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Paulie lops it off

Elisa Segrave, 2 December 1993

The Wives of Bath 
by Susan Swan.
Granta, 237 pp., £8.99, October 1993, 0 14 014081 6
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... I met Susan Swan, the author of this novel about a girls’ boarding-school, in a women’s dormitory on a holistic holiday in Greece. Apart from Susan, there was Tessa, a potter from Brixton, a German called Ingrid and Marjorie, an aromatherapist from Liverpool. Susan was a cut above the rest of us ...

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 ...

Four in a Bed

Wendy Doniger, 8 February 1996

Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life 
by Marjorie Garber.
Hamish Hamilton, 608 pp., £25, January 1996, 9780241134481
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... Kate Bornstein’s image of gender as a matter of personal choice from a constantly revolving lazy-Susan – I would have said a lazy-Sam-and-Susan – of sexual orientations.) This polymorphous permissiveness, with barriers dropping as fast as knickers, is precisely what inspires most people’s resistance to ...

A Question of Breathing

John Bayley, 4 August 1988

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 400 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3018 0
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Selected Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 330 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3311 2
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning: Vol. III 
edited by Ian Jack and Rowena Fowler.
Oxford, 542 pp., £60, June 1988, 0 19 812762 6
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The Complete Works of Robert Browning: Vol. VIII 
edited by Roma King and Susan Crowl.
Ohio/Baylor University, 379 pp., £47.50, September 1988, 9780821403808
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... being a sheltered author and a loving spouse were quite compatible. Aurora Leigh was Elizabeth’s swan-song, the testament of a perfect egoist and self-esteemer. With their natural reverence for double-dealing, perhaps the Victorian critics perceived this, while admiring the poem’s bold story and advanced views. The ‘feel’ for things in the early ...

Hang on to the doily

Jenny Diski: Catherine M., 25 July 2002

The Sexual Life of Catherine M. 
by Catherine Millet, translated by Adriana Hunter.
Serpent’s Tail, 192 pp., £12, June 2002, 1 85242 811 2
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... unless you keep to a very firm remit. The sexual story can transform from pumpkin to princess to swan with injured wing and back again in the blink of a thought. It is a nothing, an empty arena, that might be everything. And everything is more than we can cope with. The obsessive, fetishistic, single account that pornography provides is what keeps sexuality ...

Jigsaw Mummies

Tom Shippey: Pagan Britain, 6 November 2014

Pagan Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 480 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 19771 6
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The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria 
by Max Adams.
Head of Zeus, 450 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 1 78185 418 1
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... with Herne the Hunter, who is mentioned in The Merry Wives of Windsor and reimagined in Susan Cooper’s children’s fiction), and even Epona the horse goddess, often thought to lie behind the horse-dominated stories of Rhiannon in the Welsh Mabinogion. Britain is notably lacking in evidence for the cult of Epona that was widespread ...

Invidious Trumpet

Thomas Keymer: Find the Printer, 9 September 2021

The Paper Chase: The Printer, the Spymaster and the Hunt for the Rebel Pamphleteers 
by Joseph Hone.
Chatto, 251 pp., £18.99, November 2020, 978 1 78474 306 2
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... and printers, suppressing particular works and constraining public discourse in general. As Cyndia Susan Clegg writes in her studies of press control under Elizabeth and the early Stuarts, censorship had always functioned via a range of regulations and mechanisms; it was a ‘crazy quilt’ of overlapping measures ...

‘A Naughty House’

Charles Nicholl: Shakespeare’s Landlord, 24 June 2010

... I count a dozen cases, including that of the three Frenchmen, in this category. Among them are Susan Browne, ‘taken in bed with a Scotsman in a common bawdy house’; Anthony Horne, tailor, ‘locked up in a shed in Chiswell Street with Margery Blague in the night, and apprehended by the constable’; Henry Manne, gentleman, ‘complained to be a very ...

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