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No Man’s Mistress

Stephen Koss, 5 July 1984

Margot: A Life of the Countess of Oxford and Asquith 
by Daphne Bennett.
Gollancz, 442 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 575 03279 0
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... For all his ingenuity, however, the Grand Old Man did not use ‘farrago’, a term which Daphne Bennett’s new biography shows to have been singularly apposite. Although Margot wrote no fewer than seven assorted books about herself, she has hitherto lacked a full-scale biographical appraisal. One of the reasons, more daunting to serious ...

Drabble’s Progress

John Sutherland, 5 December 1991

The Gates of Ivory 
by Margaret Drabble.
Viking, 464 pp., £14.99, October 1991, 0 670 84270 2
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Happily Ever After 
by Jenny Diski.
Hamish Hamilton, 245 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 241 13169 3
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Of Love and Asthma 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Heinemann, 321 pp., £13.99, September 1991, 0 434 47993 4
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... is the novelist’s concern. The influence most frequently invoked is not her early idol Bennett but Conrad – although a Conrad with whom Drabble has certain quarrels. (‘There is plenty of confusion in real life, without inventing more of it,’ the heroine of The Gates of Ivory snippishly thinks, as she ploughs through Victory.) The Radiant ...

Father! Father! Burning Bright

Alan Bennett, 9 December 1999

... Midgley still hesitated. ‘I’m not sure if we’ve couched this in strong enough terms, Daphne.’ ‘It’s as you dictated it.’ ‘I have no doubt. But I feel more strongly about it now. Nothing else is there, Midgley?’ Midgley shook his head and went out. ‘A boy slips. Is pushed and we are talking about concussion. A broken neck. A ...

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