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Nothing Natural

Jenny Turner: SurrogacyTM

13 January 2020
Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism against Family 
by Sophie Lewis.
Verso, 216 pp., £14.99, May 2019, 978 1 78663 729 1
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Making Kin Not Population 
edited by Adele Clarke and Donna Haraway.
Prickly Paradigm, 120 pp., £10, July 2018, 978 0 9966355 6 1
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... Atwood​ fans, does it matter that The Handmaid’s Tale is at bottom ‘a deraced slave narrative’, as SophieLewis calls it in Full Surrogacy Now? In the novel, as Lewis says, people of colour – ‘Children of Ham’, in Gilead language – are resettled in ‘Homeland One’, somewhere in North Dakota. In The Testaments, a sequel set 15 years later, Gilead’s ...

Like Heaven

Lorna Scott Fox

22 May 1997
Texaco 
by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated by Rose-Myriam Réjouis.
Granta, 401 pp., £15.99, March 1997, 1 86207 007 5
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School Days 
by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated by Linda Coverdale.
Nebraska, 156 pp., $13, March 1997, 0 8032 6376 7
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... a breadfruit tree by the hutch’. The story of Texaco and its prototypes in the social and moral landscape, from the early 19th to the late 20th century, is told by its formidable founder, Marie-Sophie Laborieux, who repeats to l’Oiseau de Cham/le Marqueur de Paroles (as the author somewhat coyly refers to himself) what she told the Urban Planner when he came to the shanty with a view to ...

Life with Ms Cayenne Pepper

Jenny Turner: The Chthulucene

31 May 2017
Manifestly Haraway: ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’, ‘The Companion Species Manifesto’, Companions in Conversation (with Cary Wolfe) 
by Donna Haraway.
Minnesota, 300 pp., £15.95, April 2016, 978 0 8166 5048 4
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Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene 
by Donna Haraway.
Duke, 312 pp., £22.99, August 2016, 978 0 8223 6224 1
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... over many generations. This discussion comes mainly in a two-page endnote, as though Haraway herself isn’t quite sure of what she is saying.‘I wrote​ this weeping (!)’ the human geographer SophieLewis tweeted by way of introducing the long, ferociously disappointed critique she recently published online with Viewpoint Magazine. Haraway, Lewis explains, was once her hero – ‘a trained ...

Lost Mother

Michael Dobson

17 February 2000
In My End Is My Beginning: A Life of Mary Queen of Scots 
by James Mackay.
Mainstream, 320 pp., £20, March 1999, 1 84018 058 7
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Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation 
by Jayne Elizabeth Lewis.
Routledge, 259 pp., £14.99, October 1998, 0 415 11481 0
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Ancestry and Narrative in 19th-Century British Literature: Blood Relations from Edgeworth to Hardy 
by Sophie​ Gilmartin.
Cambridge, 281 pp., £37.50, February 1999, 0 521 56094 2
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... disowned mother of the British state, she is the sacrificial victim who has always haunted the national pantheon’s victory procession. It is this haunting which is the principal subject of Jayne Lewis’s splendid exercise in cultural history, Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation. Although her book sets out to consider the representation of Mary from her own lifetime until the end of the ...
8 September 1994
Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 318 pp., £27.50, April 1994, 0 19 811746 9
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... ignores the link with Picasso described above, seeing Bloomsbury’s ‘failures to appreciate non-Fauvist work’ as probably preventing them from ‘coming to terms with the early work of Wyndham Lewis’. As a result, they ‘ceased to be in the vanguard at the very point at which they had produced a potentially powerful and accommodating theory for its art.’ In the summer of 1913, however ...
7 July 1994
The Sixties: The Last Journal, 1960-1972 
by Edmund Wilson, edited by Lewis​ Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 968 pp., $35, July 1993, 0 374 26554 2
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... Robert Lowell etc. None of these people, however, furnishes Wilson with anything like a satisfying number of thoughtful passages in the journals. This is partly a result of misleading editing by Lewis Dabney, who divides the book into 19 sections and dozens of sub-sections, most them enticingly labelled ‘Auden, Mike Nichols and Flying in New York’ or ‘European Intellectuals’. So you look ...
18 July 1996
Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 320 pp., $24.95, May 1996, 0 520 20407 7
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... As a performer Jolson inspired out-and-out impersonation. In the early days of his success, his black-faced, mammy-singing disciples included not only Eddie Cantor, George Burns, George Jessel and Sophie Tucker, but the future movie mogul Harry Cohn, the young Walter Winchell and his own older brother. Signed by the Shubert Brothers in 1911, Jolson was the first product of the bastard forms of ...

More than ever, and for ever

Michael Rogin: Beauvoir and Nelson Algren

17 September 1998
Beloved Chicago Man: Letters to Nelson Algren 1947-64 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gollancz, 624 pp., £25, August 1998, 0 575 06590 7
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America Day by Day 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Carol Cosman.
California, 355 pp., $27.50, January 1999, 0 520 20979 6
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... writing her roman à clé), the novel counterposes their Chicago love affair to the political tribulations of French Left intellectuals after the war, as Anne’s forced choice of DeBreuilh over Lewis Brogan parallels DeBreuilh’s forced break with Henri and choice of the Soviet Union over the United States. Although Beauvoir always denied (unconvincingly) that the three major French characters ...

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