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My Friend Sam

Jane Miller, 16 August 1990

The rock cried out 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 303 pp., £5.99, June 1990, 1 85381 140 8
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Can’t quit you, baby 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 256 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 1 85381 149 1
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... The landscape of Ellen Douglas’s Mississippi is designed to keep us out, to resist recognition; and the lines of its knobs and bluffs and ridges may be deciphered only by those who have been born and bred amongst them. For the rest of us they are edged but also obscured by lovingly named plants, by smilax, trillium, scuppernog vines and plum thickets ...

Love in a Dark Time

Colm Tóibín: Oscar Wilde, 19 April 2001

The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde 
edited by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis.
Fourth Estate, 1270 pp., £35, November 2000, 1 85702 781 7
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... first two months of 1895 were busy for Oscar Wilde. In late January he was in Algiers with Alfred Douglas. He wrote to Robert Ross: ‘There is a great deal of beauty here. The Kabyle boys are quite lovely. At first we had some difficulty procuring a proper civilised guide. But now it is all right and Bosie and I have taken to haschish: it is quite ...

Diary

Alan Hollinghurst: In Houston, 18 March 1999

... bringing down their prey with the minimum of charge in the exactest area. We see them demolish the Douglas Building in downtown Omaha: rough brick side-walls and grandiose corniced and pilastered street façades. One set of charges weakens the building, a second set brings it down. Each victim looks indescribably obsolete in its last erect moments; yet the ...

A House Full of No One

Colm Tóibín, 6 February 1997

Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 305 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 224 04390 0
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Atlantis 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 95 pp., £7, July 1996, 0 224 04400 1
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This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death 
by Harold Brodkey.
Fourth Estate, 177 pp., £14.99, November 1996, 1 85702 546 6
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PWA: Looking Aids in the Face 
by Oscar Moore.
Picador, 185 pp., £6.99, November 1996, 0 330 35193 1
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... acting in the same way almost as the natural world in Mark Doty’s book, is Brodkey’s wife, Ellen Schwamm. ‘She insists that she regrets nothing. This is her discipline and self-assertion when, openly or not, one is in her charge.’ And: ‘I lived through Ellen’s will from time to time during those days. I had ...

Shopping in Lucerne

E.S. Turner, 9 June 1994

Addicted to Romance: The Life and Adventures of Elinor Glyn 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 306 pp., £20, June 1994, 0 233 98866 1
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Mother of Oscar: The Life of Jane Francesca Wilde 
by Joy Melville.
Murray, 308 pp., £19.99, June 1994, 0 7195 5102 1
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... A gently teasing picture of her appears in The Picture of Dorian Gray. According to Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar greatly exaggerated his mother’s mental powers and social standing, but ‘really adored her and spoke of her always with the greatest reverence and respect’. Her literary earnings, largely from translations, were meagre. Astonishingly, she ...

You gu gu and I gu gu

Andrew O’Hagan: Vaslav Nijinsky, 20 July 2000

The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky 
edited by Joan Acocella and Kyril Fitzylon.
Allen Lane, 312 pp., £20, August 1999, 0 7139 9354 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £12, May 2000, 0 333 76622 9
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... through the window in a jump so poignant, so contrary to all the law of flight and balance’. Ellen Terry, in her book The Russian Ballet, says this taking on of parts was the only way for Nijinsky to be even remotely himself: ‘A puppet, a half-animal creature, a faun, a character from the Commedia dell’Arte or even a Green boy in love with himself ...

Georgian eyes are smiling

Frank Kermode, 15 September 1988

Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... marriage he triangulated was Janet Achurch: yet another, on whom he worked mostly by letter, was Ellen Terry. And there were more actresses, among them Mrs Patrick Campbell, some married and some not. He had a taste for actresses, and for other distinguished women. He refused to follow the way of the world and ‘substitute custom for conscience’, but some ...

Does anyone have the right to sex?

Amia Srinivasan, 22 March 2018

... to kill anyone. (Nikolas Cruz, who gunned down 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, vowed in a comment on a YouTube video that ‘Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten.’) Feminist commentators were quick to point out what should have been obvious: that no woman was obligated to have ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... been uncovered by a team of Avon and Somerset detectives originally formed in August 1987 after Douglas Hurd, then Home Secretary, asked Jim Sharples, then Deputy Chief Constable of the Avon and Somerset Force, to investigate new alibi evidence submitted on behalf of Paul Hill. Two years later, as a result of the inquiry into that evidence. Hurd referred ...

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