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My Missus

John Sutherland, 13 May 1993

Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain, 1914-1950 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 284 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 820329 2
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American Star: A Love Story 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 568 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 14093 7
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... working-class literature than about Lapland. In a much quoted essay twenty years later, Wilkie Collins, after a similar expedition, coined the phrase ‘the Unknown Public’. It was something of a misnomer since the public was well enough known. It was their ‘entertaining literature’ that was the mystery. English society put such a moral premium on ...
Body Work 
by Peter Brooks.
Harvard, 325 pp., £39.95, May 1993, 0 674 07724 5
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... the literary theory section of the local bookshop from the soft porn shelves, sort out the latest Jackie Collins from the later Roland Barthes. Many an eager masturbator must have borne away some sexy-looking tome only to find himself reading up on the floating signifier. Sexuality began in the late Sixties, as an extension of radical politics into ...

All Woman

Michael Mason, 23 May 1985

‘Men’: A Documentary 
by Anna Ford.
Weidenfeld, 196 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 0 297 78468 4
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Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure 
by John Cleland, edited by Peter Sabor.
Oxford, 256 pp., £1.95, February 1985, 0 19 281634 9
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... the subtitle might regrettably have carried. The reduction of Anna Ford to the thinking man’s Jackie Collins is complete. This is to state an undoubted unfairness to the intentions of the author, in the presentation of her book. On Ms Ford’s account, its germ is her undergraduate study of social anthropology. There is a fair show of primary ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’, 17 November 2016

... learns about Grey’s ‘dark side’ and his ‘rules’; and so on. The plots of Stephen King, Jackie Collins, Dan Brown, Sylvia Day, Danielle Steel, Lee Child and James Patterson all, apparently, have a similar shape, and the curve of The Da Vinci Code is identical in its measuring out of highs and lows until the very end of the novel: Dan Brown ...

Travelling Southwards

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, 19 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey 
by E.L. James.
Arrow, 514 pp., £7.99, April 2012, 978 0 09 957993 9
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... to a jumble sale to buy books only to discover that everything that wasn’t a copy of Jaws was by Jackie Collins, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, or Danielle Steel. I noted this cultural deficit in my compendium of things to complain about to God but I read The Bitch myself on the way home and remember a very fruity passage in which the heroine, a woman ...

At the Beverly Wilshire

Ric Burns, 8 January 1987

Hollywood Husbands 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 508 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 14090 2
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Letters from Hollywood 
by Michael Moorcock.
Harrap, 232 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 245 54379 1
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Rain or Shine: A Family Memoir 
by Cyra McFadden.
Secker, 178 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 27580 5
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... Southern California acquire the Empyrean hues with which they shimmer in the English mind today. Jackie Collins’s new novel, Hollywood Husbands, continues her maniacal Frankensteinian attempt to effect the imaginative transfer of the American base to a British brain. As in much of Ms Collins’s writing, there’s a ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... Krantz, Jean Auel, Danielle Steel, Jilly Cooper, Mary Higgins Clark, V.C. Andrews, Shirley Conran, Jackie Briskin, Rosemary Rogers. All these names have figured in recent best-seller lists, lists which are dominated by women novelists of no apparent interest to the Companion. It is instructive to look at what surrounds the areas where these best-selling women ...

That which is spoken

Marina Warner, 8 November 1990

The Virago Book of Fairy-Tales 
edited by Angela Carter.
Virago, 242 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 1 85381 205 6
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Sisters and Strangers: A Moral Tale 
by Emma Tennant.
Grafton, 184 pp., £12.95, July 1990, 0 246 13429 1
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... lover through to single mum, Madonna (blue-mantle variety rather than blue-velvet), whore, Jackie Collins/Shirley Conran, power-dressed overachieving brain surgeon: she samples the splendours and the miseries of a present-day courtesan, for the Eve of today still cannot find an identity apart from Adam. This is She-Devil territory, and Weldon has ...


Philip Horne and Danny Karlin: Million Dollar Bashers, 22 June 1989

... a ‘real outlandish creature’. The ultimate shiksa who haunted every Jewish boy’s dreams. Jackie Collins would blush to have written this. Spitz’s lowlife style would matter less if he had any knowledge of, or interest in, Dylan’s work. Not much is to be learned from sentences like this: ‘For Bobby, the discovery of rock’n’roll was a ...

How Wicked – Horrid

David Blackbourn: Two Duff Kings, 15 July 1999

Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser’s Early Life, 1859-88 
by John Röhl, translated by Jeremy Gaines.
Cambridge, 979 pp., £45, October 1999, 0 521 49752 3
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... Eurotrash of the 19th century read as if the Almanach de Gotha had been adapted for television by Jackie Collins. Many more sections read like a medical dictionary. Starting with Wilhelm’s coraco brachialis and pectoralis major, the operation on his sternocleidomastoid muscle, and subsequent problems with torticollis and cholesteatoma of the middle ...


Colin McGinn: A Philosopher in LA, 4 September 1986

... inversion, at least to my eye: you’d think the book belonged to the titillatory tradition of a Jackie Collins expose of the rich and famous. The final irony would be a Hollywood movie based on the book which made lots of money by treating money as the fetish Money condemns it for being. As the novel itself suggests, money has this uncanny way of ...

Death among the Barbours

Christopher Tayler: Donna Tartt, 19 December 2013

The Goldfinch 
by Donna Tartt.
Little, Brown, 771 pp., £20, October 2013, 978 1 4087 0494 3
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... short skirts and too much lip gloss, has a slag-tag tattoo and ‘teeth that went in’, reads Jackie Collins, watches American Idol and flips out over five dollars’ worth of change. At the other end of the scale, the Barbours are too rich to have a properly connoisseurial attitude to their fine furniture and irreproachable outfits; excessive ...

Chianti in Khartoum

Nick Laird: Louis MacNeice, 3 March 2011

Letters of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Jonathan Allison.
Faber, 768 pp., £35, May 2010, 978 0 571 22441 8
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... of a protracted infatuation or love affair with a young man called Charles Thurstan Edward-Collins (the possessor of the ‘grey feminine eyes’). Louis returned to Marlborough to visit after he left for Oxford. (‘I told Charles I wasn’t coming to M.C. any more but I expect I shall. The College is so sordid … Still it is worth it. Don’t you ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... first appeared circa 1957 and became attached to the Beatles around 1963.)In Marcus Collins’s The Beatles and Sixties Britain, Burgess is one of a long list of mainstream commentators (variously Grub or Fleet Street, middlebrow or mandarin) whose reaction to the Beatles was somewhere between a fit of the vapours and fear of imminent ...

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