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22 January 1981
Reconstructing Aphra 
by Angeline Goreau.
Oxford, 339 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 19 822663 2
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... before the early 19th century, since until then record was kept not of births as such but of infant baptisms. I found the record of Aphra Behn’s baptism in the course of playing amanuensis to MaureenDuffy, 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 ...
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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... cosmic force: ‘Marjorie, contented, thought, “This is my landscape,” and uncharacteristically took Jack’s hand, as the sun went down suddenly behind Queensmere in a scar of white light.’ MaureenDuffy 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 ...

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 MaureenDuffy 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 ...

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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... recent time at which mundane English reality was able to match up to the demands on the fantasy life which novelists set out to express. One of the war’s prime characteristics, as is registered by MaureenDuffy’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 ...

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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... who in Flaubert’s account received orders from heaven to read every book in the world. His head must be dizzy with the minor works of Julian Mitchell and Francis King and Brian Patten and MaureenDuffy. 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 ...

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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... With calmness and accuracy she counters earlier interpretations which seem to her out of proportion – by Lona Mosk Packer (obsessed with the idea that William Bell Scott was Christina’s lover), MaureenDuffy (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 ...

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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... is indeed an uncanny place – barely the size of a closet, one sometimes feels, or a narrow little cell in some slightly depraved cloister. Everybody does know everybody else. In the mid-1960s MaureenDuffy 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 ...
4 June 2014
... programme was set up in 1988. Even in the early days there were worries. In 1985 a survey in the 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 ...

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