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Various Woman

Penelope Fitzgerald, 2 April 1987

A Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley 
by Katherine Frank.
Hamish Hamilton, 333 pp., £14.95, February 1987, 0 241 12074 8
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Marilyn 
by Gloria Steinem and George Barris.
Gollancz, 182 pp., £12.95, February 1987, 0 575 03945 0
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Joe and Marilyn: A Memory of Love 
by Roger Kahn.
Sidgwick, 268 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 283 99427 4
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I leap over the wall 
by Monica Baldwin and Karen Armstrong.
Hamish Hamilton, 308 pp., £4.95, March 1987, 9780241119747
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Diary of a Zen Nun: A Moving Chronicle of Living Zen 
by Nan Shin (Nancy Amphoux).
Rider, 228 pp., £5.95, January 1987, 9780712614320
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... realm of gramarye’ – a Cottage in the Clouds. In the introduction to this paperback edition Karen Armstrong suggests that she is ‘substituting one religion for another, pagan glamour for religion’. Karen Armstrong, who was once a nun herself, also says that I leap over the wall is telling us ...

Inhumane, Intolerant, Unclean

Ian Gilmour, 31 October 1996

A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... the holiness necessarily stem from the formative events of a religion having taken place there: as Karen Armstrong points out, those of Judaism and Islam happened far away, in the Sinai Peninsula and the Arab Hijaz. This is not true of Christianity: the death of Jesus undoubtedly occurred in Jerusalem, although opinions differ as to what happened ...

Witchiness

Marina Warner: Baba Yaga, 27 August 2009

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg 
by Dubravka Ugrešić, translated by Ellen Elias Bursác, Celia Hawkesworth and Mark Thompson.
Canongate, 327 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84767 066 3
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... matters, which this series of books aims to stir, are powerful in this new handmaid’s tale. Karen Armstrong opened the series with an introduction that stressed myth’s archaic origins and links to religion and ritual, to national or tribal identity. This is the ontological version of myth, which assumes that the stories connect to a metaphysical ...

The Soul of Man under Psychoanalysis

Adam Phillips: ‘The Soul of Man under Psychoanalysis’, 29 November 2001

... not because it did not exist, but because it corresponded to no thing that we know. Buddha, Karen Armstrong What Freud and Eliot are saying, in their different ways, is that the pressures we live under seem to require us to make them intelligible. That to be human in the best sense is to have some understanding – to be able to give some kind of ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... In an entirely other kind of brilliant, frantic, wide-ranging book, the theologian and ex-nun Karen Armstrong’s spiritual autobiography The Spiral Staircase (2004), we are reminded that ‘the myths of the hero … are not meant to give us historical information about Prometheus or Achilles, or for that matter about Jesus or the ...

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