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21 February 1980
Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography 
by Jean Rhys.
Deutsch, 173 pp., £4.95, November 1980, 0 233 97213 7
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Jean Rhys: A Critical Study 
by Thomas Staley.
Macmillan, 140 pp., £10, November 1980, 0 333 24522 9
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My Blue Notebooks 
by Liane dePougy, translated by Diana Athill.
Deutsch, 288 pp., £7.50, October 1980, 0 233 97141 6
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The Maimie Papers 
edited by Ruth Rosen and Sue Davidson.
Virago, 450 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 86068 114 9
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Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Hugo Vickers.
Weidenfeld, 299 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 297 77652 5
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... remember that magic dress’ – worn for the first time with a frangipani wreath, was compounded with the memory of the place where she had been given it, Bona Vista, an estate in the Dominican hills, bought by her father in a moment of financial optimism, ‘very beautiful, wild, lonely, remote’. It had to be sold soon afterwards, ‘and we never went ...

Love-of-One’s-Life Department

Terry Castle: The lesbian scarcity economy

21 October 2004
Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho and Art: The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks 
by Diana Souhami.
Weidenfeld, 224 pp., £18.99, July 2004, 9780297643869
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... leathery from all the centuries of tennis and golf, but still the only game in town. When, you wonder, will someone new turn up? If it’s true – as a famous gay male writer has suggested – that there are really only 500 people in the world and after a while one has slept with most of them, then the sapphic dating pool has got to be even smaller: eight or ...


Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett

7 November 1985
... One of the great advantages of living on the offshore island otherwise describable as the landmass of Europe and Asia is that by so doing one may avoid all direct contact with the English literary establishment, which I have nonetheless managed to enter with the publication of a novel called Wales’ Work.1 In Paris, where I have lived even longer than Graham Greene, avoiding literature is not on ...
6 December 1990
Coco Chanel: A Biography 
by Axel Madsen.
Bloomsbury, 388 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 7475 0762 7
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... the Little Black Dress, the Chanel Suit and Chanel No 5. The three can effectively sum up the Modern Woman, suggesting female elegance without pretension and feminine allure without musk and whalebone. The Chanel style precludes the traditional forms of guile by which women have been supposed to arouse a man’s ...

Adieu, madame

Terry Castle: Sarah Bernhardt

4 November 2010
Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt 
by Robert Gottlieb.
Yale, 233 pp., £18.99, October 2010, 978 0 300 14127 6
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... roles – Marguerite, the doomed courtesan in La Dame aux camélias – Lawrence sounds like a decadent schoolgirl on heat: ‘Oh, to see her, and to hear her, a wild creature, a gazelle with a beautiful panther’s fascination and fury, sobbing and sighing like a deer sobs, woun...

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