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Aitch or haitch

Clare Bucknell: Louise Kennedy’s ‘Trespasses’, 23 June 2022

by Louise Kennedy.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £14.99, April, 978 1 5266 2332 4
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... Cushla Lavery, the class’s teacher and the young Catholic protagonist of Trespasses, Louise Kennedy’s first novel, hates the ritual of The News and the specialist vocabulary it inculcates. ‘Rubber bullets. Saracen. Internment. The Special Powers Act.’ But the headmaster refuses to drop it, on the grounds that it encourages his pupils ...

Peroxide Mug-Shot

Marina Warner: Women who kill children, 1 January 1998

... the generic spectre of Death, who stalked children in times of high infant mortality. The trial of Louise Woodward and her initial conviction for the first-degree murder of Matthew Eappen reverberates with the atavistic confusion of all forms of child death, whether occurring by design, accident or injury, especially when a woman is involved. A large body of ...

On the Brink

James Lever: Philip Roth, 28 January 2010

The Humbling 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 140 pp., £12.99, November 2009, 978 0 224 08793 3
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... is one of The Humbling’s household gods. Attempting a Tempest/Macbeth double bill at the Kennedy Center, the 65-year-old protagonist, Simon Axler, ‘the last of the best of the classical American stage actors’, is suddenly abandoned by his talent. No reason is given – there is no reason – and Axler suffers a breakdown, aggravated by his ...

In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote, 21 April 2005

The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... then kicked his wife, loosening four of her teeth, until she passed out. Whereupon Lolly H. and Louise [Crane], with great cries of distress and sympathy, tried to bring Mrs Thomas to. At this point Mr Thomas said to Louise, who was bending over the prostrated Mrs Thomas: ‘What the hell are you crying over her for? You ...

The Spree

Frank Kermode, 22 February 1996

The Feminisation of American Culture 
by Ann Douglas.
Papermac, 403 pp., £10, February 1996, 0 333 65421 8
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Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the Twenties 
by Ann Douglas.
Picador, 606 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 330 34683 0
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... Twenties. It is hard to believe, as you drive from the West Side down 125th Street en route for Kennedy, that it was ever a glamorous place. It is now generally thought to be dangerous; drivers lock their car doors at traffic-lights and dread the ‘squeegee merchants’ – I daresay that trade, so irksome to Mr Straw, had its origins in New York City. But ...


Stefan Collini: Edmund Wilson, 17 November 2005

Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature 
by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 642 pp., £35, August 2005, 0 374 11312 2
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... York, where he had a house; to be a slightly reluctant literary adornment to Camelot during the Kennedy era; to take a highly visible stand against the Vietnam War; and so on. As his journals and letters make clear, he knew everybody (and the very fact that he kept such discursive journals and wrote such copious letters contributes to his iconic ...


Richard J. Evans: Hitler’s Aristocratic Go-Betweens, 17 March 2016

Go-Betweens for Hitler 
by Karina Urbach.
Oxford, 389 pp., £20, July 2015, 978 0 19 870366 2
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... Orléans y Borbón, Duchess of Galliera; Prince Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein; Princess Marie Louise of Anhalt; and Princess Alice of Teck. The First World War was a challenge to this high society of monarchs and aristocrats. The Russian-born Dowager Duchess of Coburg was denounced in Germany as a spy; she was British before she became German, having ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... media-mediated tragedy, from the Oklahoma City bombings to the O.J. Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey and Louise Woodward cases. Mourners and survivors say they need it, readers and audiences claim they desire it, yet the files remain open. ‘Closure’ is not news. The mechanism of cultural Schadenfreude ensures the endless recycling of the story, with variations ...

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