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Such Little Trousers

Lavinia Greenlaw: Pamela Hansford Johnson

21 March 2019
This Bed Thy Centre 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 288 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7985 6
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An Impossible Marriage 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7980 1
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The Last Resort 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7994 8
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The Holiday Friend 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7987 0
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... When​ PamelaHansfordJohnson died in 1981, the New York Times described her as ‘one of England’s best-known novelists’. I knew her name, or thought I did, but couldn’t recall the title of any of her books. Her 27 novels ...

He wants me no more

Tessa Hadley: Pamela Hansford Johnson

21 January 2016
Pamela Hansford JohnsonHer Life, Works and Times 
by Wendy Pollard.
Shepheard-Walwyn, 500 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 0 85683 298 7
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... PamelaHansford who​ ? When I asked friends and family, they vaguely knew the name but couldn’t place it – until I said she was married to C.P. Snow and then they vaguely remembered that too. They were much ...

Through Plate-Glass

Ian Sansom: Jonathan Coe

10 May 2001
The Rotters’ Club 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 405 pp., £14.99, April 2001, 0 670 89252 1
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... He is a craftsman and designer rather than a poet. All that is usually introverted, implosive and dull in the experimental novel Coe turns into entertainment. He is writing a biography of B.S. Johnson – whom he admires – but he writes more like PamelaHansfordJohnson. He has established for himself a set of stylistic conventions – conversational smooth prose, non-sequential narrative, the ...
19 July 1984
Secrets of a Woman’s Heart: The Later Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett 1920-1969 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hodder, 336 pp., £14.95, June 1984, 0 340 26241 9
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... insistently do all the characters continue to chatter (and, above all, so concerned is their creator that skulduggery should escape its penalty) that the true facts of the case are anybody’s guess. PamelaHansfordJohnson (in a British Council pamphlet) says one thing, and Robert Liddell (in The Novels of I. Compton-Burnett) says she is quite wrong. Close study suggests that Liddell is right. Or ...
18 November 1982
Stranger and Brother: A Portrait of C.P. Snow 
by Philip Snow.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 333 32680 6
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... which he was rising ‘Snow’ was enough – surnames were, after all, then the common form of address. To call him ‘C.P.’, as some did even then, no doubt implied a special relationship. It was PamelaHansfordJohnson who put her foot down, when they were married in 1950, and who decided that he was to be called Charles; in relation to any earlier period the name is an innocent anachronism, which ...

Everything is good news

Seamus Perry: Dylan Thomas’s Moment

20 November 2014
The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The New Centenary Edition 
edited by John Goodby.
Weidenfeld, 416 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 297 86569 8
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Under Milk Wood: The Definitive Edition 
edited by Walford Davies and Ralph Maud.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 724 5
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Collected Stories 
by Dylan Thomas.
Phoenix, 384 pp., £8.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 730 6
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A Dylan Thomas Treasury: Poems, Stories and Broadcasts 
Phoenix, 186 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 726 9Show More
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... A big part of Thomas’s myth was his perpetual boyhood. Everyone thought of him as a child, including himself – ‘the shape of a boy, and a funny boy at that’, as he told his early lover PamelaHansfordJohnson. ‘I’m like a baby in the dark,’ he explained to Henry Treece, an Apocalyptic poet who wrote the first critical book about him, and with whom Thomas had a long and revealing ...

Scarsdale Romance

Anita Brookner

6 May 1982
Mrs Harris 
by Diana Trilling.
Hamish Hamilton, 341 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 241 10822 5
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... insight is thus not brought to bear on the accused, but as a narrative it is recognisably the work of a writer who respects the art of fiction. A different sort of fictive impulse was exercised by PamelaHansfordJohnson when, reviewing the behaviour of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley on trial for the Moors Murders, she wrote her thoughts On Iniquity. Here was a perception of evil that distorted the more ...

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