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1 October 1987
Serenissima: A Novel of Venice 
by Erica Jong.
Bantam, 225 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 593 01365 4
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Her Mother’s Daughter 
by Marilyn French.
Heinemann, 756 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 434 27200 0
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The Wedding of Jayanthi Mandel 
by Sara Banerji.
Gollancz, 208 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 03984 1
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... proves to be a limited one – from moist panties to ‘musical pillicock’. According to Erica Jong, motherhood is a superior ‘means of travelling through time’. According to the less playful MarilynFrench, it is a dangerous form of transport: ‘It is not the sins of the fathers that descend unto the third generation, but the sorrows of the mothers.’ Some of the sorrows examined in her fat ...

Looking back

John Sutherland

22 May 1980
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 176 pp., £4.95, March 1980, 0 224 01762 4
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The Bleeding Heart 
by Marilyn French.
Deutsch, 412 pp., £6.50, May 1980, 9780233972343
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by Jeremy Leven.
Hutchinson, 544 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 09 141250 1
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... Neither does young Christopher make it. He goes to Paris in 1968, but he misses the events; he and they didn’t seem made for each other. Christopher also fails in his liaison with his exciting French partner, Annick, and lapses into marriage with the sensible English girl Marion. And, in the last significant episode of the novel, a Metrolander once more, he doesn’t commit adultery:   ‘OK ...

Women beware men

Margaret Anne Doody

23 July 1992
Backlash: The Undeclared War against Women 
by Susan Faludi.
Chatto, 592 pp., £9.99, March 1992, 0 7011 4643 5
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The War against Women 
by Marilyn French.
Hamish Hamilton, 229 pp., £9.99, March 1992, 0 241 13271 1
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... extensively revised her 1991 American edition for the 1992 British edition. This version, with a Preface by Joan Smith, includes information regarding the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. MarilynFrench deals with Southern and Eastern countries, including the ‘Third World’ – a term which she thinks passé and dishonest. Both books are contemporary and well-informed, and both announce by ...

Unsex me here

John Bayley

20 May 1982
Shakespeare’s Division of Experience 
by Marilyn French.
Cape, 376 pp., £12.50, March 1982, 0 224 02013 7
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... There is no fellow in the firmament.’ Anyone else who believes anything strongly could do almost equally well. So it was only a matter of time before Shakespeare became a feminist. To do Dr French justice, though, she does not exactly claim that: only that he was fully aware of all the issues involved and sorted out psychological and moral experience on that basis. Thus his female characters ...


Christopher Ricks

19 November 1981
Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and its Background 1760-1830 
by Marilyn​ Butler.
Oxford, 213 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 19 219144 6
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... Authors are not the solitaries of the Romantic myth, but citizens.’ The spirit of Marilyn Butler’s excellent book on the Romantics is itself that of citizenship: of belonging to a civilised community, cultural and intellectual, which one helps to sustain and is sustained by, and which ...

Family Business

Fred Halliday

17 July 1997
... have daily access to foreign media. Books on gender relations range from assertions of the orthodox Islamic position to studies of ‘women and discourse’, replete with quotes from Julia Kristeva, MarilynFrench and Laura Mulvey. The official Saudi obsession with control produces visible tensions. An example is the restriction on representation of the human form in the media. It has no Koranic ...


Paul Foot: Windsor Girls School on 22 June

4 July 1985
... of Slough’ – ‘those bombs aren’t such a huge joke any more.’ The main session over, we were offered Judith Chernaik on Shelley’s feminism or Elma Dangerfield on Byron and Shelley or Marilyn Butler on the background to the politics of the Romantic poets. I had heard Judith a few times before, and reckoned Elma Dangerfield probably a bit right-wing for me, so I plumped for Marilyn Butler ...
16 October 1980
Three Honest Men: Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis, Lionel Trilling 
edited by Philip French.
Carcanet, 120 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 85635 299 3
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F.R. Leavis 
by William Walsh.
Chatto, 189 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7011 2503 9
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... Can you name the author who set you thinking? For Philip French, at a Bristol grammar school in the 1950s, the enlighteners were Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis and Lionel Trilling. For me, at a Wimbledon grammar school in the 1950s, Bertrand Russell filled the slot ...

