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Love is always young and happy

David Coward: Molière, 5 April 2001

Molière: A Theatrical Life 
by Virginia Scott.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £35, October 2000, 0 521 78281 3
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... Molière, rebels with a subversive one and theatre historians with a man of the theatre. Virginia Scott’s biography, the first in English for seventy years, belongs with the latter tendency; its purpose is to provide an accessible portrait of a playwright who, after Shakespeare, ‘represents classical theatre to American audiences’. She ...

I, too, write a little

Lorna Sage: Katherine Mansfield, 18 June 1998

The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol I 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 310 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 48 4
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The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol II 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 355 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 49 2
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... and the Scrapbook, though it’s long been known that there was no such distinction. Margaret Scott, who is also co-editor of the five-volume Mansfield Collected Letters, has worked for years on these Mansfield papers at the Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand, where most of them are kept (the rest are in Chicago), and where she was a ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists, 7 June 2007

The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... Country, Dickens’s London, With Hardy in Dorset, Literary Bypaths of Old England, The Land of Scott. Academic libraries don’t cater for it, and academic critics have about as much regard for it as they have for Disney World or back numbers of Reader’s Digest. It’s been out of favour since at least the 1750s. The Reverend Francis Gastrell, who owned ...

Snouty

John Bayley, 4 June 1987

The Faber Book of Diaries 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 498 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 0 571 13806 3
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A Lasting Relationship: Parents and Children over Three Centuries 
by Linda Pollock.
Fourth Estate, 319 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 947795 25 1
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... practising the articulation of a very real gratitude. It would have been well understood by Walter Scott: Some things of the black dog hanging about me but I will shake him off. I generally affect good spirits in company of my family whether I am enjoying them or not. It is too severe to sadden the harmless mirth of others by suffering your causeless ...

His Whiskers Trimmed

Matthew Karp: Robert E. Lee in Defeat, 7 April 2022

Robert E. Lee: A Life 
by Allen Guelzo.
Knopf, 585 pp., $27.99, September 2021, 978 1 101 94622 0
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... on her. By the time he joined the Confederacy in 1861, at the age of 54, he had become rebel Virginia’s pre-eminent silver fox; a British visitor encamped with his army the following year declared that Lee could pass for ‘a splendid specimen of an English gentleman’. Lee’s appearance attained a kind of perfection in defeat after he surrendered ...

The Thing

Michael Wood: Versions of Proust, 6 January 2005

In Search of Lost Time: Vol. I: The Way by Swann’s 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 496 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118031 5
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol.II: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by James Grieve.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118032 3
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. III: The Guermantes Way 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Mark Treharne.
Penguin, 640 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118033 1
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. IV: Sodom and Gomorrah 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by John Sturrock.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 9780141180342
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. V: ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Fugitive’ 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Carol Clark and Peter Collier.
Penguin, 720 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118035 8
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. VI: Finding Time Again 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Ian Patterson.
Penguin, 400 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118036 6
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The Proust Project 
edited by André Aciman.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., $25, November 2004, 0 374 23832 4
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... of Guermantes, the narrator says, ‘appeared to me to be a paradise I would never enter’. Scott Moncrieff, the earlier and best-known translator of Proust, is in this case quite literal about the famous sentence, and gives us ‘the true paradises are the paradises that we have lost,’ although even here there is a little slither, since in the ...

Vita Longa

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 1 December 1983

Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 297 78306 8
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... Vita was 40: Christopher, Mrs Glendinning writes, was ‘very ugly and in her late fifties’. (Virginia Woolf, called upon to intercede with Vita on Christopher’s behalf, described her as ‘that mule-faced harridan of yours’.) Vita didn’t drop Christopher: she liked people to go on loving her, provided they didn’t expect much in return, and ...

