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Their Mad Gallopade

Patrick McGuinness: Nancy Cunard, 25 January 2018

Selected Poems 
by Nancy Cunard.
Carcanet, 304 pp., £12.99, October 2016, 978 1 78410 236 4
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... must be proof of the unlivedness of their poetry, its existential insincerity. By this reckoning, Nancy Cunard had it harder than most. She was talented, rich, generous and well connected. Though she was one of the most politically engaged writers of her generation, her politics, like her poetry, never escaped the imputation of dilettantism and ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Sport Poetry, 23 January 1986

... labours, for example, hoist the unlikely figure of Arthur Marwood into joint fourth place with Nancy Cunard, which doesn’t seem quite fair. Ms Cunard’s marks are culled from a variety of sources, not the least of these being George Moore’s Ulick and Soracha, whose character Brigit apparently ‘owes the ...

Convenient Death of a Hero

Arnold Rattenbury, 8 May 1997

Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin/Stanford, 120 pp., £12.95, December 1996, 0 85036 457 4
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... Poets’ which he edited. (In 1944, though I did not know it then, he was editing the poems of Nancy Cunard, with whom I was working at the time.) There were wider political and publishing contacts yet. In one episode of Beyond the Frontier, Theodosia and Old Edward are so appalled at what they consider the waste of Frank’s becoming a soldier that ...

At Tate Modern

Eleanor Birne: Sonia Delaunay , 15 July 2015

... Sonia Delaunay​ – who designed clothes worn by Gloria Swanson and Nancy Cunard, whose bold zigzag textiles and liveried Citroën graced the cover of the January 1925 issue of Vogue, who consorted with Picasso, Derain and Braque and criticised all of them – was born in 1885 as Sara Stern, one of five children of a Jewish foreman in a nail factory in Odessa ...

Dipper

Jason Harding: George Moore, 21 September 2000

George Moore, 1852-1933 
by Adrian Frazier.
Yale, 604 pp., £29.95, May 2000, 0 300 08245 2
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... swore that he would die childless, it would be fascinating to know whether, as Frazier speculates, Nancy Cunard really was his daughter, the offspring of an affair with Lady Maud Cunard. The cover of Frazier’s biography shows Manet’s portrait of Moore: the long, pallid face, dreamy blue eyes and wispy, blond beard ...

An UnAmerican in New York

Lewis Nkosi: The Harlem Renaissance, 24 August 2000

Winds Can Wake Up the Dead: An Eric Walrond Reader 
edited by Louis Parascandola.
Wayne State, 350 pp., $24.95, December 1998, 0 8143 2709 5
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... Modernist sensibility. In the case of Harlem, one of the best recorders was the shipping heiress, Nancy Cunard, who wrote brilliantly about the ‘innumerable “skin-whitening” and “anti-kink” beauty parlours’; about the speakeasies and the Harlem Public Library ‘with its good collection of books on Negro matters’; about ‘the white ...

Rainy Nights

Sylvia Clayton, 1 March 1984

Sidney Bernstein 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Cape, 329 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 0 224 01934 1
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... von Stroheim and Eisenstein, whom Sidney Bernstein had met in Moscow, reached London. He persuaded Nancy Cunard to bring over Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou from Paris in a hat-box. Every year through the Twenties he visited several European countries, sometimes on a walking tour. The name ‘Granada’, which he and Cecil Bernstein gave to a cinema in ...

Drab Divans

Miranda Seymour: Julian Maclaren-Ross, 24 July 2003

Fear & Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Bizarre Life of Writer, Actor, Soho Dandy, Julian Maclaren-Ross 
by Paul Willetts.
Dewi Lewis, 403 pp., £14.99, March 2003, 1 899235 69 8
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... tell us. Edward Hyde, a sinister choice of alter ego, first emerged as a feline interviewer of Nancy Cunard and the comedian Jimmy Edwards in one of Maclaren-Ross’s parodies; later, for reasons which are insufficiently explored, he adopted this most amoral and ruthless of fictional characters as his secret sharer. Taking rooms in a hotel, he signed ...

