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The Supreme Farewell of Handkerchiefs

Clive James, 21 August 1980

... with acknowledgments to Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale, authors of ‘Misia’ ‘I’ve left that great page blank,’ said Mallarmé When asked why he’d not written of his boat. There are such things as mean too much to say. You have to let it drift, to let it float. The man who did the asking was Manet, Whose niece’s journal treasures the reply ...

Wild about Misia

Clive James, 4 September 1980

Misia 
by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale.
Macmillan, 337 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 333 28165 9
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... and privilege meet. This book has several faults but at least one great merit: Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale have seen that Misia’s personality, even if it can never quite be captured, remains highly interesting for the light it casts on how talent can cohabit with gracious living and yet still keep its distance. Misia features a good ...

Adieu, madame

Terry Castle: Sarah Bernhardt, 4 November 2010

Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt 
by Robert Gottlieb.
Yale, 233 pp., £18.99, October 2010, 978 0 300 14127 6
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... crucial analytic concept after her: the Female Ovation Complex, perhaps. And indeed, why not? As Robert Gottlieb’s concise yet stylish new biography reminds us, the great actress’s sumptuously chequered life would have presented even the most dimwitted Viennese shrink with a veritable orchestra pit of things to quiz her about. Consider, Herr Doktor, some ...

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