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Gentlemen prefer dogs

Andrew O’Hagan

10 February 1994
The Dogs 
by Laura Thompson.
Chatto, 254 pp., £9.99, January 1994, 0 7011 3872 6
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... still going), in which greyhounds chase a live hare over an open field. For the Irish, coursing is a gambling game; for the English, it’s all for the fun of the chase, the thrill of the kill. LauraThompson jumps on this point in order to take the first of many boring swipes at what used to be called the upper orders. In England, she tells us, coursing is part of the world of the English ...

But she read Freud

Alice Spawls: Flora Thompson

19 February 2015
Dreams of the Good Life: The Life of Flora Thompson​ and the Creation of ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ 
by Richard Mabey.
Allen Lane, 208 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 14 104481 1
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... An outsider​ by birth as well as by disposition, Flora Thompson took solitary pleasure in observing her fellow villagers. She stored away characters and scenes from an early age – the naughty children who pulled her hair, Queenie who spoke to bees, the annual ...
5 February 2015
A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan 
by Laura Thompson.
Head of Zeus, 422 pp., £20, November 2014, 978 1 78185 536 2
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... as well as some more thoughtful studies of the case and what it reveals about postwar Britain and its social structure. Lord Lucan and Veronica Duncan on their wedding day, 28 November 1963. Thompson’s book is a mixture of all of these and the result is persuasive and revealing in some parts, absurd and tasteless in others. Yet it is a compelling read. The story doesn’t pall because it has ...

Hatless to Hindhead

Susannah Clapp

1 May 1980
A Country Calendar 
by Flora Thompson, edited by Margaret Lane.
Oxford, 307 pp., £6.95, October 1979, 9780192117533
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... Flora Thompson was born in 1876 in the hamlet of Juniper Hill in Oxfordshire, the daughter of a nursemaid and a stonemason. At the village school she was good at skipping and scripture. She was expected to go into ...

Their Mad Gallopade

Patrick McGuinness: Nancy Cunard

25 January 2018
Selected Poems 
by Nancy Cunard.
Carcanet, 304 pp., £12.99, October 2016, 978 1 78410 236 4
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... and Francophiles. In 1928, she set up the Hours Press, which lasted for three years and published 24 volumes, including Pound’s A Draft of XXX Cantos, John Rodker’s Collected Poems and Laura Riding’s Twenty Poems Less. The press also produced Beckett’s Whoroscope, billed as ‘Mr Samuel Beckett’s first separately published work’. Cunard and Richard Aldington had announced a ...
7 June 1984
A Portrait of Fryn: A Biography of F. Tennyson Jesse 
by Joanna Colenbrander.
Deutsch, 305 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 233 97572 1
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... a birthday-suit – for which Dod is going to sit.’ They dressed up as butterflies and bacchantes, and squeaked about sex over cocoa and boiled eggs; Mrs Colenbrander tells us that when Harold and Laura Knight arrived: ‘Their brilliant painting stunned the whole colony.’ After Damit and Horse, there was Tottie Harwood and literary London. Edith Jesse didn’t want her daughter back at home after ...

Institutional Hypocrisy

David Runciman: Selling the NHS

21 April 2005
Restoring Responsibility: Ethics in Government, Business and Healthcare 
by Dennis Thompson.
Cambridge, 349 pp., £16.99, November 2004, 0 521 54722 9
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NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Healthcare 
by Allyson Pollock.
Verso, 271 pp., £15.99, September 2004, 1 84467 011 2
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Brown’s Britain 
by Robert Peston.
Short Books, 369 pp., £14.99, January 2005, 1 904095 67 4
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... and practise what they preach, is itself absurd, and likely to breed cynicism and contempt. In an essay entitled ‘Hypocrisy and Democracy’ in his wonderfully measured new collection, Dennis Thompson quotes Judith Shklar, who described the politics of anti-hypocrisy as an ‘unending game of mutual unmasking’, in which everyone is bound to lose. Because democracy is a system of government that ...

Benevolent Mr Godwin

E.P. Thompson

8 July 1993
Political Justice 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, £150, November 1992, 1 85196 019 8
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The Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin 
edited by Mark Philp.
Pickering & Chatto, £395, March 1993, 1 85196 026 0
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Political Writings 
by Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 411 pp., £39.95, March 1993, 1 85196 019 8
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Memoirs of Wollstonecraft 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, 199 pp., £8.95, April 1993, 1 85477 125 6
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... philosophical high ground, this was borne in on me when I consulted a schoolgirl’s diary, by one of the Quaker Gurneys of Norwich, who were very much caught up in the advanced thought of the time. Laura Gurney’s diary, which she sometimes read aloud with friends, is an index to the approved yes-words and boo-words of the time (1797). Her brother, John, who had purloined her inkstand, got a ...

Ruined by men

Anthony Thwaite

1 September 1988
The Truth about Lorin Jones 
by Alison Lurie.
Joseph, 294 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 7181 3095 2
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Latecomers 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 248 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 224 02554 6
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Where the rivers meet 
by John Wain.
Hutchinson, 563 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 9780091736170
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About the Body 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 193 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 436 09784 2
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Stories 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 312 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 670 82113 6
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... last few months’ (relations with her son Stevie, with her friend Jeanne and Jeanne’s importunate lover Betsy) ‘was because of Lorin Jones.’ Lorin’s stepmother says: ‘I’m sorry ... but Laura Zimmern wasn’t a nice person.’ (Lorin has, or had, several names by which she was known; and Polly’s own surname is – perhaps a bit too nudgingly – Alter.) The derogatory descriptions start ...
5 January 2017
... the Copts, the wealthy. This was another way that colonials adopted a role and put on the Ritz. At home, my parents spoke to each other in English and my mother would use Italian with my sister Laura and me, but their conversation together and with friends was liberally sprinkled with Gallicisms, intended to add class and indicate social nuance; it included words for social structures and types ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives

4 May 2016
... Sometime​ in the 1970s, at the home of the feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey, I found myself in the company of another critic, who had just returned to London from the Berlin Film Festival. Over dinner he took pleasure in regaling us with stories of the male to female ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... 3 a.m. and went to the window, from where he could see what looked like a blowtorch of flame above the low-rise buildings and walkways at the base of the tower. He immediately sent a text message to Laura Johnson, the council’s director of housing, and to Holgate. Once he’d got dressed and gone outside he called Robert Black. The streets were full of people and blue lights were flashing everywhere ...

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