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All This Love Business

Jean McNicol: Vanessa and Julian Bell

24 January 2013
Julian Bell: From Bloomsbury to the Spanish Civil War 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Stanford, 314 pp., £38.95, 0 8047 7413 7
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... decriminalised (although Grant read the manuscript before that happened and asked: ‘Shall I be arrested?’), but it was still unnerving to have one’s private life put on display. A year earlier PeterStansky and William Abrahams had published Journey to the Frontier, a joint Life of Julian Bell and John Cornford, who died in Spain a few months before Bell. It is the product of a more decorous ...

Trouble down there

Ferdinand Mount: Tea with Sassoon

7 August 2003
Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet 1886-1918 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 600 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 0 7156 2894 1
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Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches 1918-67 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 526 pp., £30, April 2003, 0 7156 2971 9
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Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil 
by Peter Stansky.
Yale, 295 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09547 3
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... might burn down Philip’s enormous house in Park Lane, although typically he turned against the idea when it occurred to him that they might then go on to incinerate his beloved Reform Club. PeterStansky has written a double biography of Philip and his sister Sybil, who married the Marquess of Cholmondeley and brought her own great art collection to fill a few of the gaps at his house at Houghton ...


Frank Kermode

24 October 1991
Orwell: The Authorised Biography 
by Michael Shelden.
Heinemann, 563 pp., £18.50, October 1991, 0 434 69517 3
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... There is already a lot of biographical writing about Orwell, including the memoir of Richard Rees and The Unknown Orwell by William Abrahams and PeterStansky (lamed by the late Soni Orwell’s refusal of permission to quote), and, more recently, the expansive Life by Bernard Crick, at first authorised by the widow to emphasise her rejection of Stansky and ...
24 January 1980
Orwell: The Transformation 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Constable, 240 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 462250 7
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... there is no better exemplar of the plain style that he preached: but he didn’t always practise it, and the myth that makes him always virtuous in his style, as in his life, does him a disservice. PeterStansky and William Abrahams have added another myth to those already wrapped round Orwell. In their previous book, The Unknown Orwell, and again in Orwell: The Transformation, they postulate two ...
7 April 1994
After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain 
edited by Susan Pedersen and Peter​ Mandler.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1994, 0 415 07056 2
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... authority. The fact that we may now be able to get some kind of historical perspective on this development suggests that this extended historical episode is essentially over. As Susan Pedersen and Peter Mandler emphasise in the introductory essay of After the Victorians, the volume is intended to challenge the once conventional assumption that the early decades of the 20th century saw a decisive ...
7 October 1982
... or repetitive. A ‘character study’ is simply not the same as a ‘life’. Koestler has recently regretted that I failed in those laborious 473 pages to grasp Orwell’s character as well as Mr Peter Lewis did in his recent and sprightly picture book (which, incidentally, largely reflected Sonia’s view of the true George, though no reviewers noticed this). Perhaps so. I’m only irritated that ...

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