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A Hideous Skeleton, with Cries and Dismal Howlings

Nina Auerbach: The haunting of the Hudson Valley, 24 June 2004

Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley 
by Judith Richardson.
Harvard, 296 pp., £19.95, October 2003, 0 674 01161 9
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... Judith Richardson begins Possessions by quoting a 1933 guidebook to the Hudson Valley: ‘How comes the Hudson to this unique heritage of myth, ghosts, goblins and other lore?’ By the end of her exhaustive chronicle of local history and legend the answer is self-evident: ‘Why is the Hudson Valley haunted? Perhaps a better question after all is: how on earth could it not be?’ Until I read this book, the Hudson Valley seemed remote from anguished, obviously possessed sites like ravaged towns in Mississippi and throughout the Deep South, the battlefield at Gettysburg, Hollywood or even the foggy menace of Seattle ...

Vampire to Victim

Nina Auerbach: The Cult of Zelda, 19 June 2003

Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 492 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7195 5466 7
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... Zelda Fitzgerald would probably call herself a post-feminist today, but when she was alive, she made herself a flapper. In 1926, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s charmingly wild wife told an interviewer that she hoped her daughter’s generation would be even ‘jazzier’ than her own: ‘I think a woman gets more happiness out of being gay, light-hearted, unconventional, mistress of her own fate, than out of a career that calls for hard work, intellectual pessimism and loneliness ...

Acrimony

Nina Auerbach: Feminists Fall Out, 6 July 2000

Critical Condition: Feminism at the Turn of the Century 
by Susan Gubar.
Columbia, 237 pp., £16, February 2000, 0 231 11580 6
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... Susan Gubar has kept the faith. Most of the ‘feminist critics’ of the late 1970s, myself included, have drifted away, though not away from feminism: feminist criticism, an exclusive academic sorority, was always distinct from commitment to a political movement. But despite her dismay and even despair at what’s become of academic feminism, Gubar does her best to tend the flame ...

Liberated by His Bite

Andrew Delbanco, 19 September 1996

Our Vampires, Ourselves 
by Nina Auerbach.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17.50, November 1995, 0 226 03201 9
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... in Bram Stoker’s novel). It was the one thing in the movie that struck me as truly frightening. Nina Auerbach, a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, is interested in fear. In the Eighties she found herself living in a nation – Ronald Reagan’s America – that had ‘turned ... its fear on itself’. Franklin Roosevelt had said ...

More Fun to Be a Boy

Lorna Scott Fox: Haunted by du Maurier, 2 November 2000

Daphne du Maurier: Haunted Heiress 
by Nina Auerbach.
Pennsylvania, 216 pp., £18.50, December 1999, 0 8122 3530 4
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... and the other titles practically nowhere – so why this ardent study? By the end of it, though, Nina Auerbach has achieved quite a rehabilitation. This du Maurier is not one of a brace of representative low-culture populists. Nor is she reduced to her exemplary anti-climactic, 20th-century life. We are fed just enough of the lame glamour of the du ...

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