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Kiss and Tearle

Robert Morley, 2 June 1983

Godfrey: A Special Time Remembered 
by Jill Bennett.
Hodder, 186 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 340 33160 7
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... In Godfrey; A Special Time Remembered Jill Bennett tells how she braved the sacred portals of the Garrick Club to continue a row with her lover Godfrey Tearle, how the old actor came down a flight of stairs two at a time absolutely furious, how he took hold of her wrist, sat down and, putting her across his knee, spanked the living daylights out of her ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1984, 20 December 1984

... Bloomsbury. The play’s greatest virtue is that it does not seem like mine. Rachel Roberts and Jill Bennett go off to lunch together to compare notes on their various husbands. They are like old-fashioned stars, both in expensive fur coats, and, when together, sly and mischievous and in league against men. Lindsay has no false pride. He will consider ...

Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... the actors, Lindsay had the table jacked up 18 inches on the actual take so that Rachel Roberts, Jill Bennett and Co found themselves trying to behave normally although the dining-table was practically under their chins. On the other hand, as with the Royal Family, it did have to be his fun. He had no time for the occasional giggles and private jokes ...

Looking back in anger

Hilary Mantel, 21 November 1991

Almost a Gentleman. An Autobiography: Vol. II 1955-66 
by John Osborne.
Faber, 273 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 571 16261 4
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... and of not knowing how a writer works because she is not a proper writer herself. The actress Jill Bennett arrives on the scene. Osborne doesn’t like her much – but why should that impede his career as what he likes to call a ‘cocksman’? Here the reader’s mind may go back to A Better Class of Person. Early in his acting career Osborne ...

Stalking Out

David Edgar: After John Osborne, 20 July 2006

John Osborne: A Patriot for Us 
by John Heilpern.
Chatto, 528 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 7011 6780 7
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... jacket, aged to look as if he’d inherited it from his father). As his fourth marriage (to Jill Bennett) fell apart, so did his writing career: from A Sense of Detachment (1972) on, his plays were neither critically nor commercially successful. Plagued by illness, and known increasingly for his blimpish opinions rather than his plays, Osborne’s ...

Mockney Rebels

Thomas Jones: Lindsay Anderson, 20 July 2000

Mainly about Linsay Anderson 
by Gavin Lambert.
Faber, 302 pp., £18.99, May 2000, 0 571 17775 1
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... is to write your own script in the most literal sense. ‘The Old Crowd’ – which Alan Bennett writes about in the piece preceding this – is set in the near-future, when law and order are disintegrating; the house, too, is crumbling, with cracks appearing in the ceilings. One of the old crowd, Totty, hasn’t been able to make it to the party ...

Untouched by Eliot

Denis Donoghue: Jon Stallworthy, 4 March 1999

Rounding the Horn: Collected Poems 
by Jon Stallworthy.
Carcanet, 247 pp., £14.95, September 1998, 1 85754 163 4
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... starting with ‘John Stallworthy d. 1744 and Ann d. 1771’ and running to ‘Jon b. 1935 and Jill b. 1938’ and the new generation, ‘Jonathan, Pippa and Nicolas’.) His father was a surgeon who settled down to a practice in Oxford. His mother was a housewife with a gift for music and a good ear for poems. Or for rhymes: she schooled her son on ...

Nazi Votes

David Blackbourn, 1 November 1984

The Nazi Machtergreifung 
edited by Peter Stachura.
Allen and Unwin, 191 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 04 943026 2
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Stormtroopers: A Social, Economic and Ideological Analysis 1929-35 
by Conan Fischer.
Allen and Unwin, 239 pp., £20, June 1983, 0 04 943028 9
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The Nazi Party: A Social Profile of Members and Leaders 1919-1945 
by Michael Kater.
Blackwell, 415 pp., £22.50, August 1983, 0 631 13313 5
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Beating the Fascists: The German Communists and Political Violence 1929-1933 
by Eve Rosenhaft.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £24, August 1983, 9780521236386
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... is more likely to mislead if it reinforces the popular idea of a Hitler cult among women. Jill Stephenson, writing in the collection of essays edited by Peter Stachura, disposes effectively of what one recent writer has called ‘the sacrificial willingness of women to be Hitler’s devotees’. The complex and changing position of women in the Third ...


John Bayley: Serious Novels, 10 November 1994

... in good order on the sterling old tradition of the heart being in the right place, as in Arnold Bennett and J.B. Priestley, and it moves rather close to John Wain’s posthumous novel, in his Bildungsroman series about a young man growing up in Oxford – a trifle ironical in view of Amis’s strongly-expressed disdain for Wain’s mode and temper of ...

Keep yr gob shut

Christopher Tayler: Larkin v. Amis, 20 December 2012

The Odd Couple: The Curious Friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin 
by Richard Bradford.
Robson, 373 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84954 375 0
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... but made a strong early showing as the ranking literary man, publishing The North Ship (1945), Jill (1946) and A Girl in Winter (1947) before he was 26. Amis seems to have taken this in his stride, being more absorbed by the many sexual opportunities that came his way even as a junior academic. Larkin got on well with Amis’s first wife, Hilly ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter, 6 October 2011

The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... of which it grew are painful. Nearly 20 years ago the poet allowed an Australian academic, Bruce Bennett, to publish details of the events behind it in Spirit in Exile. In the 1950s Jannice Henry, an 18-year-old doctor’s daughter from Surrey, fell in love with her father’s locum, Neil Micklem. Their affair lasted for years; Jannice hoped it would end in ...

Larkin and Us

Barbara Everett, 4 November 1982

Larkin at Sixty 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 148 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 9780571118786
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The Art of Philip Larkin 
by Simon Petch.
Sydney University Press, 108 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 424 00090 3
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... intensity in his own best novels; Gavin Ewart’s affectionate ode is almost ideally deft; Alan Bennett’s implacably wary set – piece (‘Why not something more along the lines of a biscuit barrel?’) makes one laugh a good deal more, or more festively, than most festschrift items do. In short, Larkin at Sixty gets a lot of different kinds of ...

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