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Half Snake, Half Panther

James Davidson: Nijinsky, 26 September 2013

Nijinsky 
by Lucy Moore.
Profile, 324 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 1 84668 618 4
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... and I would starve to death.’ Following the Paris season Diaghilev took him to Venice, for what Lucy Moore in her new biography describes as ‘an unconventional honeymoon’. In 1910, the god of the dance returned to Paris. This time he starred in Schéhérazade. The fun-loving Queen Zobéide, played by the extraordinary-looking Ida ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Awful Truth’, 24 May 2018

... in a truth – and it seems there’s nothing less logical than the truth.’ They are Jerry and Lucy Warriner, happily married, indeed made for each other, as the film goes on to show, although he needs to escape from his bliss now and again. He’s been in New York while pretending to be in Florida, not up to much, as far we can tell, apart from exercising ...

Fiction and E.M. Forster

Frank Kermode: At the Cost of Life, 10 May 2007

... play Beethoven sonatas ‘with spirit’. There are, I think, only three pianists in the novels: Lucy Honeychurch, a mysterious Miss Quested who plays MacDowell, though inaudibly, in Howards End, and, perhaps surprisingly, Leonard Bast, also of that novel. Bast plays, but, according to the manuscript, ‘badly’. Before the book reached print this had ...

Excessive Weeping

Lauren Oyler: Nicole Flattery’s Stories, 10 October 2019

Show Them a Good Time 
by Nicole Flattery.
Bloomsbury, 238 pp., £14.99, March 2019, 978 1 5266 1190 1
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... some of the most concrete aspects of the book are provided by the dialogue, which, as in Lorrie Moore or Deborah Eisenberg, often contains much of the stories’ movement as it delivers funny little zaps to the main character’s perspective. In ‘Parrot’, a young woman working as a temp laughs at a co-worker – ‘every office must have someone sad to ...

Paul and Penny

Julian Symons, 25 October 1990

Paul Scott: A Life 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hutchinson, 429 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 09 173984 5
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Paul Scott’s Raj 
by Robin Moore.
Heinemann, 246 pp., £18.50, October 1990, 0 434 47588 2
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... or perhaps understood the idea of achieving effects by compression or omission. Nothing in Robin Moore’s book bears directly on the literary merits of the Quartet, although he thinks that the TV serial lost much of ‘the texture of testimony’, the ‘intimation of character’. He also, however, quotes John Bayley’s view, similar to the one expressed ...

Good Manners

Craig Raine, 17 May 1984

The Collected Prose of Elizabeth Bishop 
edited by Robert Giroux.
Chatto, 278 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2809 7
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... Americans are not in the driving seat dictating the direction. In the stunning memoir of Marianne Moore, this preoccupation is, if anything, more pronounced. Again, there is the same mixture of tactful respect, forbearance, even admiration, and a wry agnosticism. The absolutes promulgated by Miss Moore (‘we called each ...

Look here, Mr Goodwood

John Bayley, 19 September 1996

Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in 19th-Century Fiction 
by John Sutherland.
Oxford, 262 pp., £3.99, June 1996, 9780192825162
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... about the puzzle that concludes Villette? Did Paul Emanuel survive the storm and return to marry Lucy Snowe? Or was he drowned? Charlotte Brontë produces a subtle variation on the gross Thackerayan formula. The ‘kind heart’ and ‘sunny imagination’ is allowed to conceive ‘the delight of joy born again fresh out of great terror. Let them picture ...

For Australians only

Jill Roe, 18 February 1988

... union with one of the visiting English aristocracy. Unfortunately, George foists his aunt, Mrs Lucy Brankston of Goulburn, a descendant of true pioneers, on the Women’s Advisory Committee as guest of honour, and Aunt Lucy makes a great stand against ‘ancient oppression and snobbery’ by declining all honours and ...

I’m a Cahunian

Adam Mars-Jones: Claude Cahun, 2 August 2018

Never Anyone But You 
by Rupert Thomson.
Corsair, 340 pp., £18.99, June 2018, 978 1 4721 5350 0
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... Rupert Thomson’s​ new novel follows the contours of a remarkable life. Lucy Schwob, born in 1894 to a cultured and prosperous Nantes family, moved to Paris in 1920, where she developed strong links with the Surrealist movement and adopted the name Claude Cahun. Though she produced work in a number of media, and in her lifetime was known as a writer, she is now remembered for her photographic self-portraits, mainly taken in the 1920s, which stage her in various personae (aviator, buddha, doll, angel ...

