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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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... Big bash at the Styrons – Lennie Bernstein in an orange shirt, some sort of exotic ‘prayer’ shawl draped over his expressive shoulders, smoking away, talking to eager young girls. Mike Nichols, the serpent in the garden … Claggart to the life, said not enough money was coming in just now, wanted to get unused to the money ...

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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... with chilling sangfroid – to Sartre. It is somehow not surprising that, with the publication of Rosemary Mahoney’s memoir A Likely Story, Lillian Hellman (1905-84) should sustain a similar assault. Over the course of a long and controversial life Hellman herself was hardly a stranger to same-sex animus. Her first play, The Children’s Hour (1934), about ...

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’, 17 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... and meeting a writer’s block that has his name on it. Unable to execute his panorama of postwar prose, he packs the project in and assembles his first collection of essays and reviews (it was either that or return the publisher’s advance), calling his debut Doings and Undoings. The columnist Michael Kinsley once observed that Al Gore was an old person’s ...

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