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Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Giorgio Armani, 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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... had more than one set of clothes. In contrast, the clothing of the aristocracy, as Avril Hart and Susan North show in their study of 17th and 18th-century costume detail, was costly, elaborate, lavish in craft and ornamentation. Once fabric and clothing were mass produced, they became matters of choice rather than class. For the past hundred years, Crane ...
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 much so ...

Asking too much

Stephen Wall, 22 February 1990

Lust, and Other Stories 
by Susan Minot.
Heinemann, 147 pp., £12.95, February 1990, 9780434467570
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In Transit 
by Mavis Gallant.
Faber, 229 pp., £12.99, February 1990, 0 571 14212 5
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The Perfect Place 
by Sheila Kohler.
Cape, 148 pp., £11.95, February 1990, 0 224 02748 4
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Howling at the moon 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 174 pp., £10.95, February 1990, 0 09 469590 3
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Happiland 
by William Bedford.
Heinemann, 186 pp., £12.95, February 1990, 9780434055593
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... Susan Minot’s volume is a slim one, and some of the pieces in it will not placate those who complain that short stories are too often too short, rather as one might hold it against the sonnet that it’s over after only 14 lines. Brevity can be the soul of more qualities than wit, and it would be a dim view of Webern to say that he lacks Schubert’s heavenly length ...

Diary

Susan McKay: The Irish Border, 29 March 2017

... divided a minority from the majority’ eradicated. The Protestant minority, concentrated in the north-east of the country, was not impressed. In 1917 Lloyd George warned Parliament that they were ‘alien in blood, in religious faith, in traditions, in outlook, as alien from the rest of Ireland as the inhabitants of Fife and Aberdeen’. Margaret Thatcher ...

Three poems

Robert Crawford, 29 November 2001

... Very first lit by electric light, now houses ‘Muckraker’ pioneering newsreels. First film, Susan Lennox: Her Fall and Rise, Won him friendship of Princes Czartoryski, Freers of Galician serfs. Several Expeditions to Thracian Chersonese Increased supremacy of Athens. Founded Paris bank, in which began Work on coral reef theory, kept In cardboard ...

Smelling the Gospel

Patrick Collinson, 7 March 1991

London and the Reformation 
by Susan Brigden.
Oxford, 676 pp., £55, December 1989, 0 19 822774 4
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... contained a variety of small worlds, in Lancashire as different as Bolton. ‘the Geneva of the North’, and the coastal Fylde, in 1600 as Popish as Ireland. It has been a widespread assumption that the true story of the English Reformation, an accurate account of its pace, progress and ultimate profundity, will consist of the sum of these many parts, the ...

At City Hall

Susan McKay: Belfast Protests, 7 February 2013

... Carrickfergus, where loyalists also stormed a council meeting. The disturbances spread across the North. The police arrested dozens of people, including several 11 and 12-year-olds. By early January, traders were estimating losses to the local economy of up to £15 million; policing the protests had cost another £7 million. By contrast, Dublin had its best ...

The man whose portrait they painted

Patrick Procktor, 12 July 1990

A Life with Food 
by Peter Langan and Brian Sewell.
Bloomsbury, 128 pp., £16.99, May 1990, 9780747502203
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... qualities. Brian Sewell’s suggestion that Kirsten should have minded about his marriage with Susan is entirely disproved by the reality of their, Kirsten’s and Susan’s, lifelong friendship, let alone his friendship with myself. Kirsten gave him Odin’s to run, his first restaurant, and married me. He threw our ...

Top of the World

Jenny Turner: Douglas Coupland, 22 June 2000

Miss Wyoming 
by Douglas Coupland.
Flamingo, 311 pp., £9.99, February 2000, 0 00 225983 4
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... paper edges proudly out on show: the toothpaste ad in the decision to call his current heroine ‘Susan Colgate’; wrappers, video grabs, an Andy Warhol detail on ‘another American town that bought Tide, ate Campbell’s soup and generated at least one weird, senseless killing per decade’. In the latest book there’s a portrait-of-the-artist cameo from ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... One of the most appealing things about Susan Sontag was that she didn’t ask to be liked. Other postwar American writers who cut the same sort of public figure pleaded with you to love their outsized faults, embrace their dumb enthusiasms, and cast in your lot with theirs through recounted divorces, nervous breakdowns, lusts ...

For the Sake of the Dollars

Lynne Vallone: The original Siamese twins, 12 September 2019

Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History 
by Yunte Huang.
Liveright, 416 pp., £11.99, May 2019, 978 1 63149 545 8
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... dead or alive. ‘I hope these will prove profitable as a curiosity,’ he wrote to his wife, Susan, who eventually undertook much of the daily work of managing the twins. Onlookers flocked to view the Siamese Twins and paid a high price – fifty cents or the equivalent – for the privilege. At their Boston debut in August 1829, both their foreignness ...

Sour Plums

John Lanchester, 26 October 1989

The Letters of John Cheever 
edited by Benjamin Cheever.
Cape, 397 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 224 02689 5
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Mary McCarthy 
by Carol Gelderman.
Sidgwick, 430 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 283 99797 4
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The company she keeps 
by Mary McCarthy.
Weidenfeld, 246 pp., £4.50, October 1989, 0 297 79649 6
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... proved that not to have been the fact-checkers’ finest hour. In 1984, two years after his death, Susan Cheever published Home before Dark, a memoir which portrayed her father, whose public image was that of an impeccably upper-middle-class monogamist suburban WASP, as a promiscuously bisexual alcoholic. One memorable scene had John Updike, a friend and rival ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... Benjamin​ Moser begins his biography with a bang: ‘Susan Sontag was America’s last great literary star.’ In my gaudier moments I prefer to think of Sontag as American literature’s first and last great screen star. Transcending staid text, she was projected into the avid imaginations of legions of onlookers who didn’t know Walter Benjamin from Walter Brennan ...

Restoring St. George’s

Peter Campbell: In Bloomsbury, 20 November 2003

... the plane trees and the 19th-century vestry house which partly obscure the formidable, blackened north wall of the church. The steeple is both wonderful and absurd, an archaeological speculation tuned to resonate with the drumbeats of Hawksmoor’s hefty keystones and round-arched windows. The temple, pyramid and altar are based on Pliny’s description of ...

Women and the Novel

Marilyn Butler, 7 June 1984

Stanley and the Women 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 256 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 09 156240 6
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... public treatments for it, until he comes to realise he is happier sexless – released from his North London modern marriage, regressing into his monastic, homosexual Oxford community, though that is at the very point of succumbing to co-education. The more you think about this novel, the less the end reads like a solution, and the less Amis’s thinking ...

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