Julia Caesar

Marilyn​ Butler

17 March 1983
The Prince and the Wild Geese 
by Brigid Brophy.
Hamish Hamilton, 62 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 241 10894 2
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... convention bars him from speaking or writing seriously of his passion to the object of it, he translates himself, Julia and Rome into fantasy, a more eloquent medium than their polite foreigners’ French. Every family with a series of drawings by the gifted professionals and amateurs of the 19th century should get them out. The Taaffes must have thought they had in their possession nothing more than ...

No Fear of Fanny

Marilyn​ Butler

20 November 1980
by Erica Jong.
Granada, 496 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 246 11427 4
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The Heroine’s Text 
by Nancy Miller.
Columbia, 185 pp., £10, July 1980, 0 231 04910 2
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... whore Fanny Hill, whose ‘sugar’d tale’ ends improbably in middle-class marriage. Recent feminist criticism has begun to focus on the problem of the 18th-century heroine. In a modish study of French and English novels, The Heroine’s Text, Nancy K. Miller speculates indignantly on the motives of male authors in humiliating their heroines – having them raped, punishing their sexual indulgence ...
28 September 1989
The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vols I-VII 
edited by Janet Todd and Marilyn​ Butler.
Pickering & Chatto, 2530 pp., £245, August 1989, 1 85196 006 6
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... of Salzmann’s Elements of Morality in an edition of 1821, published in Edinburgh by Oliver and Boyd. A bookseller friend got me a copy of the single edition of her Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution, and both editions of Godwin’s Memoir written after her death, which caused such a scandalous stir when they appeared one after another in 1798; none of these had ever been reprinted ...

Quite Nice

Diana Souhami: Fernande Olivier

13 December 2001
Loving Picasso: The Private Journal of Fernande Olivier 
edited by Marilyn​ McCully, translated by Christine Baker.
Abrams, 296 pp., £24, May 2001, 0 8109 4251 8
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... beyond the grave, to ban it, he would do so. The idea was John Richardson’s. He provides a contextual epilogue, taken more or less verbatim from the second volume of his mammoth Life of Picasso. Marilyn McCully (who is working on the third volume with Richardson) provides a foreword and biographical notes. Letters from Olivier to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are included, too. So Loving ...
6 September 1984
Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic 
by David Bromwich.
Oxford, 450 pp., £19.50, March 1984, 0 19 503343 4
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William Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary 
by Peter Marshall.
Yale, 496 pp., £14.95, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy 
edited by Marilyn​ Butler.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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... as trustingly as E.P. Thompson did, in The Making of the English Working Class. Similarly, in her collection of ‘English Prose Texts’, Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy, Marilyn Butler finds it useful to quote Hazlitt when she has to introduce the dull writings of Orator Thelwall. ‘The most dashing orator I ever heard is the flattest writer I have ever read,’ Hazlitt ...

Priapus Knight

Marilyn​ Butler

18 March 1982
TheArrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824 
edited by Michael Clarke and Nicholas Penny.
Manchester, 189 pp., £30, February 1982, 0 7190 0871 9
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... Richard Payne Knight was an important English intellectual of the era of the French Revolution. He flourished from the 1770s until his death, perhaps by suicide, in 1824. Most of that time he wielded great influence in the art world, as a leading collector, connoisseur and ...

Malvolio’s Story

Marilyn​ Butler

8 February 1996
Dirt and Deity: A Life of Robert Burns 
by Ian McIntyre.
HarperCollins, 461 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 00 215964 3
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... on a handful of well-known incidents. They include J.G. Lockhart’s celebrated story that in February 1792 Burns the exciseman bought the guns from a ship caught smuggling and presented them to the French Convention. Lockhart attributes it to his father-in-law Walter Scott, but it now seems improbable. On the other hand, another much-cited episode of later the same year – that Burns joined in one or ...

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