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Much of a Scramble

Francesca Wade: Ray Strachey, 23 January 2020

A Working Woman: The Remarkable Life of Ray Strachey 
by Jennifer Holmes.
Troubador, 392 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 1 78901 654 3
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... about Strachey’s preoccupations, and their roots in her life, which are carefully unpicked in Jennifer Holmes’s meticulous biography. In many ways, The Cause is Strachey’s tribute to preceding generations, a compendium of women whose lives guided her in steering a course away from her own mother’s demands. Strachey’s mother, Mary Whitall ...

Self-Amused

Adam Phillips: Isaiah Berlin, 23 July 2009

Isaiah Berlin, Enlightening: Letters 1946-60 
edited by Henry Hardy and Jennifer Holmes.
Chatto, 844 pp., £35, June 2009, 978 0 7011 7889 5
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... Isaiah Berlin was returning from Paris in 1952 when the aeroplane – ‘it was an Air France: Air Chance is a better name’ – ‘caught fire and scenes of extraordinary panic occurred’. Berlin mentions this, jokily and in passing, in several letters, but Alice James, the wife of William James’s son Billy, gets the full story of the disaster that didn’t happen, at least to Berlin ...

Something Fishy

James Francken, 13 April 2000

When We Were Orphans 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 313 pp., £16.99, April 2000, 0 571 20384 1
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... to the fictional worlds of the old-fashioned detectives they admired. Isherwood liked the Sherlock Holmes stories because of the character’s ‘peculiar kind of madness’; he read them for the ‘insanity of the chase’. Holmes doesn’t know whether the earth goes round the sun, or vice versa, but he can tell which part ...

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