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Travels without My Aunt

Catherine Gallagher: The 18th-century family, 3 November 2005

Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture 1748-1818 
by Ruth Perry.
Cambridge, 466 pp., £50, August 2004, 0 521 83694 8
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... over the entire early modern period, without any dramatic turning-points or sharp discontinuities. Ruth Perry knows these things; she warns us not to confuse her argument with ‘the discredited thesis that the multi-generational, extended family gave way sometime in the 17th or 18th century to a nuclear family form’. She does maintain, however, that ...

Boom and Bust

Margaret Anne Doody, 19 June 1997

A History of the Breast 
by Marilyn Yalom.
HarperCollins, 331 pp., £15.99, March 1997, 0 04 440913 3
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... of others. In her study of the 18th century, for instance, she repeats what a number of scholars (Ruth Perry especially) have already dealt with, and this should be more openly recognised. Even more striking is the paucity of literary quotation, and the almost total absence of quotation from, or reference to, novels; the exception is Philip Roth’s The ...

The Importance of Aunts

Colm Tóibín, 17 March 2011

... be. In Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture 1748-1818, Ruth Perry examined the make-up of the family in the early years of the novel. ‘Despite the emphasis on marriage and motherhood in late 18th-century society,’ she writes, mothers in novels of the period are notoriously absent – dead or otherwise ...

Richardson, alas

Claude Rawson, 12 November 1987

Samuel Richardson 
by Jocelyn Harris.
Cambridge, 179 pp., £22.50, February 1987, 0 521 30501 2
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... a model for Clarissa. Astell has been called ‘England’s first feminist’ in a good book by Ruth Perry, where she is also shown to have been (like Richardson) generally conservative in religion and politics.* Like some other critics, Mrs Harris reads Richardson’s novels in the context of Locke’s rebuttal of Filmer’s theories of ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Tweeting at an Execution, 6 October 2011

... entertainment diet. The death vigil was known more recently in Britain: think of Derek Bentley and Ruth Ellis, and those crowds in their charcoal overcoats waiting at the prison gate for the gruesome note to be posted. But today, thanks to Twitter, the vigil-keepers and the writers are one. A last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court, a possible reprieve, the ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘British Folk Art’, 3 July 2014

... enthusiasts can’t avoid this awkward speech position and, wisely, Myrone and his colleagues Ruth Kenny and Jeff McMillan don’t try to tidy it up. Rather, they let their eyes and curiosity take them on a ramble. If these lure them into an omnium gatherum – in one place, those Indian woodcarvers at work; in another, a French prisoner of war shaving ...

In Flesh-Coloured Silk

Seamus Perry: Romanticism, 4 December 2003

Metaromanticism: Aesthetics, Literature, Theory 
by Paul Hamilton.
Chicago, 316 pp., £17.50, August 2003, 0 226 31480 4
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... nightingale is a thing of art and myth, an immortal whose song found out ‘the sad heart of Ruth’; but it is also a transient visitor to a Hampstead garden, which heedlessly slips out of earshot (‘Past the near meadows, over the still stream,/Up the hill-side’) and so brings Keats’s poem to an unpremeditated close. Carver’s poem sets about ...

I’m an intelligence

Joanna Biggs: Sylvia Plath at 86, 20 December 2018

The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Vol. I: 1940-56 
edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil.
Faber, 1388 pp., £35, September 2017, 978 0 571 32899 4
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The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Vol. II: 1956-63 
edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil.
Faber, 1025 pp., £35, September 2018, 978 0 571 33920 4
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... never was. Now what? ‘I love you for listening,’ Plath, abandoned and alone, tells her analyst Ruth Beuscher in a letter late in 1962. The rest of us are listening at last. The first letter is to Plath’s father, Otto. ‘I am coming home soon,’ she told him on a visit to her maternal grandparents in February 1940 – she was seven. ‘Are you as glad ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... an exhibition of its own. A professor of drama at Columbia has just donated 193 pieces to the Perry Ellis archive at the Fashion Institute of Technology. ‘Traditionally most designers did not think of archiving their careers,’ Valerie Steele, the curator (and editor of Fashion Theory), points out. ‘Only very recently have they become aware that to ...

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