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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. JacquelineRiding, 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 ...

Short Cuts

Paul Myerscough: Iris Murdoch

7 February 2002
... in which artistic genius is crossed with profound illness are thought especially heroic (the Oscar nominations 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 ...

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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... ways, however, they are closer to the heroines and adventuresses who people James’s fiction. With 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 ...


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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... to the canon of interpretation. If it had stayed out of doors. ‘Democracy,’ Whitman wrote in Specimen 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 ...

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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... Linda Molina, Annie Playden, Marie Laurencin, Louise de Coligny, Madeleine Pagès (with whom he 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 ...

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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... women dress is much less servile.’ If being a young woman in postwar America was suffocating, 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 ...

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 Anne Bradstreet as with Athol Fugard – if not more. And Anne Bradstreet has as much in common 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 ...

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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... I find myself nostalgic for the time, long ago, 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 ...

Bantu in the Bathroom

Jacqueline​ Rose

19 November 2015
... be delivered at a school in Johannesburg in honour of Anene Booysen and in support of the Black Friday 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 ...

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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... writing this letter, Birdsall was persuaded by his girlfriend to go to the police station. ‘There 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 ...

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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... she would, for that very reason, not have inspired them.’ The formulation is elegant, but is it 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 ...

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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... such a third way, written in the thick of an asymmetrical war whose violence nonetheless tarnished both 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 ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester: A Memoir

5 July 2001
... that she danced all night while he sat talking. There were some things they did together, including, 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 ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit

15 November 2001
... carries endorsements from Richard Hughes, Naomi Mitchison and C.S. Lewis, and Auden was an early fan. (Auden 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 ...

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