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Female Relationships

Stephen Bann, 1 July 1982

When things of the spirit come first 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Patrick O’Brian.
Deutsch, 212 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 0 233 97462 8
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Union Street 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 266 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 9780860682820
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Lady Oracle 
by Margaret Atwood.
Virago, 346 pp., £3.50, June 1982, 0 86068 303 6
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Bodily Harm 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 302 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02016 1
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Hearts: A Novel 
by Hilma Wolitzer.
Harvester, 324 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 9780710804754
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by Amanda Hemingway.
Faber, 236 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 571 11875 5
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December Flower 
by Judy Allen.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7156 1644 7
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... Hemingway should wave it goodbye without a qualm, and set to work on less intractable materials. Judy Allen’s ‘first adult novel’, December Flower, sets up a marginally less daunting challenge in female relationships. Like Hilma Wolitzer’s Hearts, the book begins with a brief recollection of a husband’s untimely death, and continues with an ...

Khrush in America

Andrew O’Hagan: Khrushchev in America, 8 October 2009

K Blows Top 
by Peter Carlson.
Old Street, 327 pp., £9.99, July 2009, 978 1 905847 30 3
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... I know you.’ Hoover: ‘I feel like I know you too.’ A few moments later, the visitor met Allen Dulles, the director of the CIA. ‘You, Mr Chairman, may have seen some of my intelligence reports from time to time,’ Dulles said, smiling. ‘I believe we get the same reports,’ Khrushchev replied. ‘And probably from the same ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Grief and the Cameras, 3 December 2009

... the girl. ‘Why?’ ‘Because I don’t.’ When the show finishes, a double episode of Judge Judy will begin. This is another American programme in which argumentative people seek to broadcast their disputes in front of a wise lady or a baying audience. I’m a Celebrity … Get Me out of Here! will be on later, followed by a documentary about Peter ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester, 8 June 1995

A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... or of Cocteau or Fritz Lang or von Sternberg or Arthur Penn or Pasolini or Warhol or Woody Allen, nor a film directed or choreographed by Busby Berkeley, nor, amazingly, a film starring either Garbo or Fred Astaire, nor Shoah. Instead, it finds room for The Quiet Man and The Bridge on the River Kwai, three films by Nicolas Roeg and four by Powell and ...

People shouldn’t be fat

Zachary Leader, 3 October 1996

Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu 
by Simon Callow.
Cape, 640 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 224 03852 4
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Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 460 pp., £20, September 1996, 0 316 91437 1
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... makes much of Welles’s compulsive womanising, the affairs with Dolores del Rio, Rita Hay-worth, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Paola Mori, Oja Kodar and a host of ballerinas and showgirls. Immediately after shooting had finished on The Magnificent Ambersons, Welles flew to Rio de Janeiro to work on a government-sponsored documentary. When called back to ...

Backlash Blues

John Lahr, 16 June 2016

What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography 
by Alan Light.
Canongate, 309 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78211 871 8
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... of self – had become part of the ground on which African Americans stood. ‘White people had Judy Garland. We had Nina,’ the comedian Richard Pryor said. Simone’s voice answered the radical call for a profound articulation of the Black Tradition and incidentally made her ‘the patron saint of rebellion’, according to Crouch. Her singing, an ...


Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... the beginnings of the epistolary novel in France or in England. Rightly observing that Walter Allen in The English Novel fails to trace the full lineage of fiction, she does not see how many of the male ancestors he omits with the women. Alive to the gaps in Ian Watt’s account as far as Aphra Behn et al are concerned, she seems oblivious of the fact ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... a play for his fellow countryman in Pisa Airport – aborted when Kinnock reminded Marks’s wife, Judy, of an evil screw from Brixton.) The con works because it’s genuine. The man is Mr Nice, he has no spite in him. The villains he’s met are all diamonds. He’s no revenger. If he revises the past it is only to protect the guilty. Everything stems from ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... celebrity. What did one say to Henry Fonda or Joan Fontaine? How do you start a conversation with Judy Holliday and not mention Born Yesterday (an error I fell into)? How be casual with Katharine Hepburn or do anything but gaze at Steve McQueen? My best plan, I found, was to make a mental note of who was there so that I could write home that night, then go ...

The Unstoppable Upward

James Wolcott: ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’, 24 January 2019

The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965-2005 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 864 pp., £35, November 2018, 978 0 224 10188 2
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... his utmost to be fair to all parties). If Bellow’s interlocutors only knew. While this Punch and Judy show was being played out on page and stage, a whole different rakish drama was rustling behind the scenes. Far from being a wizened stick in the mud, Bellow was on the make and on the move, distributing his rising sap hither and yon. As Leader nicely ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... having trouble getting out of their flat on the 18th floor. Sakina used to work at the Punch & Judy Nursery in Earl’s Court, but now she was disabled. Only the year before she had asked to be housed closer to the ground. On the night of the fire, once the lifts were out, the sisters came to accept that Sakina would not make it down. ‘She was ...

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