monroe, it turned out, was the only white star who had ever interested Christine. In fact she identified with her: ‘She’s been hurt. She knows the ...

Watch your tongue

Marina Warner, 20 August 1992

Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love 
by Howard Bloch.
Chicago, 308 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 0 226 05973 1
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Women of the Renaissance 
by Margaret King.
Chicago, 328 pp., £13.50, December 1991, 0 226 43618 7
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The Lady as Saint: A Collection of French Hagiographical Romances of the 13th Century 
by Brigitte Cazelles.
Pennsylvania, 320 pp., £35, November 1991, 9780812230994
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Heavenly Supper: The Story of Maria Janis 
by Fulvio Tomizza, translated by Anne Jacobson Shutte.
Chicago, 184 pp., £19.95, December 1991, 0 226 80789 4
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Oppositional Voices: Women as Writers and Translators of Literature in the English Renaissance 
by Tina Krontiris.
Routledge, 192 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 415 06329 9
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... fall outside her chosen century. As does the most famous exponent of exemplary feminist biography, Christine de Pizan, who rebutted male poets’ laments on female frailty, with her own City of Ladies which gave room to heroines from Circe to Deborah. Cazelles argues strongly that Christine did not insist on woman as victim ...

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