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Women are nicer

John Bayley, 20 March 1986

Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, her World and her Poetry 
by Simon Karlinsky.
Cambridge, 289 pp., £27.50, February 1986, 0 521 25582 1
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The Women’s Decameron 
by Julia Woznesenskaya, translated by W.B. Linton.
Quartet, 330 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 7043 2555 1
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... Trotsky, who had a certain wit, even in literary matters, thought that women wrote poetry for only two reasons: because they desired a man and because they needed God, ‘as a combination of errand boy and gynaecologist ... How this individual, no longer young and burdened by the personal bothersome errands of Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva and others, manages in his spare time to direct the destinies of the universe is simply incredible ...

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