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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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... Maeve Brennan​ 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 the magazine’s ‘resident Circe’ in a biography of the cartoonist Charles Addams; legend tells that she was Truman Capote’s inspiration for Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s ...

A Traveller in Residence

Mary Hawthorne, 13 November 1997

... of those people, and in a way you could say she had become one. The receptionist told me her name: Maeve Brennan. 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 did not know that, a few years earlier, after suffering ...

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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... 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 his dizziness and sweaty palms, thus endearing him to them ...

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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... of 1975 and completed – or perhaps abandoned – four years later. It was inspired, he told Maeve Brennan – 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 dreams’, he called them (‘all very ...

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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... in Hull, as Thwaite calls it, where Monica, distressed about Larkin’s affair with his colleague Maeve Brennan, 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 all. Perhaps it was a good thing to bring the affair ...

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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... of his arrangements in Hull – principally the depth of his involvements with Monica Jones and Maeve Brennan, 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 with Conquest, and more covertly in his Memoirs ...

A Lethal Fall

Barbara Everett: Larkin and Chandler, 11 May 2006

... biographical. Andrew Motion’s life of the poet mentions the windows of Hull University Library; Maeve Brennan, 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 – unconsciously and retrospectively – to condition ...

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