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In search of Eaffry Johnson

Brigid Brophy, 22 January 1981

Reconstructing Aphra 
by Angeline Goreau.
Oxford, 339 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 19 822663 2
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... baptisms. I found the record of Aphra Behn’s baptism in the course of playing amanuensis to Maureen Duffy, of whom I was at that time a colleague, in her research for her biography of Aphra Behn. The terms of the problem were these. External evidence shows that Aphra Behn must have been born within a couple of years on either side of 1640. There ...

Pooh to London

Pat Rogers, 22 December 1983

The Other Side of the Fire 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 7156 1809 1
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London Tales 
edited by Julian Evans.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 241 11123 4
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Londoners 
by Maureen Duffy.
Methuen, 240 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 413 49350 4
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Good Friends, Just 
by Anne Leaton.
Chatto, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2710 4
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... took Jack’s hand, as the sun went down suddenly behind Queensmere in a scar of white light.’ Maureen Duffy in her novel is much better than most of the contributors to London Tales at evoking the sheer phenomenology (as I imagine it) of city living, with all the paraphernalia of entry-phones, the mail downstairs, the tiny flats: ‘She lives in a ...

Shee Spy

Michael Dobson, 8 May 1997

The Secret Life of Aphra Behn 
by Janet Todd.
Deutsch, 545 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 233 98991 9
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... Twenty years ago, when Maureen Duffy first published The Passionate Shepherdess: Aphra Behn, 1640-89, Behn was still known principally as the celebrated but largely unread founder of women’s writing, the figure who had been hymned but effectively dismissed by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own (1929). ‘All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds,’ Woolf wrote, only to declare Behn’s actual writings to be so much cheerful hack-work, of interest only as the hack-work of a woman ...

Speaking for England

Patrick Parrinder, 21 May 1987

The Radiant Way 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 396 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 297 79095 1
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Change 
by Maureen Duffy.
Methuen, 224 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 9780413576408
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Moon Tiger 
by Penelope Lively.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 233 98107 1
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The Maid of Buttermere 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Hodder, 415 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 340 40173 7
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Stray 
by A.N. Wilson.
Walker, 175 pp., £8.95, April 1987, 0 7445 0801 0
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... which novelists set out to express. One of the war’s prime characteristics, as is registered by Maureen Duffy’s title with its Spenserian echo, was, quite simply, social upheaval. ‘If your life does not please you,’ Wells’s Mr Polly discovered, ‘you can change it.’ But the change, in the peacetime world of Mr Polly, was from social realism ...

The Slightest Sardine

James Wood: A literary dragnet, 20 May 2004

The Oxford English Literary History. Vol. XII: 1960-2000: The Last of England? 
by Randall Stevenson.
Oxford, 624 pp., £30, February 2004, 0 19 818423 9
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... head must be dizzy with the minor works of Julian Mitchell and Francis King and Brian Patten and Maureen Duffy. His sleep must have been poisoned for years by worries about properly dating Piers Paul Read’s A Married Man. It is, in fact, a disaster to fill a book like this with storms of names and endless lists; narrative gets shouted down by the ...

Christina and the Sid

Penelope Fitzgerald, 18 March 1982

Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life 
by Georgina Battiscombe.
Constable, 233 pp., £9.50, May 1981, 0 09 461950 6
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The Golden Veil 
by Paddy Kitchen.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £7.95, May 1981, 0 241 10584 6
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The Little Holland House Album 
by Edward Burne-Jones and John Christian.
Dalrymple Press, 39 pp., £38, April 1981, 0 9507301 0 6
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... by Lona Mosk Packer (obsessed with the idea that William Bell Scott was Christina’s lover), Maureen Duffy (engrossed in the phallic symbolism of ‘The Goblin Market’), Maurice Bowra, Virginia Woolf. She has, of course, her own explanation. She sees Christina as a warm-blooded Italian conforming through strength of will to a strict Anglicanism ...

Love-of-One’s-Life Department

Terry Castle: The lesbian scarcity economy, 21 October 2004

Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho and Art: The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks 
by Diana Souhami.
Weidenfeld, 224 pp., £18.99, July 2004, 9780297643869
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... cell in some slightly depraved cloister. Everybody does know everybody else. In the mid-1960s Maureen Duffy wrote an experimental novel called The Microcosm about the habituées of an old-style lesbian bar. The bar was loosely based on the Gateways in Earl’s Court – London’s most famous women’s pub until it shut down for ever in the ...

Breast Cancer Screening

Paul Taylor, 4 June 2014

... US found that 36 per cent of mammography facilities were producing images of unacceptable quality. Maureen Roberts, who led the Edinburgh Breast Cancer Screening Project until she herself died from the disease in 1989, wrote in an article published after her death that ‘we can no longer ignore the possibility that screening may not reduce mortality in women ...

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