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Mrs Winterson’s Daughter

Adam Mars-Jones: Jeanette Winterson, 26 January 2012

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 230 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 0 224 09345 3
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... I was friendly with Jeanette Winterson in the 1980s – we even went away for a weekend together. I went slightly cool on the friendship, though she didn’t exactly do anything wrong. We ran into each other occasionally after the publication of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and we once read to an audience of nine in Burnley (I doubt if even one of the nine was there to hear me ...

Beware of shallowness

James Wood, 7 July 1994

Art & Lies 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 224 pp., £14.99, June 1994, 0 224 03145 7
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... Each new book by Jeanette Winterson is said to be poorer than its predecessor; she is like a bibliographer’s definition of nostalgia. As her novels become more ghostly, so they give off a stronger vapour of self-promotion. Her last, Written On The Body, announced on its cover that it had ‘fused mathematical exactness and poetic intensity and made language new ...

A Tulip and Two Bulbs

Jenny Turner: Jeanette Winterson, 7 September 2000

The PowerBook 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 243 pp., £14.99, September 2000, 0 224 06103 8
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... personalities with new emotional understandings. If this happens to the writer, she is lost.’ Jeanette Winterson, ‘A Work of My Own’,Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery (1995) From the outside, Jeanette Winterson’s new book looks quite different from what she usually does. Instead of one of ...


Blake Morrison, 21 February 1991

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... and bad temper, and cut their men down to human size. Women’s erotica differs from men’s, Jeanette Winterson argues, by seeking ‘to return women to their bodies by offering a looking-glass and not a distorting mirror’; men ‘picture the whole world as a giant reflection of their prick’, whereas ‘in fact, the world is round. In fact, it ...

Tang of Blood

Christian Lorentzen: Something to Do with Capitalism, 5 June 2014

... tensions within the Marx family. But she has kind words for Holmes’s ‘ebullient prose’. Jeanette Winterson calls the book ‘brilliant’ in the Telegraph; Rosemary Ashton in the Literary Review points up its ‘brio’; Lisa Jardine in the Financial Times says Holmes’s ‘fresh and vital style’ renders Eleanor ‘unforgettable’. None of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... of Scottish fiction; James Kelman’s name, for example, doesn’t come up. And what about women? Jeanette Winterson, not exactly unfamous, isn’t featured; nor is Hilary Mantel; though Zadie Smith inevitably is. Most published works of fiction are not particularly good, as has surely always been the case (and the situation must seem worse now, whenever ...

Snooked Duck Tail

Lucy Daniel: Jeannette Winterson, 3 June 2004

by Jeanette Winterson.
Fourth Estate, 232 pp., £15, May 2004, 0 00 718151 5
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... After stealing a talking parrot on the island of Capri, Jeanette Winterson’s latest narrator is referred to the Tavistock Clinic, where she explains that she was trying to capture some sort of meaning. The therapist innocently suggests she write a story, ‘with a beginning, a middle and an end’, to get back in touch with reality ...

Looking for magic

Dinah Birch, 14 September 1989

Lewis Percy 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 261 pp., £11.95, August 1989, 0 224 02668 2
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Sexing the cherry 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Bloomsbury, 167 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0464 4
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by Hilary Mantel.
Viking, 186 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 670 82118 7
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... Anita Brookner has not given up the notion that we might manage to live happily ever after. Jeanette Winterson’s relations with fantasy are less wary than anything to be found in Brookner’s temperate reflections. Founded on the political creeds of ecology and feminism, Sexing the cherry fuses male and female voices in an exuberant blend of the ...

On the Salieri Express

John Sutherland, 24 September 1992

Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... body stocking and a coronet of artificial crocuses, strongly suggests womanhood. So does Winterson’s general avoidance of male characters. Whoever or whatever she is, she concedes nothing to conventional femininity. In one of her lighter moments she brags about former conquests with a bravado reminiscent of Bill Naughton’s Cockney ...

Tongue breaks

Emily Wilson: Sappho, 8 January 2004

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho 
by Anne Carson.
Virago, 397 pp., £12.99, November 2003, 1 84408 081 1
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The Sappho History 
by Margaret Reynolds.
Palgrave, 311 pp., £19.99, May 2003, 0 333 97170 1
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Sappho's Leap 
by Erica Jong.
Norton, 320 pp., $24.95, May 2003, 0 393 05761 5
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... meet on Lesbos, ‘in another life’, but ‘Meanwhile there’s a stink of fat and baby crap.’ Jeanette Winterson’s response to Sappho is even angrier. In Art and Lies, her Sappho cries in outraged capital letters: ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY POEMS?’ In fact, the proportion of lost work is no higher for Sappho than for many other ancient ...

Paean to Gaiety

Lorna Sage, 22 September 1994

The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture 
by Terry Castle.
Columbia, 322 pp., £20, January 1994, 0 231 07652 5
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... or at least the version of those qualities represented by (say) a Violet Trefusis or a Jeanette Winterson, two Castle favourites. Common sense only gets you so far. It’s not always such fun playing along, however. The title-essay is more sentimental than pointed, and the ghostly presences she detects in work by writers ranging from Defoe and ...

Only the Drop

Gabriele Annan, 17 October 1996

Every Man for Himself 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £14.99, September 1996, 0 7156 2733 3
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... places are frequented by other contemporary novelists like Margaret Forster, Hilary Mantel and Jeanette Winterson; two of them black humorists like Bainbridge, but none quite as funny, and certainly not as unexpected and disturbing. She is a cross between a witch and a clown. Clowns unleash chaos, and that is what she does. Unlike Morgan, she believes ...

The Absolute End

Theo Tait: Ali Smith, 26 January 2012

There but for the 
by Ali Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 356 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 0 241 14340 7
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... because one of the books whose absence was most complained of was Ali Smith’s There but for the. Jeanette Winterson said that Smith’s novel, about a dinner-party guest who hides in his hosts’ spare bedroom and refuses to come out, was a ‘wonderful, word-playful’ book left out because it didn’t fit the judges’ philistine criteria. There but ...

Big Rip-Off

Colin Burrow: Riffing Off Shakespeare, 3 November 2016

Shylock Is My Name: ‘The Merchant of Venice’ Retold 
by Howard Jacobson.
Hogarth, 277 pp., £16.99, February 2016, 978 1 78109 028 2
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Vinegar Girl: ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ Retold 
by Anne Tyler.
Hogarth, 233 pp., £16.99, June 2016, 978 1 78109 018 3
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The Gap of Time: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ Retold 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Hogarth, 291 pp., £16.99, October 2015, 978 1 78109 029 9
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Hag-Seed: ‘The Tempest’ Retold 
by Margaret Atwood.
Hogarth, 293 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78109 022 0
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... of comedies or tragicomedies rather than tragedies. It’s hard to read without some pain either Jeanette Winterson’s rewriting of The Winter’s Tale or Howard Jacobson’s of The Merchant of Venice. Part of the problem is that this series seems to operate on the principle that the ideal person to rewrite a given play must be one who shares an ...

The Annual MLA Disaster

John Sutherland, 16 December 1993

The Modern Language Association of America: Program for the 109th Convention, Vol. 108, No. 6 
November 1993Show More
The Modern Language Association: Job Information List 
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... is what passes for Wildean wit at the MLA); ‘Teledildonics: Virtual Lesbians in the Fiction of Jeanette Winterson’; or the terser, but sublimely opaque ‘Autophagy and the Logic of the Absolute Fragment’. These titles will have been solemnly approved by an MLA committee. The same committee has also given its stamp of approval to a quantity of ...

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