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Anita Brookner

3 February 1983
Where I Used to Play on the Green 
by Glyn Hughes.
Gollancz, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 575 02997 8
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Virginie 
by John Hawkes.
Chatto, 212 pp., £8.50, January 1983, 0 7011 3908 0
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Ancient Enemies 
by Elizabeth North.
Cape, 230 pp., £7.95, November 1982, 0 224 02052 8
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Dancing Girls 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 224 01835 3
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Master of the Game 
by Sidney Sheldon.
Collins, 495 pp., £8.95, January 1983, 0 00 222614 6
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... is quite seamless and the effect very strange. That the strangeness attains the force of credibility indicates a high degree of expertise in the author. Ancient Enemies is a new departure for ElizabethNorth. She has, before, left tantalising trails of unexpected connections and consequences; she has also, notably in Everything in the Garden, proved that she can produce a masterly pastiche of ...
7 February 1980
The Wapshot Chronicle 
by John Cheever.
Harper and Row, 549 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 06 337007 7
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Florence Avenue 
by Elizabeth North.
Gollancz, 158 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 575 02680 4
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McKay’s Bees 
by Thomas McMahon.
Constable, 198 pp., £4.95, November 1980, 0 09 463120 4
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The Siesta 
by Patrice Chaplin.
Duckworth, 174 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7156 1459 2
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... nothingness, or have never known anything else. Not all are so successful. The English in particular have difficulty in finding a firm standing ground from which to view their disintegrating scene. ElizabethNorth’s Florence Avenue takes a group of survivors from the flower-children period. They now have teenage children themselves and have made various half-hearted adjustments to the bourgeois world ...
2 August 2012
... for politically salient diversities in matters of language, religion, ethnicity, sacrosanct cultural and legal norms, or distinct territorial enclaves. It follows that the revival of separatism north of the border should be seen as more than a result of changes within Scotland itself. Rising Scottish nationalism has also been a function of a more widespread weakening in the sense of UK belonging ...

Why Darcy would not have married Elizabeth​ Bennet

Linda Colley: Women in Georgian England

3 September 1998
The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Victorian England 
by Amanda Vickery.
Yale, 436 pp., £19.95, May 1998, 0 300 07531 6
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... a different matter. One of this book’s many virtues as social and not just women’s history is that it conveys some of the divisions operating within the landed class. Its prime gentry heroine, Elizabeth Parker of Alkincoats, later Elizabeth Shackleton, is shown moving among a wide array of lesser landed, trading and professional acquaintances. But, as Vickery points out, she was ‘not on visiting ...

Dynasties

Antonia Fraser

3 April 1980
The House of Stuart 
by Maurice Ashley.
Dent, 237 pp., £9.95, January 1980, 0 460 04458 3
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... talks so glibly about the composite nature of the Royal house. What, for example, were the ‘Tudor’ characteristics – those possessed in common by Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I? Ruthlessness? At first, that seems a promising answer. After all, even Edward VI before his premature death managed to exhibit his father’s notorious ‘frown’. Unfortunately, the ...

Joint-Stock War

Valerie Pearl

3 May 1984
The Age of ElizabethEngland Under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 
by D.M. Palliser.
Longman, 450 pp., £13.95, April 1983, 0 582 48580 0
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After the Armada: Elizabethan England and the Struggle for Western Europe 1588-1595 
by R.B. Wernham.
Oxford, 613 pp., £32.50, February 1984, 0 19 822753 1
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The Defeat of the Spanish Armada 
by Garrett Mattingly.
Cape, 384 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 224 02070 6
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The First Elizabeth 
by Carolly Erickson.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 333 36168 7
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The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson 
edited by Ian Cowan and Duncan Shaw.
Scottish Academic Press, 261 pp., £14.50, March 1983, 0 7073 0261 7
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... Dr Palliser’s The Age of Elizabeth is the latest volume in a series which seeks to relate English and British economic and social history from the Anglo-Saxons to the Welfare State. Its initial and terminal dates as given in the title ...
2 October 1997
Elizabeth​ Gaskell: The Early Years 
by John Chapple.
Manchester, 492 pp., £25, May 1997, 0 7190 2550 8
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... The daughter of Samuel Holland, a prosperous Cheshire farmer and land agent, the wife of William Stevenson, a scholar and writer of some reputation, and the mother of Elizabeth Gaskell, one of the most celebrated Victorian novelists, Elizabeth Stevenson has vanished. No portrait survives, no letter or scrap of journal, no cherished family anecdotes, no remembered trace of ...

