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Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper

17 May 2017
by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... JillyCooper​ ’s work is not, so far as I know, much studied in universities. In the Senior Combination Room one lunchtime recently, when I mentioned that I was writing this review, a Very Senior Person ...
20 December 1979
by Jilly Cooper.
Eyre Methuen, 283 pp., £4.95
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... we are not told how the little boy in the New Yorker cartoon felt when he failed to get an answer from his father to the question: ‘Dad, are we ethnic?’). In so far as class is amusing, JillyCooper has not let her subject down. She quotes the Registrar General and Richard Hoggart and Michael Young, while writing in a manner that falls somewhere between Nancy Mitford and a Daily Mail column. Her ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery

3 November 2016
... I once found​ a copy of JillyCooper’s Class (1979) in the bargain box outside a friend’s second-hand bookshop. When I asked how much it was he winced visibly and said: ‘Just take it, I can’t bear to have it in the shop ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Little England

24 May 2001
... Mmm. But this weighs in at almost nothing on the Short Cuts scales of scandal (imperially calibrated, naturally) compared to the discovery that the list of the BWMA’s honorary members – there’s JillyCooper, Peter Hitchens, Norris McWhirter, mad Patrick Moore – includes the name of the universally adored J.K. Rowling OBE. Is this not taking the antique Englishness of Harry Potter just a little ...

Money Matter

Julian Critchley

24 July 1986
A Matter of Honour 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 350 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 340 39365 3
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... thrills, the plot of which is incredible. Who wants to read about the Tsar’s missing icon inside which is contained a secret which will give to its possessor power over the world. Oh God, give me JillyCooper. Even so, I suspended my disbelief in the line of duty, and read all about it. After all, King Solomon’s Mines is about buried treasure in the heart of Africa, and Conan Doyle’s The Lost ...

Travelling Southwards

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

19 July 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey 
by E.L. James.
Arrow, 514 pp., £7.99, April 2012, 978 0 09 957993 9
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... else, and the enduring aspect of 1980s sex novels was their obsession with new money. Time was when a romantic hero could be a soldier or a doctor or, heaven help us, a priest. But in the age of JillyCooper and Judith Krantz he had better be a polo player. Work is for pigs, and anyone without enough money to coat themselves in leisure had no place in a Krantz novel. There was something nouveau ...

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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... in on the ‘condition of women’ criterion. But Susann does not have an entry, nor is she mentioned in the Popular Fiction entry. Similarly excluded are Judith Krantz, Jean Auel, Danielle Steel, JillyCooper, Mary Higgins Clark, V.C. Andrews, Shirley Conran, Jackie Briskin, Rosemary Rogers. All these names have figured in recent best-seller lists, lists which are dominated by women novelists of no ...


John Lanchester

5 June 1997
Journals 1990-92 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 434 00430 8
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... been elected PM, and found him ‘quick and dazzling’ (‘not the sort of praise Vidia gives to everyone’); we learn that Powell’s favourite-ever film was Stroheim’s Foolish Wives; and that JillyCooper turned up to lunch wearing shorts (‘for which she is perhaps getting a shade too grown-up’). Powell speculates about Kingsley Amis’s mental health around the time of the publication of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Crap Towns

23 October 2003
... collection,’ Hurley writes in the introduction, ‘is discovering those that are spectacularly wrong as well as those that are spectacularly right.’ Right or wrong, the rude ones are the best. JillyCooper’s is particularly enjoyable; I’m not convinced Cooper didn’t make it up herself: ‘Jilly has set herself an extremely low standard which she has failed to maintain.’ Charterhouse is ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World

2 November 2006
Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... to a crisis in the credibility of its foreign policy by summoning leading novelists and poets to Whitehall; it is even harder to believe that any such crew would include both A.S. Byatt and JillyCooper or place Jeffrey Archer alongside Geoffrey Hill. How, if at all, are these two vignettes from the literary life of the period to be connected? Should we be wondering about the ways commercial changes ...

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