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Pretty Things

Peter Campbell

21 February 1980
Masquerade 
by Kit Williams.
Cape, 32 pp., £3.50, September 1980, 0 224 01617 2
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Beauty and the Beast 
by Rosemary Harris and Errol Le Cain.
Faber, 32 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 571 11374 5
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Mazel and Shlimazel 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Margot Zemach.
Cape, 42 pp., £3.95, November 1980, 0 224 01758 6
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La Corona 
by Russell Hoban and Nicola Bayley.
Cape, 32 pp., £3.50, September 1980, 0 224 01397 1
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Cats’Eyes 
by Anthony Taber.
Gollancz, 80 pp., £4.50, September 1980, 0 575 02664 2
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Comic and Curious Cats 
by Angela Carter and Martin Leman.
Gollancz, 32 pp., £3.50, April 1980, 0 575 02592 1
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The Wild Washerwomen 
by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake.
Hamish Hamilton, 32 pp., £3.75, October 1980, 0 241 89928 1
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... way of selling a book of conundrums, but the distinction between what is package and what product is confused to the point where one wonders if it is publishing or publicity one is dealing with. RosemaryHarris’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast, far from being a mere vehicle for illustrations, carries illustrations it does not need. The story is the hardest kind to put pictures to. Beauty’s ...

Bright Blue Dark Blue

Rosemary​ Hill: ‘Weatherland’

5 November 2015
Weatherland 
by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 432 pp., £24.95, September 2015, 978 0 500 51811 3
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... and temperature, the stuff of art and conversation, weather would seem to be a relatively late development. Seasons, the overarching and background reality of life, are older, although as Alexandra Harris explains, ‘spring’ was invented only in the late Middle Ages. Before all that there was just climate and what people thought about it is all but unknowable. In the temperate zones, where the ...

Upper Ireland

Nicholas Canny

16 March 1989
Modern Ireland 1600-1972 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 688 pp., £18.95, October 1988, 0 7139 9010 4
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... composed by Fynes Moryson and Thomas Dineley in the 17th century through that written by Charles O’Conor and Sir Jonah Barrington in the 18th, and forward to that executed by Conrad Arensberg and RosemaryHarris in the present century. Due acknowledgement is made by Dr Foster whenever he draws upon the work of others, but he is at his best when his arguments are based upon his own research and ...

Bypass Variegated

Rosemary​ Hill: Osbert Lancaster

21 January 2016
Osbert Lancaster’s Cartoons, Columns and Curlicues: ‘Pillar to Post’, ‘Homes Sweet Homes’, ‘Drayneflete Revealed’ 
by Osbert Lancaster.
Pimpernel, 304 pp., £40, October 2015, 978 1 910258 37 8
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... of 1918 the ten-year-old Osbert Lancaster was made even more miserable than the average new bug by the fact that St Ronan’s, Worthing was a spectacularly sporty school. The headmaster, Stanley Harris, had captained England at football and was also a distinguished cricketer and rugby player. Lancaster, an only child who had lost his father two years earlier at the Battle of the Somme, proved ...

Puffed up, Slapped down

Rosemary​ Hill: Charles and Camilla

6 September 2017
Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life 
by Sally Bedell Smith.
Michael Joseph, 624 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 7181 8780 4
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The Duchess: The Untold Story 
by Penny Junor.
William Collins, 320 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 0 00 821100 4
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... Year award in 1994, despite having missed the story under his nose. Junor’s biography is part of the latest chapter in the rehabilitation of Camilla. She quotes Charles’s press secretary Colleen Harris on the difficulty of manoeuvring the media through the three-point turn required to convert the wicked marriage wrecker Mrs Parker Bowles into the warm but businesslike Duchess of Cornwall. ‘They ...
19 July 1984
... choose a fifth. The two nominated by Lonrho – on the advice of Lord Shawcross (of whom more later) – are Geoffrey Cox, a former editor and chief executive of Independent Television News, and Dame Rosemary Murray, a former Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University and a director of the Midland Bank. The two nominated by the staff are Lord Windlesham, a former Tory Minister and once managing director of ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB

20 January 2005
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... if not, perhaps, the absolutely most recent critical vocabulary) is evident in the ODNB’s praise for Eliot’s ‘study of provincial life’ as ‘astonishingly fully realised’. Actually, Rosemary Ashton is a little nearer to Stephen in manner than some of her more cautiously academic fellow contributors, writing, for example, that ‘Marian’s was a difficult life, but a brave and extremely ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... did his thing.’ When I contacted the home secretary he asked for my questions but then declined to answer them.As Javid left the sports centre, the queen arrived, accompanied by Prince William. Sue Harris, the head of the borough’s Environmental Health Department, took them round. As soon as the queen appeared in the main hall, Mrs Jafari, the dead man’s widow, let out the most chilling howl, as ...

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