The South

Colm Tóibín

4 August 1994
One Art: The Selected Letters of Elizabeth​ Bishop 
Chatto, 668 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 7011 6195 7Show More
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... in bloom. The city was full of desire. It was hot. I stayed for a while in a narrow street near the Flamingo Park and went out some days to swim at Copacabana. It was that time between the death of Elizabeth Bishop and the appearance of the first biography and this volume of letters, when the ordinary reader on this side of the Atlantic knew very little about her. I did not know that for 15 years she ...
24 January 1985
The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth​ David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... Be modern – worship food,’ exhorts the cover of The Official Foodie Handbook. One of the ironies resulting from the North/South dichotomy of our planet is the appearance of this odd little book, a vade mecum to a widespread and unashamed cult of conspicuous gluttony in the advanced industrialised countries, at just the ...

The Real Price of Everything

Hilary Mantel: The Many Lives of Elizabeth​ Marsh

21 June 2007
The Ordeal of Elizabeth​ Marsh: A Woman in World History 
by Linda Colley.
HarperPress, 363 pp., £25, June 2007, 978 0 00 719218 2
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... epicentre, subverting custom with the shock of the new, violently throwing together races and belief systems, sending a tremor through individual lives, wrecking certainties, reorganising identities. Elizabeth Marsh was one of those shaken by the times she lived through, her personal ‘ordeal’ intimately connected with global forces beyond the grasp of any individual then living. Conceived in Port Royal ...

Secret-Keeping

Rosemarie Bodenheimer: Elizabeth​ Gaskell

16 August 2007
The Works of Elizabeth​ Gaskell 
edited by Joanne Shattock et al.
Pickering & Chatto, 4716 pp., £900, May 2006, 9781851967773
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... The new Pickering and Chatto edition of the complete works of Elizabeth Gaskell arrived just in time to mark a century since the publication of the previous standard text, A.W. Ward’s Knutsford Edition of 1906. In the meantime, Gaskell has been transformed from a ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England

18 October 2007
Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... refusal, gave her daughter an example of how to behave. Mary spent her life trying to undo the wrong done to her mother and her mother’s world which Henry’s first annulment crisis represented. Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, was equal to Katherine in stubbornness and her definite superior in intelligence: the only one of Henry’s six wives whose marriage to the king was regularly called her ...

I was Mary Queen of Scots

Colm Tóibín: Biographical empathy

21 October 2004
My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots 
by John Guy.
Harper Perennial, 574 pp., £8.99, August 2004, 1 84115 753 8
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Elizabeth​ and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens 
by Jane Dunn.
Harper Perennial, 592 pp., £8.99, March 2004, 9780006531920
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... I actually was Mary Queen of Scots, and as I made my way around our small, semi-detached house, I had no difficulty imagining that I was imprisoned with my ladies-in-waiting in a damp castle in the North of England, depressed and stripped of all my power, with only memories to treasure. Unlike Nancy Mitford, however, I was too sad and too regal to masturbate. Since her death in 1587, Mary Stuart has ...

Write to me

Danny Karlin

11 January 1990
The Brownings’ Correspondence. Vol. VII: March-October 1843 
edited by Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson.
Athlone, 429 pp., £60, December 1989, 0 485 30027 3
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... all of them, where possible, re-edited from the original manuscripts – is one of those epic tasks of scholarship before which most of us simply blench. Add to Browning’s letters those of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who lived 22 years less but corresponded twice as much in a hand half as legible; add to that all the letters to both the Brownings which can be found: and the task grows ...
21 September 2016
This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World 
by Jerry Brotton.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 241 00402 9
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... the Ottoman imperial chancery put together a letter addressed to ‘Elzābet, who is the queen of the domain of Anletār’. It began a correspondence between Sultan Murad III and the most renowned Elizabeth, most sacred queen, and noble prince of the most mighty worshippers of Jesus, most wise governor of the causes and affairs of the people and family of Nazareth, cloud of most pleasant rain, and ...

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