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Educating Georgie

E.S. Turner, 6 December 1984

Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 462 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 340 24465 8
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... of housekeeping: she had had to come to terms with another family problem, a wastrel brother Frank who gambled heavily and gave away family jewels to his women. This last was a heinous offence in the eyes of Princess May, who in later life was able to recover unauthorised gifts from various quarters. As a great lover of jewels, she must have been ...

Funny Water

Frank Kermode: Raban at Sea, 20 January 2000

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings 
by Jonathan Raban.
Picador, 435 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 0 330 34628 8
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... opportunities to talk about other matters, so we have leisurely passages on Burke, Wordsworth, Turner and Shelley, on a television painting programme, on the maze at Hampton Court. One excursus leads to another, as when the recovery of a drowned woman brings to mind another woman found drowned years ago in the Thames near Chiswick, and a speculation as to ...

Point of View

Frank Kermode: Atonement by Ian McEwan, 4 October 2001

by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 372 pp., £16.99, September 2001, 0 224 06252 2
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... Girton, take off her outer clothes and jump into a fountain – this in the presence of Robbie Turner, the son of the family’s faithful cleaning lady, who has also been sent, at the expense of the girls’ father, to Cambridge. Robbie did well there, but has now decided to start again and qualify as a doctor – one who ‘would be alive to the monstrous ...

Convenient Death of a Hero

Arnold Rattenbury, 8 May 1997

Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin/Stanford, 120 pp., £12.95, December 1996, 0 85036 457 4
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... to a high military officer of a Warsaw Pact country, then watch it.’ On 31 May 1944, Major Frank Thompson, wearing the British uniform that should have protected him, was captured along with the Bulgarian Partisans to whom he was attached, near Likatova, north of Sofia, found guilty at a staged trial, and publicly shot on 5 June. His bearing throughout ...

Superficially Pally

Jenny Turner: Richard Sennett, 22 March 2012

Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-Operation 
by Richard Sennett.
Allen Lane, 323 pp., £25, February 2012, 978 0 7139 9874 0
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... of fear and longing – suddenly illuminated, trapped and squirming, in the economic spotlight. Frank Rissarro, for example, interviewed in the early 1970s, an Italian-American former meat-cutter who had worked his way up to a house in a Boston suburb and a steady job in a bank: ‘I know I did a good job in my life,’ he said, but continued to feel ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... to reopen the Timothy Evans case, showed ‘cowardice and mendacity’ and his successor, Sir Frank Soskice, was even more ‘contemptible’. Late in the book a Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir, is described as ‘a man of very limited vision’; strangely, Mr Kennedy seems unaware that Kilmuir was, in fact, Maxwell Fyfe (the names are indexed ...


Jenny Turner: ‘T2 Trainspotting’, 16 February 2017

... out to have the text of Porno inside. The most recent Welsh novel, The Blade Artist (2016), stars Frank Begbie, the psycho from Trainspotting, giving him a different set of outcomes from those in T2. In The Blade Artist Begbie has discovered the artist within himself in prison, married his therapist and moved to California, where he works as a sought-after ...

Valet of the Dolls

Andrew O’Hagan: Sinatra, 24 July 2003

Mr S.: The Last Word on Frank Sinatra 
by George Jacobs and William Stadiem.
Sidgwick, 261 pp., £16.99, June 2003, 0 283 07370 5
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... moralist’ are unlikely to appear again in this essay, seeing as we’re dealing with Frank Sinatra, a man who managed, without much effort, to make the majority of his rowdy compatriots look like barefoot regulars in Bernadette’s grotto at Lourdes. It’s not that we could really have expected a straightforward portrait of ...

In Margate

Julian Bell: Alex Katz, 8 November 2012

... Ives for the opposite end of southern England. The upper galleries of Margate’s recently opened Turner Contemporary (where the show continues until 13 January 2013) make a handsome destination. You pass from big windows that give onto the stark North Sea with its distant forests of wind farms, to enter two big skylit galleries, no less stirringly stark. In ...

Afloat with Static

Jenny Turner: Hey, Blondie!, 19 December 2019

Face It 
by Debbie Harry.
HarperCollins, 352 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 0 00 822942 9
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... Unlike Viv Albertine, the former Slits guitarist and the author, so far, of two marvellously frank memoirs, she’s not an especially wild or gifted raconteuse. She hit the big time in the 1970s and has never been remotely precious about her stories, which means she’s told most of them loads of times already, most notably in Lester Bangs’s Blondie ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... required for a Southern white novelist to take on a black slave legend in The Confessions of Nat Turner and then the Holocaust with Sophie’s Choice. That both of these novels became blockbuster successes doesn’t mean that they were cynically, commercially conceived. Styron had no way of knowing way back in 1952 when he began contemplating ‘a novel ...

Uplifting Lust

E.S. Turner: Mills and Boon, 6 January 2000

Passion’s Fortune: The Story of Mills and Boon 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 322 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820455 8
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The Romantic Fiction of Mills and Boon 1909-1995 
by Jay Dixon.
UCL, 218 pp., £11.99, November 1998, 1 85728 267 1
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... That’s a total of 546 ... That isn’t bad for an unmarried man.’ As an example of full and frank discussion between the sexes in romantic fiction this is quite a memorable exchange. We are not told whether, or how, the heroine was able to render this priapic Latin fit for inclusion in a ‘female value system’, or whether she was smart enough to ...

If you don’t swing, don’t ring

Christopher Turner: Playboy Mansions, 21 April 2016

Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics 
by Beatriz Preciado.
Zone, 303 pp., £20.95, October 2014, 978 1 935408 48 2
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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny 
by Holly Madison.
Dey Street, 334 pp., £16.99, July 2015, 978 0 06 237210 9
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... articles on contemporary architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Philip Johnson, Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller. The architects were themselves portrayed as playboys, the architectural and sexual revolutions intimately enmeshed. In Pornotopia, Beatriz Preciado writes that in 1950s issues of Playboy, ‘there were more architecture ...

At the National Gallery of Scotland

Peter Campbell: Joan Eardley, 13 December 2007

... from clearly delimited material. Her concentration on a chosen bit of coast brings her closer to Frank Auerbach, who has concentrated on Primrose Hill, than to painters who made brush marks more like her own. When you think about what kind of artist she was, putting her child-invaded studio and Lucian Freud’s naked-friend-and-acquaintance-laden chairs and ...

At the Met Breuer

Hal Foster: Thoughts made visible, 31 March 2016

... Guggenheim on Central Park, another masterpiece of late modernist building-as-sculpture created by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959, was suspended. But now the Metropolitan Museum has taken over the old Whitney for exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, and, at least for the time being, the building, renamed the Breuer, looks much as its architect conceived ...

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