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Simply Doing It

Thomas Laqueur, 22 February 1996

The Facts of Life: The Creation of Sexual Knowledge in Britain 1650-1950 
by Roy Porter and Lesley Hall.
Yale, 414 pp., £19.95, January 1995, 0 300 06221 4
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... Cosmopolitan) suggest that maybe there is nothing to tell, only telling itself. Roy Porter and Lesley Hall say they agree with Michel Foucault that ‘sex must be understood as discursively produced.’ (Actually, I don’t think they do agree, but more about that later.) If we take the point, then the history of sexual knowledge becomes the history ...

Doctoring the past

Anne Summers, 24 September 1992

The Woman beneath the Skin: A Doctor’s Patients in 18th-Century Germany 
by Barbara Duden, translated by Thomas Dunlap.
Harvard, 241 pp., £19.95, September 1991, 0 674 95403 3
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The Nature of their Bodies: Women and their Doctors in Victorian Canada 
by Wendy Mitchinson.
Toronto, 474 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 8020 5901 5
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Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900-1950 
by Lesley Hall.
Polity, 218 pp., £35, May 1991, 0 7456 0741 1
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... period. Male patients are necessarily minor characters in her book, but they come centre stage in Lesley Hall’s Hidden Anxieties. This covers discussions of male sexuality in the first half of the present century, and is based on a reading of both practitioner and patient sources – medical journals and advice manuals, and the letters which men in ...

A Serious Table

Christopher Driver, 2 September 1982

Simple French Food 
by Richard Olney.
Jill Norman and Hobhouse, 339 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 906908 22 1
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Living off nature 
by Judy Urquhart.
Penguin, 396 pp., £5.95, May 1982, 0 14 005107 4
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The Food and Cooking of Russia 
by Lesley Chamberlain.
Allen Lane, 330 pp., £9.95, June 1982, 0 7139 1468 8
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Food, Wine and Friends 
by Robert Carrier.
Sphere, 197 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7221 2295 0
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The Colour Book of Fast Food 
edited by Alison Kerr.
Octopus, 77 pp., £1.99, June 1981, 0 7064 1510 8
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... Union it has yet to reach the department in the Kremlin where publishing decisions are taken. Lesley Chamberlain, whose Food and Cooking of Russia suggests that she spent her short time in Moscow more profitably than most people do, says that only rarely does a cookery book appear in Soviet shops. She quotes Mayakovsky’s mocking and all too prophetic ...
Selected Poems 1964-1983 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 262 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 14619 8
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Terry Street 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, November 1986, 0 571 09713 8
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Selected Poems 1968-1983 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 109 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 571 14603 1
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Essential Reading 
by Peter Reading and Alan Jenkins.
Secker, 230 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 436 40988 7
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by Peter Reading.
Secker, 40 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 436 40989 5
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... with Elegies that Dunn caught the public imagination. These 39 poems written after the death of Lesley Dunn in 1981 (of which, curiously, only 21 are included here) have been compared by Robert Nye to the poems written by Thomas Hardy after the death of his wife, and by Jonathan Raban to In Memoriam. The subject is a precarious one for poetry, and Dunn has ...

Oddity’s Rainbow

Pat Rogers, 8 January 1987

Laurence Sterne: The Later Years 
by Arthur Cash.
Methuen, 390 pp., £38, September 1986, 0 416 32930 6
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Johnson’s Dictionary and the Language of Learning 
by Robert DeMaria.
Oxford, 303 pp., £20, October 1986, 9780198128861
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... up his quarrels with the dean and chapter at York, he seemed perpetually compelled to quit Shandy Hall. Sometimes it is health trips of increasingly unhopeful prognosis; sometimes it is the assemblies at Harrogate, the races at York, the small-town amenities of Scarborough. Of course there are the greater fleshpots of London and Paris: at the start of this ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... was not employed as one. Elizabeth Linington writes her Vic Varallo (not ‘Vatallo’) novels as Lesley Egan, not in her own name. There are two hands at work in the Alice Perrin entry, one of whom thinks the author published her first book in 1901 (wrong), another who thinks it was 1894 (right). Marie Corelli’s The Master Christian is oddly transformed ...

Rah, Rah, Cheers, Queers

Terry Castle: On Getting Married, 29 August 2013

... so we’ve heard, the sheep and goats are massing together in flash herds and rejoicing with old Lesley Gore songs. Real lesbian classics. (Not since Sappho … my … its … [party?] … Mytilene … naked Artemis … Judy’s turn … [cry?] …) Victory is sweet, even if glimpsed from afar. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Sunday denied a ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1998, 21 January 1999

... of the still uncertain John Gielgud. Later in the run he took me out to supper with Cole Lesley and Graham Payn to the Savoy, where we had sausages and mash. Alas, I have no memories of his conversation on either occasion, remembering only how he put me at my ease and seemed much kinder and nicer than I’d been led to expect. 14 April. Watch Grammar ...


Alan Bennett: A Round of Applause, 7 January 2021

... days ‘only connect’ means bumping elbows.7 May. Some time in the afternoon Alex Jennings and Lesley Moors call by and we have a socially distanced chat on the doorstep, me sitting on a stool, Rupert standing behind me. They bring me a birthday present (as yet unopened), having just taken something similar to Nick Hytner, whose birthday is today. Mine is ...

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 5 May 2016

‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
by Robin Muir.
National Portrait Gallery, 304 pp., £40, February 2016, 978 1 85514 561 0
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‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
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... neophytes – just knows the types so well: English insouciance, le chic français. The entrance hall is created from columns of illuminated Vogue covers arranged by colour (a bit gauche, non?) and leads into a film gallery, where clips of models dancing and cavorting, pulling faces and rolling their eyes, transfix the incoming crowd. All the footage is ...


Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... medical officer, Mokaré’s close friend, asked to be buried beside him: the present Albany town hall stands above their graves.There has been criticism that the Aboriginal voices in the book are muted and distant. This is often true, not least in the chapters on language and musicology; and it is part of the whole enormous story that the distances between ...

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