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Berenson’s Elixir

Simon Schama, 1 May 1980

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... presence was, BB felt, ‘life-enhancing’), and, most improbable of all, Ernest Hemingway. Meryle Secrest discloses that Hemingway was desperate in his suit for Berenson’s favours, and would have prostrated himself for a petal from the Great Man’s boutonnière. He clambered out of plane wrecks and gutted hotels, eager to make the pilgrimage to ...

The Other Half

Robert Melville, 4 July 1985

Kenneth Clark: A Biography 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 310 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 9780297783985
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... as the Sutherland portrait of him in the National Portrait Gallery, reproduced on the cover of Meryle Secrest’s biography. Although Clark had enjoyed the sittings and told Sutherland that it was an honour to be painted by him, he was upset by the final likeness, which made him look ‘haughty and belligerent’. All the same, he knew that the look ...

Red silk is the best blood

David Thomson: Sondheim, 16 December 2010

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-81), with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes 
by Stephen Sondheim.
Virgin, 445 pp., £30, October 2010, 978 0 7535 2258 5
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... but not one hint is dropped. There are 12 pictures of Lee Remick. The excellent biography by Meryle Secrest reckons that they adored each other, but that there was no sex. Remick opened in Anyone Can Whistle, one of Sondheim’s flops but a show that means enough to him for him to disparage the idea that its title song (sung by Remick) is his ...

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