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Zoë Heller: Girl Talk, 19 February 1998

Animal Husbandry 
by Laura Zigman.
Hutchinson, 304 pp., £10, January 1998, 0 09 180219 9
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Bridget Jones’ Diary 
by Helen Fielding.
Picador, 310 pp., £5.99, June 1997, 0 330 33277 5
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Does My Bum Look Big in This? 
by Arabella Weir.
Hodder, 246 pp., £5.99, March 1998, 9780340689486
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... juvenilised’, timbre of modern female journalism. In the old days, he said, women like Germaine Greer and Valerie Solanas made men nervous. They produced feisty, aggressive prose. They were rude and polemical. They wrote, in Norman Mailer’s words, like ‘very tough faggots’. But somewhere in the aftermath of Seventies feminism, women’s ...

Pick the small ones

Marina Warner: Girls Are Rubbish, 17 February 2005

Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from around the World 
by Mineke Schipper.
Yale, 422 pp., £35, April 2004, 0 300 10249 6
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... new world, that has such women in it!’ Captain Simone de Beauvoir leads the group; her bosun Germaine Greer beside her, and her crew of investigators fast behind (they include Kate Millett, purser; Mary Daly, doctor; Erica Jong, navigator). Soon, the whole group is making earnest inquiry of the only untouched indigenous individuals they will ever ...

Visible Woman

James Shapiro: Sticking up for Shakespeare, 4 October 2007

Shakespeare’s Wife 
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7475 9019 4
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... final line that ‘Ann saved my life.’ It’s an ingenious reading, though I’m not persuaded. Germaine Greer has no doubts, however, arguing in Shakespeare’s Wife that ‘if one of the 154 sonnets is written by Shakespeare for his wife, why should not others too be addressed to her?’ Convinced that ‘the boy Will courted the woman Ann with ...

Look, I’d love one!

John Bayley, 22 October 1992

Stephen Spender: A Portrait with Background 
by Hugh David.
Heinemann, 308 pp., £17.50, October 1992, 0 434 17506 4
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More Please: An Autobiography 
by Barry Humphries.
Viking, 331 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 670 84008 4
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... it all, nothing louche or self-pitying. Dame Edna arrived quite naturally, almost on the heels of Germaine Greer, with whom Humphries was briefly in contact in some university production. Edna was a moderate success with Melbourne audiences, ‘because it described their own homes (“Maroan’s my favourite colour”) and their own taste in something ...

Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... or pathetic dialogue, according to an agreed storyline. D.M. Thomas remarks that he is indebted to Germaine Greer for supplying him with information about the tradition of the improvisatrici in Italy: he has constructed Swallow (‘the second,’ he says, ‘in a series of improvisational novels’) in the form of a story about an ancient and honourable ...

At the V&A

Jenny Turner: Ballgowns, 5 July 2012

... elegance requires not only a great dress but a discriminating and disciplined wearer,’ Germaine Greer enthused in the Guardian. ‘Suddenly I was reckoning VB as among the all-time greats’). In 2011, the Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas wore a navy-blue one for her hearing at the High Court in connection with the Ryan Giggs v. News Group ...

Go girl

Jacqueline Rose: The intimate geography of women, 30 September 1999

Woman: An Intimate Geography 
by Natalie Angier.
Virago, 398 pp., £17.99, March 1999, 1 86049 685 7
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Midnight Salvage: Poems 1995-98 
by Adrienne Rich.
Norton, 75 pp., £14.95, March 1999, 0 393 04682 6
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... The language of survival has always been fundamental to feminism. Germaine Greer seems to be convinced that the species is heading for extinction. (Some time ago, in an article in the Observer, she envisaged a time ‘when, far in the future, the human race has exterminated itself.’) For a time, Adrienne Rich believed that what was destroying itself was patriarchy: ‘The creative energy of patriarchy is fast running out,’ she wrote in 1971, ‘what remains is its self-generating energy for destruction’ (‘When We Dead Awaken ...

