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Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre, 20 December 2018

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... I visited​ the set of Mike Leigh’s Peterloo last year. Jacqueline Riding, who was acting as a consultant on the movie and has now written an account of the event it commemorates, showed me round the recreated St Peter’s Field. Actors wore the military regalia of the 15th regiment of hussars and the 13th regiment of foot; there was a wood-panelled room, like the one from which the Manchester magistrates had looked out over the crowd ...

Short Cuts

Paul Myerscough: Iris Murdoch, 7 February 2002

... began with Cornel Wilde’s Chopin in 1945, and the most recent was for Emily Watson’s Jacqueline du Pré in 1999). Currently, Iris is sharing the plaudits with A Beautiful Mind, a portrayal of the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, and schizophrenic, John Nash. All this despite the fact that it’s precisely at the point that movies try to convey ...


Jacqueline Rose: ‘Specimen Days’, 22 September 2005

Specimen Days 
by Michael Cunningham.
Fourth Estate, 308 pp., £14.99, August 2005, 0 00 715605 7
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... Days, ‘most of all affiliates with the open air.’ Cunningham’s novel ends with Simon riding off across the grass into the mountains. This may be a cliché, but it nonetheless makes a difference that the American myth of rugged individualism has been handed to the outcast and shorn of its association with power. Cunningham, it seems, is finally ...

How to be a wife

Colm Tóibín: The Discretion of Jackie Kennedy, 6 June 2002

Janet & Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 
by Jan Pottker.
St Martin’s, 381 pp., $24.95, October 2001, 0 312 26607 3
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Mrs Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 297 64333 9
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... all the ambition and greed and betrayal and tribulation that surrounded her, the question about Jacqueline Kennedy is not who she would have been in Greek drama, but who she would have been in Henry James. She was, to begin with, Maisie in What Maisie Knew. Clearly, she loathed and feared and needed the approval of her snobbish, dull, shrieking and ...

It’s she, it’s she, it’s she

Joanna Biggs: Americans in Paris, 2 August 2012

Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 289 pp., £17, May 2012, 978 0 226 42438 5
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As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964-80 
by Susan Sontag.
Hamish Hamilton, 544 pp., £18.99, April 2012, 978 0 241 14517 3
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... why not try Paris? Alice Kaplan’s Dreaming in French tells the story of three college girls – Jacqueline Bouvier, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis – who did. Kaplan, who wrote about her own year abroad in the memoir French Lessons, takes the three, who didn’t meet, as examples of mid-20th-century types: the (Catholic) aesthete, the (Jewish) bohemian and ...

Dancing and Flirting

Mark Ford: Apollinaire, 24 May 2018

Zone: Selected Poems 
by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Ron Padgett.
NYRB, 251 pp., £9.99, January 2016, 978 1 59017 924 6
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Selected Poems 
by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Martin Sorrell.
Oxford, 281 pp., £9.99, November 2015, 978 0 19 968759 6
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... embarked on an extensive and intimate correspondence after a single chance meeting on a train) and Jacqueline Kolb – la jolie rousse, the pretty redhead, addressed in the late poem of that name, and his wife for the last six months of his life. Apollinaireans are particularly fascinated by his affair with Annie Playden, an English governess whom he met in ...

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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... with Ifeoma Okoye (a Nigerian writer of children’s stories) as with Cotton Mather, or more. Riding alongside is the assumption that women write primarily to and for other women – including women of whose situations in future time or remote place they can have not the slightest inkling. Lurking unstated, but strongly implied by the enterprise, is the ...

Stinking Rich

Jenny Diski: Richard Branson, 16 November 2000

by Tom Bower.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 1 84115 386 9
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... when one thing the very rich and very famous could be relied on to do was shut up. Paul Getty, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Grace of Monaco wrapped their money around themselves in the form of impenetrable walls and/or designer sunglasses and kept silent while the world wondered and chattered. And you would imagine that if money could do anything ...

Bantu in the Bathroom

Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2015

... campaign for Rape Awareness. In the final year of her law degree, Steenkamp broke her back in a riding accident. On recovery, she returned to complete her degree and resolved to pursue her dream of becoming a model in the big city. ‘I believe,’ she said in an interview, ‘I have the ability to fall back into my legal mind under the pressure of my will ...

Protests with Parasols

Michael Wood: Proust, Dreyfus, Israel, 20 December 2012

Proust among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East 
by Jacqueline Rose.
Chicago, 239 pp., £22.50, February 2012, 978 0 226 72578 9
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... true? What can the narrator really know of Albertine if for him depth is just a name for mystery?Jacqueline’s Rose’s novel Albertine (2001) doesn’t answer this question but it does answer the previous one, and it takes the sentence about Albertine and her non-understanding of the narrator’s pages as one of its epigraphs. It shows us Albertine’s ...

Fallen Women

Patricia Highsmith, 21 June 1984

‘Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son’: The Story of Peter Sutcliffe 
by Gordon Burn.
Heinemann, 272 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 0 434 09827 2
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... he repeated what he had said in the letter’ – that the car spotted in Alma Road at the time of Jacqueline Hill’s murder might be Sutcliffe’s Rover – ‘adding that he had been with Sutcliffe when he got out of his car to go after a woman in Halifax on 16 August 1975, the night Olive Smelt was attacked. He was thanked for his co-operation but heard ...

The Castaway

Jeremy Harding: Algeria’s Camus, 4 December 2014

Algerian Chronicles 
by Albert Camus, edited by Alice Kaplan, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 224 pp., £11.95, November 2014, 978 0 674 41675 8
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Camus brûlant 
by Benjamin Stora and Jean-Baptiste Péretié.
Stock, 109 pp., €12.50, September 2013, 978 2 234 07482 8
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Meursault, contre-enquête 
by Kamel Daoud.
Actes Sud, 155 pp., €19, May 2014, 978 2 330 03372 9
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... sides and ruled out any prospect of a Mediterranean intellectual, as Camus thought of himself, riding to the rescue. He argued passionately for a truce that would spare civilians. If both parties were committed to a fight to the death, it should resemble a duel on the edge of town, with noncombatants out of harm’s way. This was a doomed idea. Civilian ...

We must think!

Jenny Turner: Hannah Arendt’s Islands, 4 November 2021

Hannah Arendt 
by Samantha Rose Hill.
Reaktion, 232 pp., £11.99, August 2021, 978 1 78914 379 9
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... distract attention.’‘I’ve read your book, absorbed, for the past two weeks, in the bathtub, riding in the car,’ McCarthy wrote to Arendt in 1951, on reading The Origins of Totalitarianism, which had just come out. The McCarthy-Arendt correspondence quickly developed, via lunches, ‘parrot talk about politics, sex, Norman Mailer’, an exchange of ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester, 5 July 2001

... she later told me, often making love (‘I can’t complain about him on those grounds’), riding, golf, racing, motoring (he had always been a driver; she learned late and drove much better). And they went together to the cinema and sometimes the theatre or opera or ballet, though not to concerts, other than charity concerts, but while she became a ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... was a patron saint of lost causes. He was also the only major writer to stand up for Laura Riding.) But mostly, the sort of people who get their opinions published have lashed it with contempt. ‘Hypertrophic . . . A children’s book which has somehow got out of hand . . . A poverty of invention which is almost pathetic,’ Edmund Wilson wrote in ...

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