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Coming out with something

Susannah Clapp, 6 July 1989

Laughter and the Love of Friends: A Memoir 1945 to the Present Day 
by Ursula Wyndham.
Lennard, 208 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 1 85291 061 5
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1939: The Last Season of Peace 
by Angela Lambert.
Weidenfeld, 235 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 297 79539 2
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Rosehill: Portraits from a Midland City 
by Carol Lake.
Bloomsbury, 179 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 9780747503019
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... Of course, one has to write, but what can one say?’ Ursula Wyndham’s mother set up this despairing wail whenever she read in the Times that a friend had given birth. To a girl. Her contempt for female children extended – with knobs on – to her daughter, and she was backed up by a husband who acknowledged his least loved offspring only by explosions of distaste ...
... had the French edition of White Mischief, which I come into. He’d put originally that Francis Wyndham, one of the senior editors, wanted Cyril Connolly to write something, and I immediately looked myself up and it said: ‘Francis Wyndham, un des rédacteurs les plus âgés’, as if I was one of the oldest editors ...

Complaining about reviews

John Bayley, 23 May 1985

Mrs Henderson, and Other Stories 
by Francis Wyndham.
Cape, 160 pp., £8.50, April 1985, 0 224 02306 3
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... Humour needs a certain detachment, not to say tranquillity. This is what it receives in Francis Wyndham’s stories. In the last one in the book, ‘The Ground Hostess’, in some ways the most entertaining of a highly original and distinguished collection, a female novelist rings up the narrator to complain about her latest reviews. Her monologue is not ...

Keeping up the fight

Paul Delany, 24 January 1991

D.H. Lawrence: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £19.95, August 1990, 0 333 49247 1
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D.H. Lawrence 
by Tony Pinkney.
Harvester, 180 pp., £30, June 1990, 0 7108 1347 3
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England, My England, and Other Stories 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Bruce Steele.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 0 521 35267 3
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The ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ Trial (Regina v. Penguin Books Limited) 
edited by H. Montgomery Hyde.
Bodley Head, 333 pp., £18, June 1990, 0 370 31105 1
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by James Hanley.
Deutsch, 191 pp., £11.99, August 1990, 0 233 98578 6
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D.H. Lawrence: A Literary Life 
by John Worthen.
Macmillan, 196 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 333 43352 1
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... art above the viscosity of ordinary life. These motifs are often associated with the male: as Wyndham Lewis put it in Tarr, ‘God was man: the woman was a lower form of life. Everything started female and so continued: a jellyfish diffuseness spread itself and gaped upon all the beds and bas-fonds of everything.’ Even if we agree with Pinkney that ...


Susannah Clapp: On Angela Carter, 12 March 1992

... must be more to life than this.’ With that remark in mind, the writer and critic Francis Wyndham observed that rich prose such as her own might make one feel that ‘there must be less to life than this.’ Angela, who liked ‘a bit of flash’ and was ‘all for pretension’, would not have minded the point. Her fiction is ...

Outfoxing Hangman

Thomas Jones: David Mitchell, 11 May 2006

Black Swan Green 
by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 371 pp., £16.99, May 2006, 0 340 82279 1
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... Flaubert, Hesse or Kafka – the most ‘impressive’ names on his bookshelf are Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin and John Wyndham – but at a village meeting to discuss what to do about a proposed Gypsy campsite, he reflects that ‘the villagers wanted the Gypsies to be gross, so the grossness of what they’re not acts ...

With a Da bin ich!

Seamus Perry: Properly Lawrentian, 9 September 2021

Burning Man: The Ascent of D.H. Lawrence 
by Frances Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 488 pp., £25, May, 978 1 4088 9362 3
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... attempts to exert his horrid will over a horse, but then switches mode abruptly to describe Ursula and Gudrun wandering around town on a Sunday afternoon, overhearing the lusty commentary of the colliers as they pass. Lawrence seems both amused by the human scene and also, you feel, momentarily emancipated by the sheer inconsequence of what he is ...

My Year of Reading Lemmishly

Jonathan Lethem, 10 February 2022

... including that most sacred of genres, the ‘literary’.Some of this even had to do with Lem. Ursula Le Guin and Theodore Sturgeon had endorsed him; a spirit of internationalism had led to the SFWA invitation in the first place. A younger writer like Bruce Sterling, a founder of the cyberpunk movement and very much part of this next wave of possibility ...

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