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Rachel Bowlby: At the Checkout, 22 October 2009

Checkout: A Life on the Tills 
by Anna Sam.
175 pp., £6.99, July 2009, 978 1 906040 29 1
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... Sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs or family groups, the people walk up to the top of the aisles and wait their turn for the service. They push their carts, in which they have carefully placed, one at a time, all the bright things that will be theirs. One at a time, the things are then taken out of the cart and set down on the moving surface of the altar ...

Waiting for the Dawn to Come

Rachel Bowlby: Reading George Eliot, 11 April 2013

Reading for Our Time: ‘Adam Bede’ and ‘Middlemarch’ Revisited 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Edinburgh, 191 pp., £19.99, March 2012, 978 0 7486 4728 6
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... Towards the end of Middlemarch, Dorothea spends a mostly sleepless night following a dream-ending encounter the day before. At dawn, she goes to her window: She opened her curtains, and looked out towards the bit of road that lay in view, with fields beyond, outside the entrance-gates. On the road there was a man with a bundle on his back and a woman carrying her baby; in the field she could see figures moving – perhaps the shepherd with his dog ...

Mothers

Jacqueline Rose, 18 June 2014

The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women 
by Elisabeth Badinter, translated by Adriana Hunter.
Picador, 224 pp., £10.99, June 2013, 978 1 250 03209 6
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Are You My Mother? 
by Alison Bechdel.
Jonathan Cape, 304 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 0 224 09352 1
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A Child of One’s Own: Parental Stories 
by Rachel Bowlby.
Oxford, 256 pp., £20, June 2013, 978 0 19 960794 5
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Mothering and Motherhood in Ancient Greece and Rome 
by Lauren Hackworth Petersen and Patricia Salzman-Mitchell.
Texas, 274 pp., £16.99, April 2013, 978 0 292 75434 8
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Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in 20th-Century England 
by Pat Thane and Tanya Evans.
Oxford, 240 pp., £24.99, August 2013, 978 0 19 968198 3
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I Don’t Know Why She Bothers: Guilt-Free Motherhood for Thoroughly Modern Womanhood 
by Daisy Waugh.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.99, July 2013, 978 0 297 86876 7
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... targeted women and mothers completely off the hook. ‘Parenthood is not a transition,’ Rachel Cusk writes in A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother, ‘but a defection, a political act.’ She is describing the way motherhood can leave women stranded on the far shore of any viable political life, but it’s also possible to read her sentence as a ...

Philosophemes

David Hoy, 23 November 1989

Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question 
by Jacques Derrida, translated by Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby.
Chicago, 139 pp., £15.95, September 1989, 0 226 14317 1
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... Derrida likes to surprise, and the first surprise of this book is the title itself. The common assumption that the French Post-Structuralists abandoned the interest of their phenomenological predecessors in consciousness, subjectivity and the entire philosophical vocabulary including words like ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ is challenged by the titles of the two recent books by Derrida, De l’esprit and Psyché, both published in France in 1987 ...

Diary

Rosemary Dinnage: Evacuees, 14 October 1999

... by a former evacuee, Michael Aspel. ‘A voice was heard in Rama, sobbing in bitter grief; it was Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted.’ The music was magnificent, spoiled only by a soprano warbling something about ‘Sleepy little eyes in a sleepy little head’ – a song warning the sleepy one, head on pillow, not to be ‘a kid ...

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