‘Come, my friend,’ said Smirnoff

Joanna Kavenna: The radical twenties, 1 April 1999

The Radical Twenties: Aspects of Writing, Politics and Culture 
by John Lucas.
Five Leaves, 263 pp., £11.99, January 1997, 0 907123 17 1
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... him after all). Meanwhile, female writers (Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Mew, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Nancy Cunard, Katherine Mansfield, Sylvia Townsend Warner) allowed the old Victorian spinster a few escape-routes: killing off the controlling father who kept her at home (Mansfield’s ‘The Daughters of the Late Colonel’); investing her with ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... the light of a history which continued nonetheless. (He began this last following a visit with Nancy Cunard to the Lascaux wall-paintings, themselves then newly come to light.) The two books in effect describe the political arc of Swingler’s life from pacifist-into-socialist Popular Front days, through class war, civil war, world war to postwar ...

The Spree

Frank Kermode, 22 February 1996

The Feminisation of American Culture 
by Ann Douglas.
Papermac, 403 pp., £10, February 1996, 0 333 65421 8
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Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the Twenties 
by Ann Douglas.
Picador, 606 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 330 34683 0
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... Carl van Vechten, author of Nigger Heaven, was one – patronised black artists, or, like Nancy Cunard, specialised in black lovers. But blacks were making and spending money of their own, and building self-confidence. They shared in what Douglas, again after Fitzgerald, calls ‘the terrible honesty’ of the decade. What this seems to have ...

Inconstancy

Peter Campbell, 20 July 1995

Brancusi 
Pompidou Centre, August 1995Show More
Constantin Brancusi: A Survey of His work 
by Sanda Miller.
Oxford, 256 pp., £45, April 1995, 0 19 817514 0
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Constantin Brancusi Photographe 
by Elizabeth Brown.
Assouline, 79 pp., frs 99, April 1995, 2 908228 23 8
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Constantin Brancusi: 1876-1957 
by Margit Rowell and Ann Temkin.
Gallimard, 408 pp., frs 390, April 1995, 2 85850 819 4
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... name which does not turn up in some context or other, from Picasso and the Douanier Rousseau to Nancy Cunard and Paul Poiret. Brancusi’s work was the first to turn to, still is perhaps, if you wished to point to a sculpture of essences. It was (until Henry Moore) the cartoonist’s favoured notion of modern sculpture – in 1926 the New Yorker ...

Hobnobbing

Ian Hamilton, 1 October 1998

Osbert Sitwell 
by Philip Ziegler.
Chatto, 461 pp., £25, May 1998, 1 85619 646 1
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... that he was homosexual. During the most saucy Sitwell years he was, it seems, near-celibate (i.e. Nancy Cunard may or may not have assaulted him). And when he did condescend to take notice of his sexuality he was, we are told here, in his late thirties – and, alas, much too surprised by joy. Ziegler strains hard to be fair-minded about the egregious ...

Flytings

Arnold Rattenbury: Hamish Henderson, 23 January 2003

Collected Poems and Songs 
by Hamish Henderson, edited by Raymond Ross.
Curly Snake, 163 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 1 902141 01 6
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... World War poet Edgell Rickword, Britten’s librettist Montagu Slater, the anti-racist francophile Nancy Cunard – was the folklorist A.L. Lloyd, who had swung about as collector through the whaling fleet, bushrangers in the Outback, American immigrants, mining communities worldwide, Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Russian peasants. Even among ...

Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... by this stage, craggily photogenic. He ‘looks like a magnificent Mexican sculpture now’, Nancy Cunard wrote in 1956 after meeting him for the first time since the 1930s. In a letter to A.J. Leventhal quoted by Knowlson, Beckett says of the same lunch date that Cunard was looking ‘very wraithy’, and one ...

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