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Raymond and Saxon and Maynard and …

Penelope Lively, 19 February 1981

Memories 
by Frances Partridge.
Gollancz, 238 pp., £9.95, January 1981, 0 575 02912 9
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Notes from Sick Rooms 
by Leslie Stephen.
Puckerbrush, 52 pp., £1.50, March 1981, 0 913006 16 5
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... or memoirs – depends on what someone has to remember and the terms in which they do so. Frances Partridge was born in 1901: she spans the century – a rich enough field, one would think. And her previous book, A Pacifist’s War, is eminently, even compulsively readable: personal recollection is tethered to public events; the immediacy of her ...

Coming of age in Wiltshire

Nell Dunn, 21 November 1985

Everything to lose: Diaries 1945-1960 
by Frances Partridge.
Gollancz, 383 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03549 8
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... mother and stepfather, Mary and Robin Campbell, went to live in Wiltshire and were neighbours of Frances Partridge and her husband Ralph. They became great friends. I was somewhere included in that friendship, and Frances made an enormous impression on me as I grew up. These are the years covered in Everything to ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 19 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... K going off to Balkans, now J falling in love with Robert Kee, who spends weekend at Ham Spray, F. Partridge approves,’ and so on. Sometimes it all seemed very distant and unimportant. And as for Frances Partridge’s approval, I think I would have gone a long way to avoid spending a weekend at Ham Spray (that ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... from the desire expressed at the time by William Golding to blow up Eton College. Bloomsbury’s Frances Partridge, queen of the diary put-down, seems to have wanted to blow up television, ‘the box in the corner’. In the flat of her friend Robert Kee, a great asset to the box in the corner, she glimpsed the Tonight programme, and later ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... of being a Jamesian personality in Europe and would be more likely to swoon at the sight of Frances Partridge than, say, Jimi Hendrix. We hear of lunches at Chez Victor, where Spender and Isherwood giggle at jokes ‘all about Stephen’s boyfriends in Berlin’. And with every story young David rises in his own steely estimation. Stephen asked me ...

Sod off, readers

John Sutherland, 26 September 1991

Rude Words: A Discursive History of the London Library 
by John Wells.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1991, 0 333 47519 4
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Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English 
by Geoffrey Hughes.
Blackwell, 283 pp., £16.95, August 1991, 0 631 16593 2
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... the London Library is remarkably little changed from what earlier generations knew and loved. Frances Partridge, who has been a member for seventy years, claims that ‘nothing has changed; absolutely nothing. The same smell, the same atmosphere, the same clanking noise as you walk through those long passages at the back, and you always seem to meet ...

Russell and Ramsey

Ray Monk, 29 August 1991

Russell’s Idealist Apprenticeship 
by Nicholas Griffin.
Oxford, 409 pp., £45, January 1991, 0 19 824453 3
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Philosophical Papers 
by F.P. Ramsey, edited by D.H. Mellor.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 521 37480 4
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The Philosophy of F.P. Ramsey 
by Nils-Eric Sahlin.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £27.50, November 1990, 0 521 38543 1
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... any impression of Ramsey’s life and personality. His last hours are described very movingly by Frances Partridge in her book Memories; some letters of his to his mother have been published (mainly because of the light they throw on Wittgenstein’s life in rural Austria in the mid-Twenties); and a group of his Cambridge friends contributed their ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... those who had any sort of fling with the deceased.’ 15 May. Finish reading A Pacifist’s War by Frances Partridge and start reading Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor, both books covering the same period though from different angles, foxholes at Ham Spray and foxholes at Stalingrad hardly the same. Stalingrad is unsurprisingly a bestseller, the course of the ...

Unliterary, Unpolished, Unromantic

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Merchant of Prato’, 8 February 2018

The Merchant of Prato: Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City 
by Iris Origo.
Penguin, 400 pp., £10.99, May 2017, 978 0 241 29392 8
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... a foreword to the Italian edition of The Merchant of Prato. In 1923, the Bloomsbury diarist Frances Partridge described the 21-year-old Iris as ‘very delicate, almost like a Botticelli, with a very quick voice and a mind as quick, running from one thing to another, and alarming because so clever’. In that year she met Antonio Origo, the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Enola Holmes’, 22 October 2020

... employing havoc as a method of education. Conversely, the marquess’s grandmother, played by Frances de la Tour, looks old enough to be Methuselah’s sister, and embodies so perfectly the dream dowager, twinkly and intelligent, that she must be (and is) up to something else. Burn Gorman brings a special gothic nastiness to his part as the evil pursuer ...

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