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D.D. Guttenplan: Whitehall and Jews

6 July 2000
Whitehall and The Jews 1933-48 
by Louise London.
Cambridge, 313 pp., £30, March 2000, 0 521 63187 4
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... Three scenes from London life. 1) Westminster in 1999, when the tidal wave of ‘bogus asylum seekers’ that would break across tabloid front pages was just a gentle swell on the horizon. A House of Commons standing ...

Uninfatuated

Tessa Hadley: Dan Jacobson

20 October 2005
All for Love 
by Dan Jacobson.
Hamish Hamilton, 262 pp., £16.99, February 2005, 0 241 14273 3
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... and imagining in prewar Europe: caste-ridden, smothered in protocol, carelessly rapacious, in thrall to high-flown romanticism. One spring morning in 1895, in the Prater Gardens in Vienna, Princess Louise – daughter of King Leopold of Belgium, wife of Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg – exchanged glances with a handsome young uhlan struggling to control the black stallion he rode. Géza Mattachich ...

Prosecco Notwithstanding

Tobias Gregory: 21st-Century Noir

3 July 2008
The Lemur 
by Benjamin Black.
Picador US, 144 pp., $13, June 2008, 978 0 312 42808 2
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... to tell him he’s discovered something big, big enough that Glass will surely be willing to pay big to keep the secret in the family. Then the lemur is found shot through the eye. Glass’s wife, Louise, Big Bill’s daughter, is formidable in her own right. She’s gorgeous, of course, tall and thin, ‘48 but looked thirty’, with elegant manners, firm handwriting, a top-drawer education – ...

Love and Hate, Girl and Boy

Juliet Mitchell: Louise​ Bourgeois

6 November 2014
... Louise Bourgeois​ died, aged 98, in May 2010. Shortly before her death Jerry Gorovoy, her long-time assistant, found a forgotten box of her jottings, unpublished papers and diaries from her time in ...

Juliet

D.J. Enright

18 September 1980
Flaubert and an English Governess 
by Hermia Oliver.
Oxford, 212 pp., £9.50, June 1980, 0 19 815764 9
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The Letters of Gustave Flaubert 1830-1857 
edited and translated by Francis Steegmuller.
Harvard, 270 pp., £7.50, March 1980, 0 674 52636 8
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... meagre revelations, is stuffed with ‘probably’s’, ‘may’s’, ‘if’s’ and ‘just possible’s’, a case of seeking hopefully rather than arriving. Born in 1829 as the daughter of a London builder, Juliet came from ‘the artisan rather than the professional classes’. Miss Oliver is faintly surprised that Flaubert should have been devoted (if devoted he was) to so humble a being ...

Pour a stiff drink

Tessa Hadley: Elizabeth Jane Howard

6 February 2014
All Change 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Mantle, 573 pp., £18.99, November 2013, 978 0 230 74307 6
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... adapt to a new age. Villy, Edward’s wife, has married beneath her; Villy’s mother disapproves of Villy having her old governess sit with them at dinner, Villy disapproves of her daughter Louise wearing trousers. She encourages Louise to think she is clumsy and ugly, because it’s good for her; and, besides, the family ‘did not mention, let alone discuss, people’s appearance’ – a ...
4 November 1993
The Green Knight 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 472 pp., £15.99, September 1993, 0 7011 6030 6
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... raised, even before we get to know them, by their names. In The Green Knight we have to contend with Lucas and Clement Graffe, Harvey Blacket, Bellamy James and his dog Anax, the Anderson women – Louise and her daughters Alethea (Aleph), Sophia (Sefton) and Moira (Moy) – Emil and Clive and the Adwardens. A reader alert to social differences will find such names far from neutral. An odour of class ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Underground Bunkers

6 November 2008
... Centre. There was no one around. With its forty acres of 1960s Brutalist concrete and notorious labyrinth of tower blocks and overhead walkways, the Barbican is one of the most undervisited places in London. I love it as I love hospitals and airports, for the way they allow you to occupy public space without being seen, without being public. Ignore the signs and they ignore you. At the top of the ...

Royals in Oils

Peter Campbell

13 November 1997
The Sweetness of Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Louise​ Vigée Le Brun 
by Angelica Goodden.
Deutsch, 384 pp., £19.99, June 1997, 0 233 99021 6
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... In her portraits Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun did her very best to give a pleasing account of the facts of the flesh. The faces are attractive, the expressions forthcoming and responsive. The phrase ‘a smile played around her ...

The Real Thing!

Julian Barnes: Visions of Vice

17 December 2015
Splendeurs et misères: Images de la prostitution 1850-1910 
Musée d’Orsay, until 17 January 2016Show More
Elisabeth Louise​ Vigée Le Brun 
Grand Palais, until 11 January 2016Show More
Elisabeth Louise​ Vigée Le Brun 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9 February 2016 to 15 May 2016Show More
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... and castanets, their hair spangled with gold piastres. Flaubert’s attitude to prostitution was complicated, as one might expect. In 1853 he explained it to – of all people – his lover Louise Colet: It may be a perverted taste, but I love prostitution, and for itself, too, quite apart from its carnal aspects. My heart begins to pound every time I see one of those women in low-cut dresses ...

Dark Places

John Sutherland

18 November 1982
Wise Virgin 
by A.N. Wilson.
Secker, 186 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 436 57608 2
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The London​ Embassy 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 211 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 241 10872 1
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The frog who dared to croak 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 182 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 571 11989 1
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Vintage Stuff 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.50, November 1982, 0 436 45810 1
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Rogue Justice 
by Geoffrey Household.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7181 2178 3
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... attended by two virgins: his luscious teenage daughter Tibba and his dowdy amanuensis, Miss Agar (PhD, failed). With all this wretchedness stacked behind it, the novel opens: ‘ “Marry me,” said Louise Agar.’ Will he? The monstrously tragic prelude (given in terse and intermittent flashback) permeates Wise Virgin with a kind of post-operative exhaustion. It is as if the writer had aimed at a ...

Not His Type

Frank Kermode

5 September 1996
About Modern Art: Critical Essays 1948-96 
by David Sylvester.
Chatto, 448 pp., £25, June 1996, 0 7011 6268 6
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... lacked talent and began to write about art instead, devoting himself thenceforth to the black and white of the page. A left-wing journal here called the Tribute accepted an article he wrote about a London exhibition. Now 18, he was launched on a career for which he was but insecurely qualified. It was wartime, and he had seen very few foreign pictures; the National Gallery exposed only one Old Master ...
19 October 2000
... One summer at the fag-end of the 1990s, I had to go out of London to talk to a literary society, of the sort that must have been old-fashioned when the previous century closed. When the day came, I wondered why I’d agreed to it; but yes is easier than no, and of ...
17 October 1985
A Maggot 
by John Fowles.
Cape, 460 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 224 02806 5
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The Romances of John Fowles 
by Simon Loveday.
Macmillan, 164 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 333 31518 9
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... A girl and three men are riding westward from London when a fifth rider joins them, a man in a red coat and dragoon’s hat. The year is 1736 and they are on horseback. Arriving at a Devonshire country inn, they tell the innkeeper and an intrusive ...

At the Nunnery Gallery

Eleanor Birne: Madge Gill

24 January 2013
... it out in. Gill made the scroll in 1949 at her house in Upton Park in East Ham, where she lived with her two sons; she had been making things like it for thirty years. She was born illegitimate in London in 1882; her mother had her fostered and she spent a few years in an orphanage before being sent to work on a farm in Canada. She came back to East London when she was 18, to live with her aunt Kate ...

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