I myself detest all Modern Art

Anne Diebel: Scofield Thayer, 8 April 2015

The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer 
by James Dempsey.
Florida, 240 pp., £32.50, February 2014, 978 0 8130 4926 7
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... ability – he wrote the Dial’s wry unsigned ‘Comment’ column, and poetry that Marianne Moore praised as ‘reflective, bi-visioned and rather wilfully unconventional’ – but his most important work was as a patron, not a promoter. He left the hawking to people like Ezra Pound, ‘that agitated agitator’, ‘official barker outside the tent ...

Seeing through Fuller

Nicholas Penny, 30 March 1989

Theoria: Art and the Absence of Grace 
by Peter Fuller.
Chatto, 260 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 7011 2942 5
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Seeing through Berger 
by Peter Fuller.
Claridge, 176 pp., £8.95, November 1988, 1 870626 75 3
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Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain. Vol. IX: Since the Second World War 
edited by Boris Ford.
Cambridge, 369 pp., £19.50, November 1988, 0 521 32765 2
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Ruskin’s Myths 
by Dinah Birch.
Oxford, 212 pp., £22.50, August 1988, 9780198128724
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The Sun is God: Painting, Literature and Mythology in the 19th Century 
edited by J.B. Bullen.
Oxford, 230 pp., £27.50, March 1989, 0 19 812884 3
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Artisans and Architects: The Ruskinian Tradition in Architectural Thought 
by Mark Swenarton.
Macmillan, 239 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 333 46460 5
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... to applaud in them evidence of a strenously physical relationship with paint. Thus Mali Morris, Lucy Ellmann tells us, works ‘with acrylic on unstretched canvas on the floor ... pulling gobs of paint a little way or densely caking colour on, with rough or gentle strokes. The paint sometimes seems to have flitted across, barely swooping low enough to make ...

Husbands and Wives

Terry Castle: Claude & Marcel, Gertrude & Alice, 13 December 2007

Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore 
edited by Louise Downie.
Tate Gallery, 240 pp., £25, June 2006, 1 59711 025 6
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Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice 
by Janet Malcolm.
Yale, 229 pp., £16.99, October 2007, 978 0 300 12551 1
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... 1980s – most of them apparently produced in the 1920s and 1930s with the assistance of Marcel Moore, the lesbian companion with whom she lived as a recluse on the island of Jersey between 1937 and 1954 – the wildly androgynous artist can be seen vamping it up in a boggling array of cross-sex get-ups. Long before dyke-daddy chic Cahun and ...

Believe it or not

Rebecca Mead: America’s National Story Project, 7 February 2002

True Tales of American Life 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 416 pp., £16.99, November 2001, 0 571 21050 3
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... laid down around you, you forget about freedom shrinking at your back.’ It’s an image Lorrie Moore might be proud of. In another compelling story, ‘Isolation’ by Lucy Hayden, an unwelcome cousin who comes to visit a house of bereaved teenagers is ‘loud and talkative and moved through us like a walking television ...

Amor vincit Vinnie

Marilyn Butler, 21 February 1985

Foreign Affairs 
by Alison Lurie.
Joseph, 291 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7181 2516 9
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... Changing Places and Small World. Now, all around the large cabin, other refugees from Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only and from Gene Wilder in The Woman in Red have their noses stuck into novels. Could it be that a certain kind of novel is being produced for this very market, just as a certain kind of film is? Are these other readers encountering ...

How much?

Ian Hamilton: Literary pay and literary prizes, 18 June 1998

Guide to Literary Prizes, 1998 
edited by Huw Molseed.
Book Trust, 38 pp., £3.99, May 1998, 0 85353 475 6
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The Cost of Letters: A Survey of Literary Living Standards 
edited by Andrew Holgate and Honor Wilson-Fletcher.
W Magazine, 208 pp., £2, May 1998, 0 9527405 9 1
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... working fairly happily as a doctor in New Jersey, was to be Pound’s second escapee. Marianne Moore might be his third. At one stage, he envisaged annual liberations – assuming, of course, that a sufficient supply of stifled talent was available. The authors for whom these fervent plans were being laid would, Pound was convinced, be deeply grateful. In ...

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