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Rinse it in dead champagne

Colm Tóibín: The women who invented beauty, 5 February 2004

War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry 
by Lindy Woodhead.
Virago, 498 pp., £20, April 2003, 1 86049 974 0
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Diana Vreeland 
by Eleanor Dwight.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £30, December 2002, 0 688 16738 1
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... late as 1912 the editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal said that ‘men continued to see rouge as a mark of sex and sin.’ That same year, however, twenty thousand women, watched by half a million onlookers, marched in New York City for the right to vote: the leaders, who included some society ladies, wore bright red lipstick. The march was joined by Elizabeth ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement, 29 November 2001

The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... and Thackeray became journalists as well. Bored with running newspapers, G.W.M. Reynolds and Mark Lemon turned their hand to penny dreadfuls and comedies. The deregulation of the London stage in 1843 meant that actors, managers and playwrights competed for ever-growing theatrical audiences. And the great schism in the Scottish churches, the fall-out from ...

Fat is a manifest tissue

Steven Shapin: George Cheyne, 10 August 2000

Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment: The Life and Times of George Cheyne 
by Anita Guerrini.
Oklahoma, 304 pp., $25.95, February 2000, 0 585 28344 3
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... applauded Cheyne’s effort, saying that soon ‘Mathematical Learning will be the Distinguishing Mark of a Physician from a Quack.’ But other philosophically advanced physicians confessed themselves befuddled by Cheyne’s science. Dr Martin Lister admitted that ‘for want of Mathematicks, I could not well enter into some of his reasonings,’ and ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Handwriting, 8 November 2012

... character. Joined-up writing is not the only way to acquire literacy skills and the mechanical mark inscribed by depressing a key is easier to execute than the sign traced with a pen or pencil. Our predecessors were never faced with the possibility, which haunts the thinking of people like Hamilton, that learning cursive script before your fingers rattle a ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... the implications. For almost fifteen years Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson had insisted they were innocent and had been framed by the police. I recalled that Sir Michael Havers, who led for the Crown in the 1975 trial, had reasoned to the jury that if the Four were innocent, a huge conspiracy to pervert the course of justice ...

The view from the street

John Barrell, 7 April 1994

Hogarth. Vol. I: The ‘Modern Moral Subject’, 1697-1732 
by Ronald Paulson.
Lutterworth, 411 pp., £35, May 1992, 0 7188 2854 2
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... of as the ‘official’ tradition of 18th-century theory, as produced by Shaftesbury, Jonathan Richardson and Sir Joshua Reynolds. He can also be argued to have challenged, more directly than anyone else, the supremacy of history painting in the hierarchy of genres adhered to by that official theory. He was always willing to turn his hand to history ...

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 ...

Less than a Trauma

Freya Johnston: ‘The Life of the Mind’, 26 May 2022

The Life of the Mind 
by Christine Smallwood.
Europa, 200 pp., £12.99, October 2021, 978 1 78770 345 2
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... was taking a shit,’ which risks pressing the demotic a bit too hard. This tendency might seem to mark out the novel as boldly modern when in fact it belongs to a long line of books by women about what and how women think. Virginia Woolf pursued with interest the fiction produced by Dorothy Richardson, a rival annotator or ...

Sour Notes

D.A.N. Jones, 17 November 1983

Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle 
edited by John Goodwin.
Hamish Hamilton, 507 pp., £12.95, November 1983, 0 241 11047 5
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... mutht be amuthed, Thquire.’ Many Cambridge graduates of Hall’s vintage have made their mark in highbrow showbiz with efforts to emulate Leavis’s seriousness. Leavis himself struck out a fine line about such displays: they ‘mime a profundity of solemn doubt’, he said. Sir Peter dictates: ‘Comical to think that Leavis hated the theatre and ...

Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes, 5 November 2015

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... way of proving which man was telling the truth. Meanwhile, Kleindienst’s replacement, Elliot Richardson, insisted as a condition of taking office that a special prosecutor – at arm’s length from the Justice Department – be appointed to investigate Watergate. The special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, set out to subpoena tapes of certain presidential ...

Un Dret Egal

David A. Bell: Political Sentiment, 15 November 2007

Inventing Human Rights: A History 
by Lynn Hunt.
Norton, 272 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 0 393 06095 9
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... Letters). Instead, Hunt draws attention to epistolary novels of private lives and loves, above all Richardson’s Pamela and Clarissa, and Rousseau’s Julie. These books received frenzied popular and critical acclaim, but not because they said anything about constitutions and rights, even allegorically. What they did do, according to Hunt, was to encourage ...

I whine for her like a babe

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: The Other Alice James, 25 June 2009

Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James 
by Susan Gunter.
Nebraska, 422 pp., £38, March 2009, 978 0 8032 1569 6
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... to have left him a parting gift: a small compass that William’s most recent biographer, Robert Richardson, takes as a hint that her lover orient himself in her direction.* This may be over-reading – William was an enthusiastic hiker – but the temptation is understandable: both before the marriage and for more than 30 years afterwards, she is the fixed ...

Narcissus and Cain

David Bromwich, 6 August 1992

Mary and Maria by Mary Wollstonecraft, Matilda by Mary Shelley 
edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 217 pp., £24.95, January 1992, 1 85196 023 6
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Lady Sophia Sternheim 
by Sophie von La Roche, edited by James Lynn.
Pickering & Chatto, 216 pp., £24.95, January 1992, 9781851960217
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... in the Nineties and by the Regency it was dead. Indeed, in the romantic generations it becomes a mark of distinction to have fallen early under the spell of sensibility and survived with a record of how the charm was broken. Austen took a whole novel to establish her freedom, and even so, the old mood is still going strong in Pride and Prejudice, where ...

Boom and Bust

Margaret Anne Doody, 19 June 1997

A History of the Breast 
by Marilyn Yalom.
HarperCollins, 331 pp., £15.99, March 1997, 0 04 440913 3
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... VII, dramatically usher in a new era. The demurely erotic portraits of Agnès, Yalom states, mark ‘a transition from the ideal of the sacred breast associated with motherhood to that of the eroticised breast denoting sexual pleasure’. No longer the ‘possession’ of clerics or sacred art – or of babies – the breast becomes the treasure and the ...

A Knife to the Heart

Susan Pedersen: Did the Suffragettes succeed?, 30 August 2018

Rise Up, Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes 
by Diane Atkinson.
Bloomsbury, 670 pp., £30, February 2018, 978 1 4088 4404 5
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Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote 
by Jane Robinson.
Doubleday, 374 pp., £20, January 2018, 978 0 85752 391 4
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... unleashed a cult of personality around the photogenic Christabel and Emmeline in particular. Mary Richardson, after taking an axe to Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery, explained that she had tried to destroy the image of the ‘most beautiful woman in mythological history’ as a protest against the government’s persecution of ...

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