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Nothing to Forgive: A Daughter’s Life of Antonia White 
by Lyndall Hopkinson.
Chatto, 376 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 7011 2969 7
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... They are perhaps more so now, having recently been reissued and made into a television serial. Susan Chitty, the elder daughter, was first off the mark in 1985 with ‘a very personal memoir, not a biography’.* ‘Antonia White was not a good mother to me,’ she begins, and goes on to say that her ‘four novels were largely autobiographical, so ...

Enough is enough

Patricia Beer, 26 September 1991

by Antonia White, edited by Susan Chitty.
Constable, 320 pp., £19.95, September 1991, 0 09 470650 6
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... In her introduction to Antonia White’s Diaries the editor, her elder daughter Susan Chitty, quite naturally raises the question of whether or not they should have been published at all. But such doubts as she may have had, and conquered, have apparently nothing to do with the amount of coverage her mother’s life needs or justifies ...

A Subtle Form of Hypocrisy

John Bayley, 2 October 1997

Playing the Game: A Biography of Sir Henry Newbolt 
by Susan Chitty.
Quartet, 288 pp., £25, July 1997, 0 7043 7107 3
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... of the action Newbolt refers to, when a square was broken and a regiment all but destroyed. (Susan Chitty refers to Newbolt’s meeting at Clifton with ‘a survivor of Omdurman’, but that was in the final stage of the war, and an almost bloodless victory from the British Army’s point of view, though the Dervish forces were massacred.) Such ...

Wood Nymph

Robert Melville, 18 March 1982

Gwen John 
by Susan Chitty.
Hodder, 223 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 340 24480 1
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... It’s not clear why Susan Chitty called at a château in Alsace some time in the Sixties, but it’s evident from her account of the visit that she had not been there before, and that it had unexpected consequences. For one thing, it provoked the initial researches for the present biography, and for another, it led to a handsome windfall, not exactly deserved, for the Jacques Maritain Study Centre ...

Je suis bizarre

Sarah LeFanu: Gwen John, 6 September 2001

Gwen John: A Life 
by Sue Roe.
Chatto, 364 pp., £25, June 2001, 0 7011 6695 9
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... but she was strong and canny. In her biography of 1981 (the only other full-length biography), Susan Chitty emphasises John’s friendships with women. Sue Roe makes less of the strong feelings John had for, and herself inspired in other women. There was an innkeeper’s wife, according to Chitty, who pursued her to ...

Perfect Light

Jenny Diski, 9 July 1992

Diana: Her True Story 
by Andrew Morton.
Michael O’Mara, 165 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 1 85479 191 5
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Shared Lives 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Bloomsbury, 285 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 7475 1164 0
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Antonia White: Diaries 1958-1979 
edited by Susan Chitty.
Constable, 352 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 09 470660 3
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... years before were reissued as ‘classic women’s writing’ by Virago. The diaries are edited by Susan Chitty, White’s eldest daughter, in the teeth of her half-sister Lyndall’s opposition. Antonia White herself seemed not entirely sure if she wanted them published or not. ‘All I can say is that they are a record of what I was thinking and feeling ...

Biscuits. Oh good!

Anna Vaux: Antonia White, 27 May 1999

Antonia White 
by Jane Dunn.
Cape, 484 pp., £20, November 1998, 9780224036191
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... two books about cats, some stories and a piece of autobiography. She also left two daughters (Susan Chitty and Lyndall Hopkinson) and more than a million words of diaries – work that some consider her greatest achievement, and the editing of which led to a public row (and legal action) between the girls, who disagreed about what kind of woman their ...


E.S. Turner, 23 February 1995

Edward Lear: A Biography 
by Peter Levi.
Macmillan, 362 pp., £20, January 1995, 0 333 58804 5
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... does not bother to mention studies by Peter Quennell, John Lehmann, Joanna Richardson and Susan Chitty, among others. He does, however, pay his warm respects to Vivien Noakes’s definitive Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer (1968, reissued 1985). Noakes has reviewed Levi’s book – ‘a joyous interpretation’ – in the Daily Telegraph. In ...

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