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Rinse it in dead champagne

Colm Tóibín: The women who invented beauty

5 February 2004
War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry 
by Lindy Woodhead.
Virago, 498 pp., £20, April 2003, 1 86049 974 0
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Diana Vreeland 
by Eleanor Dwight.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £30, December 2002, 0 688 16738 1
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... and steely attention to detail. Vreeland is less fortunate in her biographer. Lindy Woodhead is at all times sensible on the subject of the two cosmetics queens, but the same can’t be said for EleanorDwight, who loses the run of herself a great deal. ‘When they arrived in London in 1929, Diana was 26 and a mother,’ Dwight writes. ‘She was madly in love with her handsome husband and was ...

Studied Luxury

Margaret Anne Doody

20 April 1995
No Gifts from Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton 
by Shari Benstock.
Hamish Hamilton, 546 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 241 13298 3
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Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life 
by Eleanor Dwight.
Harry Adams, 335 pp., $39.95, May 1994, 0 8109 3971 1
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... of her life, Wharton, under the influence of a Roman Catholic servant, was turning philosophically and not just formally towards Catholicism. This matter remains to be explored by future biographers. EleanorDwight’s Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life is a pretty thing; it is a pity that some of its illustrative photographs, especially of the oil paintings and gardens, could not have been in colour ...

Gatsby of the Boulevards

Hermione Lee: Morton Fullerton

8 March 2001
Mysteries of Paris: The Quest for Morton Fullerton 
by Marion Mainwaring.
New England, 327 pp., £23, March 2001, 1 58465 008 7
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... for 25 years; the book that was supposed to have been completed in 1988 is only now being published. The biographical work that has been done on Wharton since 1975, for instance by Cynthia Wolff, EleanorDwight and Shari Benstock (who is at pains in her book to correct some inaccuracies by Lewis) is barely mentioned, as if no one existed in this contest over Fullerton except Lewis and Mainwaring. It ...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland

2 April 1987
The Great Pretender 
by James Atlas.
Viking, 239 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 9780670814619
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The Position of the Body 
by Richard Stern.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $21.95, November 1986, 0 8101 0730 9
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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World 
by Charles Mungoshi.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 434 48166 1
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Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 162 Years after his Lordship’s Death 
by Amanda Prantera.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 9780224024235
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... creative writing teacher, Morgan Ames, and his short stint at Balliol as a Rhodes scholar in which he does nothing but sink pints of bitter and have an unsatisfactory relationship with a girl called Eleanor – there is some enjoyable Anglophobia in this second half of the novel. At least he dodges Vietnam: or, given the peculiar aimlessness of his life, it might be fairer to say he fails to engage with ...

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