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Making It

Melissa Benn: New Feminism?

5 February 1998
Different for Girls: How Culture Creates Women 
by Joan Smith.
Chatto, 176 pp., £10.99, September 1997, 9780701165123
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The New Feminism 
by Natasha Walter.
Little, Brown, 278 pp., £17.50, January 1998, 0 316 88234 8
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A Century of Women: The History of Women in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Penguin, 752 pp., £20, June 1997, 0 670 87420 5
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... done their bit and an array of cultural critics and journalists – Suzanne Moore, Linda Grant, Joan Smith, Beatrix Campbell, Susie Orbach, even Julie Burchill – have established a niche in newspaper and broadcast journalism. Others, like Lynne Segal and Lisa Jardine, have climbed the academic ladder. Even so, the shortage of media stars, as opposed ...

Expendables

Joel Shurkin

23 January 1986
Clouds of Deceit: The Deadly Legacy of Britain’s Bomb Tests 
by Joan Smith.
Faber, 174 pp., £8.95, November 1985, 0 571 13628 1
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Fields of Thunder: Testing Britain’s Bomb 
by Denys Blakeway and Sue Lloyd-Roberts.
Allen and Unwin, 242 pp., £10.95, November 1985, 0 04 341029 4
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... and the subsequent cover-up. Clouds of Deceit was written by a former Sunday Times reporter, Joan Smith; Fields of Thunder – a much better book – by Sue Lloyd-Roberts and the BBC’s Denys Blakeway. Both books were inspired by the Australian Royal Commission on the conduct of the tests, whose report was published last month. In recent years ...

On Joan Murray

Patrick McGuinness: Joan Murray

20 December 2018
... Joan Murray​ died of a heart defect in 1942, at the age of 24. Her first book, Poems, was published five years later, after her manuscript won the Yale Younger Poets Prize, which was judged by Auden. Murray had been his student at the New School in 1940 and, not caring for any of the manuscripts he had been sent, he asked her mother if he could publish her work instead ...

Prophet of the Rocks

Richard Fortey: William Smith

9 August 2001
The Map that Changed the World: The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of a Science 
by Simon Winchester.
Viking, 338 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 88407 3
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... strata in sequence. Once again, a map provided the key; it was published by the surveyor William Smith in August 1815 and it provided the framework for the geological time-scale that is still in use today. In turn, this supplied the millions of years required for the operation of organic evolution. A mere map became the catalyst that destroyed Biblical ...

Diary

Elaine Showalter: Even Lolita must have read Nancy Drew

7 September 1995
... that she’s become a woman, the feminist detective of Amanda Cross, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Joan Smith or Sarah Dunant. The crimes are now drugs, rape and murder, but the fantasies are the same: ‘no thugs and smugglers can dwell in their grungy hideouts for long when a girl sleuth is ...

Frock Consciousness

Rosemary Hill: Fashion and frocks

20 January 2000
The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Fashion Writing 
edited by Judith Watt.
Viking, 360 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 670 88215 1
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Twentieth-Century Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes and Amy de la Haye.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £8.95, November 1999, 0 500 20321 0
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A Century of Fashion 
by François Baudot.
Thames and Hudson, 400 pp., £19.95, November 1999, 0 500 28178 5
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The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life 1860-1914 
by Christopher Breward.
Manchester, 278 pp., £45, September 1999, 0 7190 4799 4
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Black in Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 144 pp., £35, October 1999, 1 85177 278 2
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... is usually true, nor do the proponents of such ideas fall into predictable political camps. Joan Smith, quoted by Watt, blows John Berger’s famous dictum that ‘men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ smartly out of the water as just another male fantasy. If they are interested in clothes, women look at other women, because ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Godot on a bike

5 February 2004
... your unflattering portrayal, or they’ll be too embarrassed to own up to it. In the words of Lee Smith, the author of Fair and Tender Ladies and, most recently, The Last Girls: ‘It’s easy to disguise them enough for the purposes of putting them in a novel – just add a moustache, or change their sex or move them to Arizona . . . They’ll never ...

Presto!

James Buchan

14 December 1995
The Life of Adam Smith 
by Ian Simpson Ross.
Oxford, 495 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 19 828821 2
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... their sleeping bags a thousand feet below, there is a sentence that lets you peer right into Adam Smith’s world. He is talking about Cameron of Lochiel, whose decision, against his better judgment, to come out for Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745 won the clans for the Pretender and doomed the ancient culture of the Highlands to extinction. ‘That ...

What most I love I bite

Matthew Bevis: Stevie Smith

27 July 2016
The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith 
edited by Will May.
Faber, 806 pp., £35, October 2015, 978 0 571 31130 9
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... of a sailing ship on the rough sea coming suddenly alive and sucking in the children?’ Stevie Smith asked, reviewing C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 1952. She liked depictions of people who disappeared into the objects of their gaze; a couple of years earlier, her poem ‘Deeply Morbid’ told the story of ...

Fame at last

Elaine Showalter

7 November 1991
Anne Sexton: A Biography 
by Diane Wood Middlebrook.
Virago, 488 pp., £20, November 1991, 1 85381 406 7
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... I met Anne Sexton six months before her suicide, in April 1974. My colleague Carol Smith and I were doing a series of interviews with women writers, and we had heard how Sexton and her friend Maxine Kumin had worked together for years, talking about their poems in long telephone sessions when neither of then could get out of the house ...

At the National Gallery of Scotland

Peter Campbell: Joan Eardley

13 December 2007
... Joan Eardley was only 42 when she died in 1963. She was born in England but her life was in Scotland. Two Scottish subjects dominate the current exhibition of her work (at the National Gallery of Scotland until 13 January): paintings of children from the tenements near her Glasgow studio, and of the land and sea around Catterline, a village on the east coast, south of Aberdeen, which she first visited in 1951 and where she later owned a cottage (one of the row in the picture on this page ...

Sheer Enthusiasm

Thomas Chatterton Williams: Zadie Smith

30 August 2018
Feel Free: Essays 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 241 14689 7
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... Several​ of the last century’s finest non-fiction writers – Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, James Baldwin – longed to be novelists. In interviews with the Paris Review, each touched on the tension and insecurity involved in their dual métier. Sontag wrote in surprisingly aspirational tones of ‘the novelist [I’d] finally given myself permission to be ...

The People Must Be Paid

Paul Smith: Capital cities in World War I

7 May 1998
Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919 
edited by Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert.
Cambridge, 622 pp., £60, March 1997, 0 521 57171 5
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... Française who disrupted the Sorbonne lectures of Professor Thalamas (regarded as a traducer of Joan of Arc) stood groups less obviously inclined or adapted to answer the nation’s call. Nationalists feared the great towns as the seats at once of lust for gain and taste for luxurious ease which sapped the will to sacrifice self for state, and of the ...
30 October 1997
... the repository of the Reithian BBC’s nationalised moralism and authority. The following week, Joan Smith pursued a similarly dangerous line in the Independent on Sunday: ‘In recent days ... those of us who are not willing to pretend to emotions we don’t feel have been getting an ominous message – that we ought to keep quiet. It’s a message ...

Of the Mule Breed

David Bromwich: Robert Southey

21 May 1998
Robert Southey: A Life 
by Mark Storey.
Oxford, 405 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 19 811246 7
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... a morbid appeal in the eclipse of a career that spun out Thalaba, The Curse of Kehama, Roderick, Joan of Arc, and the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Adepts of cultural studies have found Southey the most open-minded of the Romantics, but the truth is that he was the most serviceable. He cast his eye in every direction, in book-making as in ...

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