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Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... In Selling Culture (1986), the UCLA cultural historian Debora Silverman excoriated the way Diana Vreeland, then director of the Met’s Costume Institute, had organised the Saint Laurent show as a promotional, opulent, imperialist spectacle of decadent social privilege, the aesthetic embodiment of the Reagan era. There was a room devoted to lavish ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... Laskin relies most heavily in this relatively orderly account of sexual and matrimonial chaos. Diana Trilling outlived Lionel by many a book; Mary McCarthy enjoyed the same revenge on Edmund Wilson; the witches of Eastwick (lacking only their Hardwick) have vented about Robert Lowell. To interview all the exes of Philip Rahv would be an undertaking from ...

Lyris, Clovis, Nat and Candy

Gabriele Annan: Shena Mackay, 16 July 1998

The Artist's Widow 
by Sheila Mackay.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 224 05134 2
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... an unfair example, because when she notices the shrub behaving like that, the heroine, Lyris Crane, is thinking about Edith Sitwell’s unhappy childhood. Lyris is very recently widowed and herself an artist. On another occasion she hears a suspicious noise in the hall, and ‘her slippery heart hurt as it leapt. As a dark shape bulked into the studio ...


Andrew O’Hagan: At the Olympic Park, 9 February 2012

... eat the soil now. The first time I saw London was in 1981, just after the wedding of Charles and Diana. I came to Stratford for two weeks to stay with my uncle. It smelled funny – like our ICI-dominated conurbation back home – and it surprised me that a city so full of telegenic hats and pristine flags could also smell of wet coal. But when I went back ...


Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist, 22 May 2008

... my homosexuality, that the terrifying, dominating and truly monstrous woman who had done so was Diana Graa. According to Train, Mrs Graa convinced me I couldn’t satisfy her fiendish, feminine desires – convinced me I was no good. Or at least not as good as my older brother Bob. Bob the true child prodigy, Bob the one with perfect pitch etc. Sad to ...

I am Prince Mishkin

Mark Ford, 23 April 1987

‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... to American poetry ‘the prophetic consciousness it had lost since the conclusion of Hart Crane’s The Bridge’. From the first Howl had a kind of totemic significance, partly as a result of its trial for obscenity, and partly because it drew so clearly and cleverly the lines of battle between the hips and the squares, the holy bums and the ...

Wire him up to a toaster

Seamus Perry: Ordinary Carey, 7 January 2021

A Little History of Poetry 
by John Carey.
Yale, 303 pp., £14.99, March 2020, 978 0 300 23222 6
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... of the rich’, and nothing rouses his own gift for truculence so much as a wealthy dimwit – Diana Cooper, for instance, whose ‘capacity for abstract thought’ he memorably declared to be ‘roughly that of a strawberry mousse’ – unless it is what Orwell called the ‘pansy left’. Spender belonged to this class, the antics of which, Carey once ...


Perry Anderson, 8 November 1990

Storia Notturna: Una Decifrazione del Sabba 
by Carlo Ginzburg.
Einaudi, 320 pp., lire 45,000, August 1989, 9788806115098
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... display this motif – as do Cinderella, the most far-flung of all folk-tales, and the Chinese crane-dance. Its symbolic meaning is a journey to the world of the dead. But if the pervasive recurrence of this motif belongs to a unitary Eurasian mythology, it is anchored in a universal human experience, ‘the self-image of the body’. Asymmetrical ...

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