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What does she think she looks like?

Rosemary Hill: The Dress in Your Head, 5 April 2018

... London, struggling at times to keep her end up in the conversation. ‘Am asked what I think of [Rebecca West’s] Harriet Hume’, the Provincial Lady notes in November, ‘but am unable to say, as I have not read it. Have a depressed feeling that this is going to be another case of Orlando about which was perfectly able to talk most intelligently until I ...

Twenty Types of Human

John Lanchester: Among the Neanderthals, 17 December 2020

Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art 
by Rebecca Wragg Sykes.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £20, August 2020, 978 1 4729 3749 0
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... of space to dream and wonder and imagine and – let’s face it – make stuff up. As Rosemary Hill points out in her wonderful book on Stonehenge, archaeologists sometimes claim ownership of the past, but the truth is that it belongs to all of us – and, as the case of Stonehenge shows, archaeologists are capable of doing plenty of damage. (In the case ...

We must think!

Jenny Turner: Hannah Arendt’s Islands, 4 November 2021

Hannah Arendt 
by Samantha Rose Hill.
Reaktion, 232 pp., £11.99, August 2021, 978 1 78914 379 9
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... the worst:expect the best:andtake what comes‘Not a Hannah Arendt quote! :/’ Samantha Rose Hill, then the assistant director of the Hannah Arendt Centre at Bard College in New York State, tweeted back, across the hours and the Atlantic Ocean. ‘I know! ’Twas sweet gift,’ Stonebridge replied, then added: ‘We should make our own.’‘One ...

Uneasy Listening

Paul Laity: ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, 8 July 2004

Germany Calling: A Personal Biography of William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ 
by Mary Kenny.
New Island, 300 pp., £17.99, November 2003, 1 902602 78 1
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Lord Haw-Haw: The English Voice of Nazi Germany 
by Peter Martland.
National Archives, 309 pp., £19.99, March 2003, 1 903365 17 1
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... people, in the charged atmosphere of the postwar months, seemed untroubled that he would hang. Rebecca West, reporting the trial for the New Yorker, was surprised at the equanimity with which the jury sent him to the gallows: they came back from considering their verdict ‘as if they had been out for a cup of tea’. At the start of the war, BBC radio was ...

No Sense of an Ending

Jane Eldridge Miller, 21 September 1995

Windows on Modernism: Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson 
edited by Gloria Fromm.
Georgia, 696 pp., £58.50, February 1995, 0 8203 1659 8
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... Richardson, wanting to keep her books in print, agreed to the edition, although she knew Dimple Hill, advertised as the final chapter-volume of Pilgrimage, was no such thing. The ensuing confusion and critical indifference were disheartening. Even though she worked intermittently during the last two decades of her life on March Moonlight, which she regarded ...

‘The Meeting of the Waters’

John Barrell, 27 July 2017

... the scene Her purest of crystal and brightest of green; ’Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill, Oh! no – it was something more exquisite still. ’Twas that friends, the belov’d of my bosom, were near, Who made every dear scene of enchantment more dear, And who felt how the best charms of nature improve, When we see them reflected in looks that ...

Mother! Oh God! Mother!

Jenny Diski: ‘Psycho’, 7 January 2010

‘Psycho’ in the Shower: The History of Cinema’s Most Famous Scene 
by Philip Skerry.
Continuum, 316 pp., £12.99, June 2009, 978 0 8264 2769 4
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... by the A-listed Alfred Hitchcock, by then responsible for huge and glossy Hollywood hits like Rebecca, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest. He was at the end of his contract with Universal, who were either not taken with the subject or disappointed by Hitchcock’s projected style for the film, so he produced it with his own company, Shamley, and ...

Determined to Spin

Susan Watkins, 22 June 2000

The Clear Stream: A Life of Winifred Holtby 
by Marion Shaw.
Virago, 335 pp., £18.99, August 1999, 1 86049 537 0
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... and Tide, her journalism published everywhere, exciting new friendships with Margaret Rhondda, Rebecca West, E.M. Delafield, Stella Benson and Storm Jameson and all the other attributes that Phyllis Bentley had found so desirable, including Bentley herself. Active, outspoken, energetic, her tall figure slightly stooped but her glance just as eager, rushing ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... sight of it. It doesn’t quite match R.’s experience when a heron mobbed by crows near Primrose Hill missed him by inches, but as with any evidence of urban rurality, I find it cheering. It confirms, too, my detestation of gulls, which I would happily see hounded out of cities and back to their proper stamping ground. 28 July. I’m just finishing the ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... a cup of tea in the parish room, with the door open onto a field of sheep and in the distance the hill behind Feizor.I collect the paper from the village shop where, seeing a headline about yesterday’s lightning strikes in London, a woman says: ‘I love it when they have it nasty down south.’This is the real North-South divide, which HS2 will do nothing ...

Failed Vocation

James Butler: The Corbyn Project, 3 December 2020

Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour under Corbyn 
by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire.
Bodley Head, 376 pp., £18.99, September, 978 1 84792 645 6
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This Land: The Story of a Movement 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 336 pp., £20, September, 978 0 241 47094 7
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... which would weaken the purchase of both the Blairite Third Way and Cameron’s bloodless Notting Hill Toryism.The chief priorities of Corbyn’s Labour Party were neatly captured in two speeches made by John McDonnell, his shadow chancellor and often the project’s most eloquent spokesman. In 2016 he declared that Labour members would ‘no longer have to ...

Serious Mayhem

Simon Reynolds: The McLaren Strand, 10 March 2022

The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren: The Biography 
by Paul Gorman.
Constable, 855 pp., £14.99, November 2021, 978 1 4721 2111 0
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... Christopher Gray. Years later I learned that Gray had rubbed shoulders with McLaren in a Notting Hill group called King Mob, a unofficial affiliate to the Situationist International. Some say it was Gray who first suggested what a wheeze it would be to create ‘a totally unpleasant pop group’.Under cover of night, my brothers and I crept around town ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... wading through a pool of water in a blue dress. Another was of Hania, aged two, rolling down a hill of daisies by Ladbroke Grove.In the 15th century, ‘tower’ was another way of naming heaven. But Rania always felt Grenfell Tower was too tall. They were at the top and you could see the Hammersmith and City trains coming in and out of Latimer Road ...

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