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‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... enlightening about the mind of Mick Jagger. This incandescent incarnation of frenzied freedom, a guest star even in Edie, which describes him as ‘the most famous singer and the one everybody wanted to fuck’ and reproduces a snapshot in which his Ovidian mouth is open to swallow the heroine, reveals, when he opens that mouth to talk to Vyner, the ...


Alan Bennett: Where I was in 1993, 16 December 1993

... quite happy to direct Noël Coward if asked’). A wheelchair has been provided for a 90-year-old guest who hasn’t turned up, so Lindsay commandeers it and is wheeled around the room getting older by the minute. Full of all sorts of people, with showbusiness probably in a minority, and off-hand I can’t think of any other director who’d be given a ...


Mark Ford: Emily Dickinson’s Manuscripts, 19 June 2014

The Gorgeous Nothings 
by Emily Dickinson.
New Directions, 255 pp., £26.50, October 2013, 978 0 8112 2175 7
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The Marvel of Biographical Bookkeeping 
by Francis Nenik, translated by Katy Derbyshire.
Readux, 64 pp., £3, October 2013, 978 3 944801 00 1
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... 1945 and 1948 had had 31 poems accepted by Poetry (Chicago), which awarded him, in 1947, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize. Moore’s marginal status in the last two decades of his life, when he nevertheless composed thousands of pages of poetry, somewhat allies him with Dickinson, although their posthumous reputations could hardly be more different. The ...

Daisy Chains

Emma Hogan: Sappho 1900, 20 May 2021

No Modernism without Lesbians 
by Diana Souhami.
Head of Zeus, 464 pp., £9.99, February, 978 1 78669 487 4
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... it, and at great personal risk – it was her ‘missionary endeavour’. (In London the lesbians Harriet Weaver and Dora Marsden, editors of the Egoist, and in New York the lesbians Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, editors of the Little Review, serialised the novel.) Bryher financially supported her lover H.D. and her husband Robert McAlmon, who published ...

Ready to Go Off

Jenny Turner, 18 February 2021

A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia Butler 
by Lynell George.
Angel City, 176 pp., $30, November 2020, 978 1 62640 063 4
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‘Kindred’, Fledgling’, Collected Stories’ 
by Octavia E. Butler, edited by Gerry Canavan and Nisi Shawl.
Library of America, 790 pp., $31.50, January, 978 1 59853 675 1
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... to the Mason-Dixon line, allowing at least a hope of escape, as it had for Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. She did her research at George Washington’s plantation at Mount Vernon in Virginia, where the founding father of democracy held more than three hundred enslaved people – ‘servants’, as tour guides were still putting it in the 1970s – by ...

Bitchy Little Spinster

Joanne O’Leary: Queens of Amherst, 3 June 2021

After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet 
by Julie Dobrow.
Norton, 448 pp., £13.99, January 2020, 978 0 393 35749 3
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... among the Beauty … I am small, like the Wren … my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves –’. Higginson is late to the party: Dickinson has already left.Austin remarked, late in life, that Dickinson ‘posed’ in her letters. He might have had in mind an exchange from 1851. He had suggested to his sister that she write more ...

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