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In a horizontal posture

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 5 July 1984

The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford: 1836-1854 
edited by Meredith Raymond and Mary RoseSullivan.
Baylor University, Browning Institute, Wedgestone Press and Wellesley College, 431 pp., March 1983, 0 911459 01 4
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Love and the Woman Question in Victorian Literature: The Art of Self-Postponement 
by Kathleen Blake.
Harvester, 254 pp., £25, November 1983, 0 7108 0560 8
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... as badly when I lie down, as at a desk,’ she announced soon after she began corresponding with Mary Russell Mitford, and more than once she urged the older writer to lessen the strain of fatigue or illness by adopting the practice. Though Barrett was imprisoned by a peculiarly Victorian combination of female invalidism and paternal rigidity rather than by ...

Kipling and Modernism

Craig Raine, 6 August 1992

... Book of Horace Paraphrased’. One might list more obviously poetic lines of Pope like ‘Die of a Rose in aromatic Pain’, but better are lines that merely, yet perfectly enact the unremittingly alert language we call poetry: the exact comedy of bowls ‘obliquely waddling to the mark in view’; the just comparison of learned commentary to the silkworm and ...

The Girl in the Shiny Boots

Richard Wollheim: Adolescence, 20 May 2004

... interested solely in the historical dramas, and supreme among them was the trial and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, in the great hall of Fotheringay Castle. The momentous event, the inevitability of which was conveyed in a way that no history book could rival, unfolded in distinct tableaux, in the third and last of which ...

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 Brennan: Homesick 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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... and showy up-dos must have seemed exotic in the New Yorker’s ascetic halls. She sported a rose in her left lapel, and carried a black and white skunk bag she was ‘inhumanly fond of’. No woman, she said, should wear a bra that cost less than $50 at Saks. Maeve Brennan photographed by Karl Bissinger in 1948 There are plenty of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... when one steps back. Oddly favourite is a portrait of the (unappealing) Pope Paul III in a faded rose-coloured cape enthroned on a worn velvet chair, the supreme pontiff just a lay figure there to demonstrate the painter’s skill with his materials. Next to him the irresistible portrait of the 12-year-old Ranuccio Farnese and another of Clarissa Strozzi ...

On Some Days of the Week

Colm Tóibín: Mrs Oscar Wilde, 10 May 2012

Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde 
by Franny Moyle.
John Murray, 374 pp., £9.99, February 2012, 978 1 84854 164 1
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The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition 
by Oscar Wilde, edited by Nicholas Frankel.
Harvard, 295 pp., £25.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 05792 0
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... illegitimate children before his marriage. The year Oscar was born his father began an affair with Mary Travers, the daughter of a colleague. She was also his patient. When Sir William tried to end the relationship, Travers claimed that it had begun while she was under anaesthetic. She wrote angry letters to the Wildes and published a pamphlet about a girl ...

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