Superchild

John Bayley, 6 September 1984

The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... To read Virginia Woolf when young is, or was, to have the feeling of entering a new world, to realise with sudden ecstasy that this was true being, where words and consciousness and the solitary self melted into one. ‘She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,’ wrote Wordsworth of his sister Dorothy. Virginia Woolf gave more than that: she gave, or seemed to give, the pure Private Life, quite separate from the contingent miseries, anxieties and rivalries of adolescence, a free-floating poetic awareness, an otherness wholly and excitingly up-to-date ...

Diary

David Denby: Deaths on Camera, 8 September 2016

... World and Me, his essay on race and violence. Coates’s close friend Prince Jones was killed in Virginia in 2000. ‘When Prince Jones died, there were no cameras. There was nobody looking. The officer that killed him was not prosecuted. He was not even disciplined by the police force.’ In the Cincinnati video, today’s compulsion to take pictures of ...

A Little ‘Foreign’

P.N. Furbank: Iris Origo, 27 June 2002

Iris Origo: Marchesa of Val d’Orcia 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Murray, 351 pp., £22, October 2000, 0 7195 5672 4
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... by a previous marriage on a motor-tour of Tuscany. The choice fell on Maynard Keynes and Geoffrey Scott, who proved to be ‘nice, intellectual boys’ who did not lead the girls into any ‘nonsense’. Scott was recently down from Oxford, with a reputation as a brilliant conversationalist but no obvious vocation, and Mary ...

Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... books, like her journalism, are larded with quotations, from recherché antique cookery books to Virginia Woolf, Montaigne, Walter Scott. Her approach is not in the least like the gastronomic dandyism of the ‘food-for-food’s sake’ crowd: she is holistic about it. She is obviously a truly civilised person and, for ...

Her Anti-Aircraft Guns

Lorna Scott Fox: Clarice Lispector, 8 April 2010

Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector 
by Benjamin Moser.
Haus, 479 pp., £20, September 2009, 978 1 906598 42 6
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The Apple in the Dark 
by Clarice Lispector, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Haus, 445 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 906598 45 7
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... and the tedium of diplomatic society is transformed and magnified in the violent subjection of Virginia in The Chandelier (1946), one of her most difficult books in its search for an originary language, stripped of accretions. As Moser puts it, ‘she identifies the point at which a thing is named as the point where that thing comes to exist.’ It is one ...

Big Thinks

Rosemary Dinnage, 22 June 2000

Selected Letters of Rebecca West 
edited by Bonnie Kime Scott.
Yale, 497 pp., £22.50, May 2000, 0 300 07904 4
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... must have come partly from having an illegitimate child, excruciatingly humiliating in her day. Virginia Woolf, another sharp-eyed lady, wrote that all West’s difficulty came from ‘the weals and scars left by the hoofmarks of Wells’. (She also had comments about dirty nails and so on; Rebecca, for her part, would not ‘have fed a dog’ from one of ...

The way out of a room is not through the door

Christian Lorentzen: Charles Manson, 7 November 2013

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson 
by Jeff Guinn.
Simon and Schuster, 495 pp., £20, August 2013, 978 0 85720 893 4
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... she could dance at a club called Ritzy Ray’s. That might have been the place she met Colonel Scott, a small-time local con artist who made his dimes collecting tolls from drivers crossing a free bridge. When Kathleen got pregnant, Scott told her he’d been summoned away on military business. In fact, he was a civilian ...

During the war and after the war

J.R. Pole, 11 January 1990

Oxford History of the United States. Vol. VI: Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era 
by James McPherson.
Oxford, 904 pp., $35, June 1988, 0 19 503863 0
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Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 
by Eric Foner.
Harper and Row, 690 pp., $21.95, April 1988, 0 06 015851 4
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... the summer of 1862, when a seemingly imminent Union victory was arrested both in the West and in Virginia. It may be remarked here, hardly parenthetically, that the prolongation of the war by these Southern successes ensured that the war would turn into a crusade against slavery. An early victory would have restored the Union without any immediate prospect ...

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