A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham, 6 July 2000

Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... A year or two ago Germaine Greer, discussing the shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize, ended huffily by saying that if this is the way the world is now, she was delighted that she wouldn’t have to be part of it for very much longer. Time was she would have leapt on the barricades and given the world a piece of her mind, explaining exactly what it had to do to shape up ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode, 24 February 1994

The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... dummy, on her knee. Tom Driberg is adjacent to a Gents. So far so good. But why is Germaine Greer represented as the Venus de Milo, and with a tear running down her cheek? I can only guess why Shirley Williams is carrying a copy of the News Chronicle, or why Jimmy Hill has an Arab headdress, or why Lord Home stands bat in hand before a ...

Boys will be girls

Clive James, 1 September 1983

Footlights! A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy 
by Robert Hewison.
Methuen, 224 pp., £8.95, June 1983, 0 413 51150 2
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... the sole really glaring one is an editorial slip on page 151, where the photograph captioned ‘Germaine Greer, 1965’ is of a happily unfamous girl called Sheilah Buhr. I was ASM for the touring company of that year’s May Week revue (its title, My Girl Herbert, was, alas, my suggestion) and can remember Sheilah well. A Canadian graduate student of ...

Good as boys

Penelope Fitzgerald, 15 August 1991

The Best Type of Girl: A History of the Girls’ Independent Schools 
by Gillian Avery.
Deutsch, 410 pp., £20, January 1991, 0 233 98642 1
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There’s something about a convent girl 
edited by Jackie Bennett and Rosemary Forgan.
Virago, 217 pp., £4.99, January 1991, 1 85381 308 7
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... a convent girl, bears this out. Less than halt the contributors, all of them ‘socialised’ as Germaine Greer puts it, ‘by a gang of madwomen in flapping black habits’, have kept their faith. For Marina Warner, her Ascot convent is ‘like a beloved authority figure of your youth that you cannot face’, or perhaps a first husband. Marcella ...


Cynthia Lawford: On Letitia Elizabeth Landon, 21 September 2000

... poetry. ‘No female poet before L.E.L. had ever written of women’s passion as she did,’ Germaine Greer wrote in Slipshod Sibyls (1995). ‘It was not like the love plaints of men, but the fierce, impotent, inward-turning tumult of a woman’s heart, the agony of a creature unable to speak or act, forced to wreak her vengeance upon herself, to ...

Distant Sheep

Penelope Fitzgerald, 21 July 1994

by John Bayley.
Duckworth, 192 pp., £14.99, May 1994, 0 7156 2618 3
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... bed. Alice is a magnificent six foot, broad-shouldered, broad-minded. Her Australian accent (as Germaine Greer said of Neighbours) is cut out of whole cloth, but this is partly accounted for later, and in any case there is something unaccountable about the way people talk in this book. Even the youngish ones seem to be in a time-warp, referring to ...

Viva Biba

Janet Watts, 8 December 1988

Very Heaven: Looking back at the 1960s 
edited by Sara Maitland.
Virago, 227 pp., £4.95, October 1988, 0 86068 958 1
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... or lack of effects – of their efforts. What they do remember, and remind the reader of, is that Germaine Greer went to dinner without her knickers on, and that Marianne Faithful and the Rolling Stones did something ‘supposedly depraved’ with a Mars Bar. It may be that the major quest of many women in the Sixties, like this book’s ...

Great Thoughts

E.S. Turner, 7 May 1981

The Macmillan Treasury of Relevant Quotations 
edited by Edward Murphy.
Macmillan, 658 pp., £3.95, August 1980, 0 333 30038 6
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... He therefore inserts a few down-to-earth subject-headings like Breasts and Buttocks (which gives Germaine Greer her chance), Homosexuality and even Subways and Ziegfeld Follies. Unfortunately, it is when he feels the need to unbend and put on his Playboy hat that Mr Murphy lets us down: he seems unable to recognise contemporary dross when he sees it (a ...

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