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I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... subject to bring up with him, but it didn’t interest him very much. All the while, host Bill Styron looking a bit subdued as usual these days; we talked about Randall Jarrell’s possible suicide, Bill’s own depression. And I talked to him about William James’s own breakdown and his resuscitation through faith. What in hell am I doing with all ...

Terror on the Vineyard

Terry Castle: Boss Ladies, Watch Out!, 15 April 1999

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman 
by Rosemary Mahoney.
Doubleday, 273 pp., $23.95, November 1998, 9780385479318
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... in a thoughtful, nibbling way, and when she paused to carry the cigarette to her mouth, her chin rose in preparation, as though someone else’s hand were feeding it to her. She looked vulnerable and girlish sitting there. She had large, flat thumbnails. I stared at her; no Eskimo icon could be more imposing. She blew smoke into the air and looked back at ...

From under the Duvet

Anna Vaux, 4 September 1997

Out Of Me: The Story of a Postnatal Breakdown 
by Fiona Shaw.
Viking, 224 pp., £15.99, April 1997, 0 670 87104 4
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... the labour room with her (though she was not enjoying it), ‘slapping it down when a contraction rose, picking it up sweaty-fingered afterwards’, and finishing it shortly before her second daughter ‘appeared’. She and her husband read poems to each other in bed. Her house is full of books, among the clutter, the bottles of wine and plates of ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 18 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... for Jackie Kennedy and not only was Mailer singularly not invited, his literary nemesis William Styron had been asked in his stead to entertain her highness. The Jackie Effect had the power to madden literary men’s minds in the post-Camelot 1960s and in later years Mailer conceded that there may have been a sharp bit of payback involved. ‘I’m ...

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