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Chelsea’s War

Jill Neville, 18 July 1985

Love Lessons: A Wartime Diary 
by Joan Wyndham.
Heinemann, 203 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 04 348786 6
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... Joan Wyndham began her diary on the brink of her deflowering and of the deflowering of Europe – the latter being a far less engrossing subject to this sexy, self-centred girl. The value of her diary lies in its artlessness. Here is femme moyenne sensuelle, unashamed, with nothing very noble or sensitive to commend her ...

Old Ladies

D.A.N. Jones, 20 August 1992

Dear Departed: A Memoir 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Maria Louise Ascher.
Aidan Ellis, 346 pp., £18, April 1992, 0 85628 186 7
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Anna, Soror 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Walter Kaiser.
Harvill, 256 pp., £7.99, May 1992, 0 00 271222 9
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That Mighty Sculptor, Time 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Walter Kaiser.
Aidan Ellis, 224 pp., £18, June 1992, 9780856281594
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Coming into the End Zone: A Memoir 
by Doris Grumbach.
Norton, 256 pp., £13.95, April 1992, 0 393 03009 1
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Anything Once 
by Joan Wyndham.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 178 pp., £15.95, March 1992, 9781856191296
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Within Tuscany 
by Matthew Spender.
Viking, 366 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 670 83836 5
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... the lessons at the local Episcopalian church. This is, in the long run, a comforting sort of book. Joan Wyndham, too, has passed 70. She saw it coming. 11 October 1990. My 69th birthday. Old age – how I hate it ... My head has started to poke forward like a turtle peering from its shell, my front teeth fall out when I sneeze ... How is it possible to ...


John Bayley, 4 June 1987

The Faber Book of Diaries 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 498 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 0 571 13806 3
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A Lasting Relationship: Parents and Children over Three Centuries 
by Linda Pollock.
Fourth Estate, 319 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 947795 25 1
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... and difficulty would be all – the real lyricism of the thing can only flower on the page. Joan Wyndham, on the other hand, another diarist and contemporary of Pym who conveys the same inimitable sense of being a silly girl, or rather of wanting to be a silly girl, as the diary self, also likes to note the solid satisfactions of sex, how it took ...
... had the French edition of White Mischief, which I come into. He’d put originally that Francis Wyndham, one of the senior editors, wanted Cyril Connolly to write something, and I immediately looked myself up and it said: ‘Francis Wyndham, un des rédacteurs les plus âgés’, as if I was one of the oldest editors ...

Silly Buggers

James Fox, 7 March 1991

The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... I first met Francis Wyndham in 1968, when I went to the Sunday Times Magazine looking for a job. A thunderstorm in the Gray’s Inn Road had soaked my cheap lightweight blue suit, bought in Johannesburg, and I was thinking my appearance had cost me my chance. At that time everyone – writers and photographers – seemed to want to write for the Magazine, then under the editorship of Godfrey Smith ...

Six hands at an open door

David Trotter, 21 March 1991

Intertextual Dynamics within the Literary Group: Joyce, Lewis, Pound and Eliot 
by Dennis Brown.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £35, November 1990, 9780333516461
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An Immodest Violet: The Life of Violet Hunt 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 205 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 233 98639 1
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... his chief contribution is ‘to argue for the stylistic influence of the early Vorticist prose of Wyndham Lewis on key texts of Joyce, Pound and Eliot and to reaffirm Lewis’s important role within the Modernist venture’. However, his study of these texts has led him to the ‘distinctly unconventional hypothesis’ that they should be considered ‘less ...

The Lady Vanishes

Zoë Heller, 20 July 1995

The Last of the Duchess 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £16.99, April 1995, 0 333 63062 9
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... the Duchess of Windsor had changed historical events more drastically than Mary Queen of Scots, or Joan of Arc, or even Margaret Thatcher, then perhaps Caroline Blackwood’s recycled revelations about the Duchess – her expertise at fellatio, her 22 carat gold bath-tub at Cap d’Antibes, the amusing tricks that her homosexual lover, the Woolworth heir Jimmy ...


John Bayley, 22 June 1989

The Essential Wyndham Lewis 
edited by Julian Symons.
Deutsch, 380 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 0 233 98376 7
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... to have gone off rather at half-cock. Nietzsche is the first in that field: the rest nowhere. Wyndham Lewis was in his own way a disciple of Nietzsche, but in a style that spoils the purity of the original. Like all ‘no-nonsense’ writers he depends none the less upon the impact of style, which inevitably goes off on its own, creating its own object, a ...


A.J.P. Taylor: An Unexpected Experience, 6 December 1984

... prose was a three-page pamphlet called ‘In Defence of English Cubists’ – mainly an attack on Wyndham Lewis. This leaves me far out of my depth. Bobby Roberts exhibited a few pictures each year at Burlington House. His style never changed. Perhaps it grew stronger. After Bobby’s death, John turned some of their house in St Mark’s Crescent into a ...

Who is Lucian Freud?

Rosemary Hill: John Craxton goes to Crete, 21 October 2021

John Craxton: A Life of Gifts 
by Ian Collins.
Yale, 383 pp., £25, May, 978 0 300 25529 4
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... by the painter Arshile Gorky, with whom she had a turbulent marriage until his suicide in 1948. Joan Leigh Fermor, a former secretary to Osbert Lancaster, was the wife of Patrick Leigh Fermor, famous at that time for his activities during the war, including the controversial kidnapping of the German commander on Crete. The third was Barbara ...

Rise and Fall of Radio Features

Marilyn Butler, 7 August 1980

Louis MacNeice in the BBC 
by Barbara Coulton.
Faber, 215 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 571 11537 3
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Best Radio Plays of 1979 
Eyre Methuen/BBC, 192 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 413 47130 6Show More
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... was not.’ D.G. Bridson, Laurence Gilliam, Jack Dillon, Douglas Cleverdon, Olive Shapley and Joan Littlewood produced programmes which ranged from adaptations of The Waste Land to features on homelessness and unemployment, from the uncompromisingly highbrow to the popular. Their ‘features’ broke away from the strait jacket of the formal talk or the ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front, 4 April 2002

... Dugouts!’) I’ve got a whole shelf on war artists: C.R.W. Nevinson, Paul Nash, William Roberts, Wyndham Lewis, and the skullishly named Muirhead Bone. I’ve got books about Fabian Ware and the founding of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I’ve a 1920 Blue Guide to Belgium and the Western Front and a Michelin Somme guide from 1922 – both published ...

Time Unfolded

Perry Anderson: Powell v. the World, 2 August 2018

... losing his admiration for the ‘luminous brutal prose, blocked-in with a painter’s eye’ of Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr, Powell identified self-pity and sentimentality as besetting weaknesses of romanticism – traits he detected in many well-regarded writers: Wilde, Ford, Greene, West, even Joyce. How did he square this dislike with his admiration for ...

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