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Beware Bad Smells

Hugh Pennington: Florence Nightingale

4 December 2008
Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend 
by Mark Bostridge.
Viking, 646 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 670 87411 8
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... the wards of the Barrack Hospital at Scutari at night? Yes – but with what to light her way? Mark Bostridge is no revisionist, but he does point out that the evidence from the 1850s has little or nothing to say about the lamp. Nightingale’s path was enormously eased by her circumstances. Her family was wealthy. Her father educated her broadly and ...

Poor Darling

Jean McNicol

21 March 1996
Vera Brittain: A Life 
by Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge.
Chatto, 581 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 7011 2679 5
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Vera Brittain: A Feminist Life 
by Deborah Gorham.
Blackwell, 330 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 631 14715 2
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... if I were you I should.” ’ Vera was equally keen for her brother to join up and Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge believe that her reliance on what they describe as a ‘sentimentalised conception’ of war affected her relationship with Roland Leighton, who was sent to the Front in March 1915. Leighton had claimed that his purpose in fighting was ‘the ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front

4 April 2002
... of course, our teacher deploying us in little ranks till each of us ended up with our own white marker to stand in front of. The grave at one’s feet at once prompted animistic dread. Were you supposed to stand right on the spot under which the dead person lay? Could he feel your presence through the grass? If so, it was creepy, possibly even foolhardy, to ...

My Heroin Christmas

Terry Castle: Art Pepper and Me

18 December 2003
... in 1966 – middle-aged, chap-fallen, penniless and still addicted, his numerous scars and track marks supplemented with a conglomeration of scary and absurd prison tattoos. He describes these droll insigniae in a typically deadpan passage in his autobiography: One guy did one of Pan. Pan played his little horn and all the women followed him. He’d take ...

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