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Just going outside

D.J. Enright, 30 January 1992

The Birthday Boys 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 189 pp., £12.99, December 1991, 0 7156 2378 8
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... apiece is not surprising; nor that they should remember their birthdays. In Scott of the Antarctic Elspeth Huxley noted that Dr Edward Wilson’s 39th occurred during a side-trip to study the emperor penguins: ‘quite the funniest birthday I have ever spent’. In the novel, when Petty Officer ‘Taff’ Evans mentions his birthday in an attempt at ...

Samuel’s Slave

Caroline Moorehead, 15 May 1980

Lover on the Nile 
by Richard Hall.
Collins, 254 pp., £7.95, February 1980, 9780002164719
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Nellie: Letters from Africa 
by Elspeth Huxley.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 297 77706 8
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Black Country Girl in Red China 
by Esther Cheo Ying.
Hutchinson, 191 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 9780091390808
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... strange crops and a variety of poultry. In the evenings, she wrote letters to her daughter Elspeth Huxley in England. These shrewd, funny, very touching letters, sometimes gossipy, sometimes wry, form the bulk of Nellie: Letters from Africa and span 40 years, taking in the Mau Mau raids alongside all the minutiae of a dogged and staunch ...

The Old Feudalist

D.A.N. Jones, 3 July 1986

Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass 
by Karen Blixen.
Penguin, 351 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 008533 5
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Out of Africa 
by Karen Blixen.
Century, 288 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1016 2
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Isak Dinesen: The Life of Karen Blixen 
by Judith Thurman.
Penguin, 511 pp., £3.50, April 1986, 9780140096996
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... is no difference between the works of Shiva Naipaul and the literature of Karen Blixen and Elspeth Huxley. They all degrade Africans.’ Another, a distinguished Kenya novelist, ‘places Elspeth Huxley and Karen Blixen (that old feudalist!) in the tradition of “great racists like Hume, Trollope, Hegel ...

Plots

Stephen Bann, 4 November 1982

The Prince buys the Manor 
by Elspeth Huxley.
Chatto, 216 pp., £6.95, October 1982, 0 7011 2651 5
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Faultline 
by Sheila Ortiz Taylor.
Women’s Press, 120 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 0 7043 3900 5
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Scenes from Metropolitan Life 
by William Cooper.
Macmillan, 214 pp., £6.95, October 1982, 0 333 34203 8
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Constance, or Solitary Practices 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 394 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 571 11757 0
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Mickelsson’s Ghosts 
by John Gardner.
Secker, 566 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 17251 8
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Beware of pity 
by Stefan Zweig, translated by Phyllis Blewitt and Trevor Blewitt.
Cape, 354 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 224 02057 9
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... pink dust-jacket of The Prince buys the Manor to realise that there is a factual basis for Elspeth Huxley’s ‘extravaganza’. There, nestling in the wooded Cotswolds, is the familiar facade of the rather ordinary country house which has recently been dignified by the arrival of A Royal Personage. The gossip columns of the evening papers have ...

Kenya’s Dissident

Victoria Brittain, 3 June 1982

Devil on the Cross 
by Ngugi wa Thiongo.
Heinemann, 224 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 435 90200 8
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Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary 
by Ngugi wa Thiongo.
Heinemann, 232 pp., £7.50, June 1981, 9780435906504
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Writers in Politics 
by Ngugi wa Thiongo.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £6.95, June 1981, 0 435 91752 8
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Ake: The Years of Childhood 
by Wole Soyinka.
Rex Collings, 230 pp., £7.50, August 1981, 0 86036 155 1
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... In Writers and Politics Ngugi is scathing about the narrowness of such well-known writers as Elspeth Huxley and Karen Blixen whom he places in ‘the tradition of great racists like Hume, Trollope, Hegel and Trevor-Roper, all arch-priests of privilege, racism and class snobbery’. It is the violence of such sentiments that has caused some people to ...

Motoring

Frank Kermode: James Lees-Milne, 30 November 2000

Deep Romantic Chasm: Diaries 1979-81 
by James Lees-Milne, edited by Michael Bloch.
Murray, 276 pp., £22.50, October 2000, 0 7195 5608 2
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A Mingled Measure: Diaries 1953-72 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 325 pp., £12.99, October 2000, 0 7195 5609 0
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Ancient as the Hills: Diaries 1973-74 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £12.99, October 2000, 0 7195 6200 7
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... leanings’ but ‘a simple, rather stupid man’. This may have been said only to outbid Elspeth Huxley in a modesty contest, but he could sometimes be genuinely overawed by the company. Arriving at a very grand luncheon party, he saw ‘ten sophisticated guests assembled’ and would have bolted had his wife not been there to steady ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... and without the servant problem’. Tidrick disposes ably of the pseudo-liberal fantasies of Elspeth Huxley, whose books still hold their own in print, though she excuses European seizure of the Kenyan Highlands on the grounds that whites ‘instinctively’ select cooler country and ‘make for the mountain tops’, whereas ‘natives, on the ...

The Cow Bells of Kitale

Patrick Collinson: The Selwyn Affair, 5 June 2003

... younger, was the sister of Mary Arnold, Mrs Humphry Ward. Another sister was married to Leonard Huxley, son of Thomas, so Leonard’s sons, Aldous and the zoologist Julian Huxley, were Geoffrey’s cousins. When Gordon launched a fighting fund to pay for his sister-in-law’s legal expenses, Julian ...

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 5 May 2016

‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
by Robin Muir.
National Portrait Gallery, 304 pp., £40, February 2016, 978 1 85514 561 0
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‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
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... begins not with Todd, or her temporary replacement, Miss Anderson, but with the wonderfully named Elspeth Champcommunal, who took over in time for the 1916 Christmas edition, informing readers that ‘the Parisienne’s day is not complete unless she wears the colour of spring.’ Champcommunal was more fashion-conscious than Todd; she knew people like Paul ...

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