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Anne Summers

25 March 1993
Rules of Desire: Sex in Britain, World War One to the Present 
by Cate Haste.
Chatto, 356 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 9780701140168
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Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution 
by June Rose.
Faber, 272 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 05 711620 2
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Familiar Exploitation: A New Analysis of Marriage in Contemporary Western Societies 
by Christine Delphy and Diana Leonard.
Polity, 301 pp., £45, June 1992, 0 7456 0858 2
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The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies 
by Anthony Giddens.
Polity, 212 pp., £19.50, July 1992, 0 7456 1012 9
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... quarters Rose is thought to have ‘discovered’ that Stopes was a eugenist: Hall made this perfectly clear, and it has long been a commonplace of the academic literature. For Christine Delphy and DianaLeonard, the revolution is a long time coming. They believe that the changes in social and personal behaviour charted by Haste and exemplified in Stopes’s career are merely epiphenomenal. Familiar ...
12 March 1992
Will this do? 
by Auberon Waugh.
Century, 288 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7126 3734 6
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Mr Wu and Mrs Stitch: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh and Diana​ Cooper 
edited by Artemis Cooper.
Hodder, 344 pp., £19.99, October 1991, 0 340 53488 5
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... maudlin, deeply embarrassing letter telling him how much I admired him’. The letter was intended to be read ‘in the event of my pre-decease’. Even as Bron penned it, though, Evelyn was telling Diana Cooper that he had no plans to fly out to his stricken son – unless the boy died, of course, in which event he might feel obliged to put in an appearance. The only marks Auberon managed to win from ...
1 October 1998
England, England 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 272 pp., £15.99, September 1998, 0 224 05275 6
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... of a poser. This is, I’m sure, entirely by design: Julian Barnes is a writer who knows how to spot a fake. Last year, on 15 September, for example, in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana, the New Yorker ran a series of articles in praise of the Princess. Clive James put on the most astonishing performance, in a widely reprinted piece entitled ‘Requiem: The author mourns a friend ...

Fatal Non-Readers

Hilary Mantel: Marie-Antoinette

30 September 1999
The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette 
by Chantal Thomas, translated by Julie Rose.
Zone, 255 pp., £17.95, June 1999, 0 942299 39 6
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... In June this year the BBC showed a documentary called Diana’s Dresses. It was about the auction which took place at Christie’s in New York two months before the Princess’s descent into the Paris underpass. The purchasers spoke reverentially of Diana ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’

17 May 2017
Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... Commentary’s editor-in-chief Norman Podhoretz and his wife, the writer and editor Midge Decter, one of the power couples of the Upper West Side intelligentsia – the junior version of Lionel and Diana Trilling. Kazin, a Commentary contributor going back to 1945, found himself in a bobbing sea of familiar faces but left in a sour funk, fed up with that old gang of his, the unseemliness of it all ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1998

21 January 1999
... 10 January. Listen to a tape Ariel Crittall has made about her life at the request of the Imperial War Museum. She remembers meeting Unity and Diana Mitford off the train in Munich on the morning of the Night of the Long Knives and Diana saying: ‘What bliss. The first time I’ve been on a train without a nanny or a husband!’ Ariel’s ...

Some Flim-Flam with Socks

Adam Kuper: Laurens van der Post

3 January 2002
Storyteller: The Many Lives of Laurens van der Post 
by J.D.F. Jones.
Murray, 505 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 5580 9
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... at which Prince Charles would murmur: ‘How true.’ Fortunately for him, no journalist discovered that as the royal marriage began to disintegrate, Van der Post had referred both Charles and Diana to a London friend who practised (unqualified) as a Jungian analyst. The real puzzle about Van der Post is that his patently unreliable guff about Bushmen, Africa, Jung and the environment should ...

Four in a Bed

Wendy Doniger

8 February 1996
Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life 
by Marjorie Garber.
Hamish Hamilton, 608 pp., £25, January 1996, 9780241134481
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... by famous bisexuals were not mere Potemkin constructions, unconsummated heterosexual unions used to mask consummated homosexual liaisons. One of the most notorious of these, the marriage of Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre, was widely recognised, as by the gossip columnist who referred to Bernstein as a ‘musical man of all trades’, which Garber glosses for us: ‘“Musical” is ...

Ismism

Evan Kindley: Modernist Magazines

23 January 2014
The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume I: Britain and Ireland 1880-1955 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 976 pp., £35, May 2013, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894-1960 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 1088 pp., £140, July 2012, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume III: Europe 1880-1940 
edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker and Christian Weikop.
Oxford, 1471690 pp., £145, March 2013, 978 0 19 965958 6
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... Bergère presented a play called Presse-Ballet, featuring a cast of dancing newspapers and magazines. ‘Le Figaro, Gil Blas, L’Evénement and Le Gaulois danced a quadrille before the public,’ Diana Schiau-Botea writes, followed by a ‘pas mime’ (dance mime) performed by La Gazette des tribunaux, La Vie parisienne, Le Fashionable and Le Temps. In the next scene, Mlle Bardout made her ...

Aubade before Breakfast

Tom Crewe: Balfour and the Souls

30 March 2016
Balfour’s World: Aristocracy and Political Culture at the Fin de Siècle 
by Nancy Ellenberger.
Boydell, 414 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 1 78327 037 8
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...  s body was still undiscovered, lodged under Southease Bridge, when Margot Asquith, approaching eighty, published her personal tribute in the Times. The two women had been friends of a sort (Leonard disapproved): both were leading lights in famous circles of famous friends; both possessed a conversational brilliance liable to be iced with cruelty, an intensity threatening always to pitch into ...

More a Voyeur

Colm Tóibín: Elton Took Me Hostage

9 December 2019
Me 
by Elton John.
Macmillan, 376 pp., £25, October, 978 1 5098 5331 1
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... him and his band out. The album’s cover photo showed a moody, nerdy-looking guy with glasses; his face was lit, but the space around him was black. He could easily have been someone’s answer to Leonard Cohen, the songwriter as lonely, fucked-up guy. He looked like a recluse, introspective, overeducated; his voice sounded weird, the accent fake American. At the time, it took me ages to work out that ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms

6 September 2007
... naval past’. On two occasions in recent years, the programme of the Last Night has been more substantially altered, in response to sudden and unexpected events. In 1997, after the death of Princess Diana it was modified to include ‘Jupiter’ from The Planets, which contains her favourite hymn tune, ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’; and John Adams’s (unfortunately titled) ‘Short Ride in a Fast ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties

25 November 1999
History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... Right were impeccable. According to George Urban, the best inside source, he could be counted, by the mid-Eighties, among the select group of academics – Hugh Thomas, Brian Crozier, Norman Stone, Leonard Schapiro and others – lending extra-mural advice and assistance to Mrs Thatcher. Urban’s refreshingly forthright memoir, Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret Thatcher, also makes ...

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