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What makes a waif?

Joanne O’Leary

13 September 2018
The Long-Winded Lady: Tales from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 215 pp., £10.99, January 2017, 978 1 906539 59 7
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Maeve BrennanHomesick at the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Angela Bourke.
Counterpoint, 360 pp., $16.95, February 2016, 978 1 61902 715 2
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The Springs of Affection: Stories 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 368 pp., £8.99, May 2016, 978 1 906539 54 2
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... MaeveBrennan​ could stop traffic. According to her colleague Roger Angell, she laid waste to a ‘dozen-odd’ writers and artists after the New Yorker hired her as a staff writer in 1949. She makes a cameo as ...
13 November 1997
... the New Yorker was also a kind of Miss Lonelyhearts. At first, I had thought that the woman was one of those people, and in a way you could say she had become one. The receptionist told me her name: MaeveBrennan. I had never heard of her, though for nearly thirty years she had been a staff writer – one of the gifted ones, with a steady cult following among the magazine’s younger writers. And I ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin

25 March 1993
Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... set-up, though, that repeats itself so regularly in Larkin’s life, Larkin wanting his cake but not wanting it to be thought he enjoys eating it, that it’s hard to go on sympathising as Monica and Maeve (and indeed Motion) are expected to do, as well as any woman who would listen. Not the men, of course. Larkin knows that kind of stuff just bores the chaps so they are fed the jokes, the good ladies ...

Here you are talking about duck again

Mark Ford: Larkin’s Letters Home

20 June 2019
Philip Larkin: Letters Home, 1936-77 
edited by James Booth.
Faber, 688 pp., £40, November 2018, 978 0 571 33559 6
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... comes in what turned out to be his last significant poem, ‘Love Again’, begun in the summer of 1975 and completed – or perhaps abandoned – four years later. It was inspired, he told MaeveBrennan – a colleague at Hull University library with whom he enjoyed a long and stuttering courtship, and finally an affair – by two dreams about her in which she went off with someone else, ‘losing ...

Keep yr gob shut

Christopher Tayler: Larkin v. Amis

20 December 2012
The Odd Couple: The Curious Friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin 
by Richard Bradford.
Robson, 373 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84954 375 0
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... and me, eh?’). At the same time, he was unsettled by finding out how much Larkin had kept from him of his arrangements in Hull – principally the depth of his involvements with Monica Jones and MaeveBrennan, walk-on grotesques as far as Amis was concerned – and can’t have been pleased by hints here and there of Larkin’s reservations about the Amis works and life. In Amis’s correspondence ...

Better than Ganymede

Tom Paulin: Larkin

21 October 2010
Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 475 pp., £22.50, October 2010, 978 0 571 23909 2
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... side letter from Monica crossed with a short one from Larkin. Both followed a ‘traumatic weekend’ in Hull, as Thwaite calls it, where Monica, distressed about Larkin’s affair with his colleague MaeveBrennan, was ‘physically sick’. ‘I can only say again,’ Larkin writes, ‘that I didn’t want to hurt you because I thought it wasn’t “serious” enough, but anyway I am ashamed of it ...

A Lethal Fall

Barbara Everett: Larkin and Chandler

11 May 2006
... high windows’ has tended, unsurprisingly in a peculiarly biographical age like our own, to be biographical. Andrew Motion’s life of the poet mentions the windows of Hull University Library; MaeveBrennan, who worked in the library, alludes in her memoir of Larkin to the flat in Hull’s Pearson Park where he lived for many years. It is probably hard for a biographer or writer of memoirs not ...

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