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Mozart’s Cross

Brigid Brophy

7 August 1986
The Letters of Mozart and his Family 
translated by Emily Anderson.
Macmillan, 1038 pp., £38.50, November 1985, 0 333 39832 7
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... response. The letters exchanged by the Mozart family have the purpose of many 18th-century letters: to sustain intimacy and to create the intimacy of shared experience even through separations. EmilyAnderson’s masterly rendering into English of the Mozarts’ German and, when it occurs at length, Italian was first issued in 1938 in three volumes. In 1966, by which time EmilyAnderson was dead ...

A Little Electronic Dawn

James Francken: Perlman, Anderson​ and Heller

24 August 2000
The Reasons I Won't Be Coming 
by Elliot Perlman.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.99, July 2000, 0 571 19699 3
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Turn of the Century 
by Kurt Anderson.
Headline, 819 pp., £7.99, February 2000, 0 7472 6800 2
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Slab Rat 
by Ted Heller.
Abacus, 332 pp., £10.99, March 2000, 0 349 11264 9
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... Clare, but it slips beneath the carpet and is never delivered. Letters have been an uncertain way to communicate in fiction. But the e-mails that have appeared in recent novels are no more reliable: Emily Piper, the skittish heroine of Sylvia Brownrigg’s The Metaphysical Touch, worries that sending a message to an e-mail address – an unknown place with no street name or number – is as chancy as ...

Doris and Me

Jenny Diski

8 January 2015
... Arnold Wesker and his wife Dusty. Naomi Mitchison. Ted Hughes, Christopher Logue (whose recording of poetry and jazz, Red Bird, I’d bought with my pocket money at St Christopher’s), Lindsay Anderson, Fenella Fielding. A Portuguese couple, described to me as ‘a poet in exile and his glamorous wife’, would remain friends of Doris, about the only ones who did, until her death. R.D. Laing was a ...

Diary

Jenny Diski: Back to School

30 April 2009
... m a non-believer in the recuperative power of easily expressed instinctive feeling. Even so, I teared up at Michelle Obama tearing up, as she said, speaking to a group of girls at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson comprehensive school in Islington: ‘All of you are jewels. When I look at a performance like this, it just reminds me that there are diamonds like this all over the world.’ She told them that ...

Timo of Corinth

Julian Symons

6 August 1992
A Choice of Murder 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 216 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7206 0832 5
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Portrait of the Artist’s Wife 
by Barbara Anderson.
Secker, 309 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 9780436200977
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Turtle Moon 
by Alice Hoffman.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 333 57867 8
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Double Down 
by Tom Kakonis.
Macmillan, 308 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 333 57492 3
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... of what a ministerial encomium calls ‘New Zealand’s most venerated writer’, Jack Macalister. Present is wife Sarah, who urges those present to read his books, the Macalister girls Dora and Emily, twenty years apart in age, and Jack’s friend and first publisher Charles Bremner, who was also Sarah’s lover. Funeral and reception over, we go back to childhood, when all three main characters ...
4 November 1993
The Green Knight 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 472 pp., £15.99, September 1993, 0 7011 6030 6
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... take them at all) is raised, even before we get to know them, by their names. In The Green Knight we have to contend with Lucas and Clement Graffe, Harvey Blacket, Bellamy James and his dog Anax, the Anderson women – Louise and her daughters Alethea (Aleph), Sophia (Sefton) and Moira (Moy) – Emil and Clive and the Adwardens. A reader alert to social differences will find such names far from neutral ...

Crossing the Border

Emily​ Witt: How to Cross the Border

15 August 2019
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions 
by Valeria Luiselli.
Fourth Estate, 128 pp., £6.99, October 2017, 978 0 00 827192 3
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Lost Children Archive 
by Valeria Luiselli.
Fourth Estate, 385 pp., £16.99, March, 978 0 00 829002 3
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... and earnest, listening to their parents’ oral histories of the Apaches and getting concerned about the stories they hear on the news. While they drive, the family listen to Kendrick Lamar, Laurie Anderson and David Bowie. The couple seem like cool parents who will raise charming and precocious children; their break-up just adds to their refusal to adhere to convention. One day, in a bookshop, the ...

Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates

6 February 2003
Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... Davenport in Young Hearts Crying (1984) is an intensely ambitious young poet, unhappily married, who served in the Air Force at the end of the war, and hates his job. In The Easter Parade, one of Emily Grimes’s unhappy relationships is with Jack Flanders, a divorced writer who served in the war and is unable to repeat the success of his first book. Yates sent his soul out into the world in rather ...

Forty-Eighters

Peter Pulzer

4 September 1986
Little Germany: Exile and Asylum in Victorian England 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Oxford, 304 pp., £17.50, July 1986, 0 19 212239 8
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... Johannes Ronge introduced Froebel’s kindergarten ideas to England and Malwida von Meysenburg became a pioneer of women’s education, joining forces with Barbara Leigh Smith, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Emily Davies. Two thousand lost or disorientated souls are not many in a country of twenty millions. Yet they were remarkable for their variety and individuality, and, not least, for their ...

Slick Chick

Elaine Showalter

11 July 1991
The Haunting of Sylvia Plath 
by Jacqueline Rose.
Virago, 288 pp., £14.99, June 1991, 1 85381 307 9
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Passions of the Mind 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 340 pp., £17, August 1991, 0 7011 3260 4
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... book, The Haunting of Sylvia Plath, Plath has become one who ‘haunts our culture’, the ‘Marilyn Monroe of the literati’. But the double story of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes is material for an Emily Brontë or a Henry James, a great ghost story with the roles of haunter and haunted, villain and victim, hopelessly entwined. This Gothic tale, Rose demonstrates, ‘seems to have the power to draw ...

Pipe down back there!

Terry Castle: The Willa Cather Wars

14 December 2000
Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism 
by Joan Acocella.
Nebraska, 127 pp., £13.50, August 2000, 0 8032 1046 9
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... if ‘mass production and technological unemployment and cyclical depressions and the struggle between the classes did not exist.’ Set against the fierce muckraking of Theodore Dreiser or Sherwood Anderson, another critic complained, Cather’s fiction was ‘harmless stuff that “could be read in schools and women’s clubs”’. Her Flaubertian classicism (and concomitant moral irony) went mostly ...
16 April 1981
William Faulkner: His Life and Work 
by David Minter.
Johns Hopkins, 325 pp., £9.50, January 1981, 0 8018 2347 1
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... his genius escaped and if his talent dashed after him to sing, drink, dance, whore, hunt, to exchange dreams and memories, above all to argue with him, then we get such superb stories as A Rose for Emily, or Go down Moses, or that splendid saga The Bear (but firmly cutting out the addenda), or that weird, haunting half-fantasy about aboriginal Indians which I do not even pretend to understand called ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust

19 July 2018
Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... final trilogy, Ada Leintwardine, successful novelist, is capable of trumping or outmanoeuvring any of the literary figures around her; and no one else in the novel comes near the erudite firepower of Emily Brightman, sprightly historian of late antiquity. Powell was a product of his class and period, with the blindspots these imply, but changes in gender roles were not lost on him. The notion of any ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel

22 June 1995
Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... to have lost its allure. An age which has made a fetish of the cottage garden and the village green, and which has promoted the Cotswolds as England’s imaginary heart, has perhaps less taste than Emily Brontë for the wild solitudes of the moors; indeed Charles Jennings in Up North, his ‘travels beyond the Watford Gap’, an only half-humorous exploration of regional difference, complains that ...

As Many Pairs of Shoes as She Likes

Jenny Turner: On Feminism

15 December 2011
... that said, à la Barbara Kruger, I shop, therefore I am. And I couldn’t help but wonder that as I couldn’t actually shop, ergo what?’ At the UK Feminista summer school in Birmingham meanwhile, Emily Birkenshaw, 24, a teaching assistant from York, was learning how to ‘go floppy’ when arrested. ‘You’re heavier then, so you can’t be carried,’ she told the Observer. ‘It just felt ...

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