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How to Perfume a Glove

Adam Smyth: Early Modern Cookbooks, 5 January 2017

Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen 
by Wendy Wall.
Pennsylvania, 328 pp., £53, November 2015, 978 0 8122 4758 9
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... merits of which derive from the balance of heating and cooling ingredients. ‘Food work’, as Wendy Wall calls it, was a subset of the care of the body, and this intertwining is everywhere in the recipe culture Wall describes. Thus the manuscript recipe book of Mary Birkhead from about 1680 now in the British ...

Diary

Wendy Steiner: In London, 24 May 1990

... door. Plaster dust and dead letters are strewn over the hall carpet. Through a huge hole in the wall I can see into my flat. A break-in. Again. Four months ago a robber stole all my jewellery by slipping the lock. Now the locks have held and someone has broken through the wall. What did they steal this time? The police ...

Limits of Civility

Glen Newey: Walls, 17 March 2011

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty 
by Wendy Brown.
Zone, 167 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 1 935408 08 6
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... for one whose kingdom was not of this world. In Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, Wendy Brown notes that walls symbolise the will to closure. As inherited tracts of masonry, they recall bygone enmities, but also mark the limits of civility. Yet the revealed will to close down politics, being itself political, is self-defeating. Antigone in ...

Spicy

Nicholas Spice, 15 March 1984

The Fetishist, and Other Stories 
by Michel Tournier, translated by Barbara Wright.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 00 221440 7
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My Aunt Christina, and Other Stories 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 207 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 575 03256 1
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Mr Bedford and the Muses 
by Gail Godwin.
Heinemann, 229 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 434 29751 8
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Alexandra Freed 
by Lisa Zeidner.
Cape, 288 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 224 02158 3
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The Coffin Tree 
by Wendy Law-Yone.
Cape, 195 pp., £8.50, January 1984, 0 224 02963 0
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... familiar to us all, experiences we recognise and can identify with: watching a cat jump onto a wall (‘she ran at it as if it were flat on the ground’), eating breakfast early on a spring morning in the dark (‘he gazed at the black rectangle of the window in front of him’), padding around the bathroom in a bathrobe or trying to make one’s way ...

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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... the trio slides imperceptibly into a quartet in Garber’s musings: ‘Like the missing “fourth wall” in proscenium theatre, where the illusion is of an audience looking in on a reality that doesn’t look back, this third leg or side of the triangle is more active and more determinative than it may at first appear.’ For, if both of the two original ...

His Greatest Pretend

Dinah Birch: The man behind Pan, 1 September 2005

Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie 
by Lisa Chaney.
Hutchinson, 402 pp., £20, June 2005, 0 09 179539 7
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... as that of the unruly boy. He was slow to accept that girls could be children: they were, like Wendy, really mothers in waiting. An anxious idealisation of his own forceful mother shaped his personality from the first. The story of his life seems almost too transparent in the clues it offers to his distinctive mind. Born in 1860 to a handloom ...

‘The most wonderful person I’d ever met’

Wendy Steiner, 28 September 1989

Waverley Place 
by Susan Brownmiller.
Hamish Hamilton, 294 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12804 8
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... After an early beating by Joel she muses: ‘He didn’t mean to bang my head against the wall ... This is a man who cares so deeply, who feels so much pain.’ Though there is little to applaud in Judith, the novel engages in surprisingly little overt criticism of her. Brownmiller excludes the incriminating events of the evening of the ...

Stop screaming, Mrs Steiner

Wendy Steiner, 17 December 1992

The American way of Birth 
by Jessica Mitford.
Gollancz, 237 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 575 05430 1
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... stage, another for transition, huge gulps of air for the second stage. I focused on a spot on the wall and panted. After all, that is what I was supposed to do and I was going to do it right. I was not going to be the irrational ‘cow’ that all the books said chauvinistic males thought labouring women were. Yet nothing I felt had anything remotely to do ...

Lacan’s Ghost

Wendy Doniger: The mirror, 3 January 2002

The Mirror: A History 
by Sabine Melchior-Bonnet, translated by Katharine Jewett.
Routledge, 308 pp., £16.99, January 2001, 0 415 92447 2
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... Disney’s Snow White preserves the most famous catoptromancy of all (‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?’), and Harry Potter encounters the mirror in which ‘anyone . . . might see what . . . he desires.’ Melchior-Bonnet records the belief that souls are often caught in mirrors, and that people often lose their mirror images ...

How to Escape the Curse

Wendy Doniger: The Mahabharata, 8 October 2009

The Mahabharata 
translated by John Smith.
Penguin, 834 pp., £16.99, May 2009, 978 0 14 044681 4
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... cover to cover without encountering any event that could not be reported, mutatis mutandis, in the Wall Street Journal. The historians of religion, on the other hand, generally zero in on the Bhagavad Gita (which many Hindus lift out of context and use as a self-contained sacred text); some also concentrate on the theology of Krishna and the other great god of ...

At New Hall

Eleanor Birne: Modern Women’s Art, 29 June 2017

... Road. In the Fellows’ Drawing Room, a Bridget Riley, Shadow Play, hangs casually on the wall behind the grand piano. It’s all unbelievably chic. It takes a lot of work, and money, to keep the place looking this good. I visited on a day when the academics and the admin, kitchen and maintenance staff were having lunch together in the main dining ...

Devolution Doom

Christopher Harvie: Scotland’s crisis, and some solutions, 5 September 2002

... doomed, ah tell ye, doomed!’ – in order? The Enterprise/Transport/Lifelong-Learning minister Wendy Alexander fled in May, perhaps because McConnell crushed her under all those portfolios, but also, surely, because of the mismatch between her huge responsibilities and her limited powers. Holyrood has, it’s true, turned in good research and policy ...

He wants me no more

Tessa Hadley: Pamela Hansford Johnson, 21 January 2016

Pamela Hansford Johnson: Her Life, Works and Times 
by Wendy Pollard.
Shepheard-Walwyn, 500 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 0 85683 298 7
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... with much penetration about its subject but doesn’t interfere with it either, no flashy stuff. Wendy Pollard’s record of Johnson’s life is scrupulous; she sticks to the diaries and the letters and the work, and her admiration for her subject and enthusiasm for Johnson’s writing is unflagging. By the end of the book the enthusiasm feels touching, a ...

Who needs a welfare state?

Deborah Friedell: The Little House Books, 22 November 2012

The Little House Books 
by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Library of America, 1490 pp., £56.50, August 2012, 978 1 59853 162 6
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The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ 
by Wendy McClure.
Riverhead, 336 pp., £10, April 2012, 978 1 59448 568 8
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... In The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie’, Wendy McClure, a children’s book editor, details her obsession with what she calls ‘Laura World’. She visits the Big Woods in Wisconsin where Wilder was born; the places where Wilder’s parents farmed – never successfully – in ...

Should we build a wall around North Wales?

Daniel Trilling: The Refugee Crisis, 13 July 2017

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move 
by Reece Jones.
Verso, 208 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78478 471 3
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Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System 
by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 0 241 28923 5
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No Borders: The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance 
by Natasha King.
Zed, 208 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78360 467 8
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... scale of migration between countries within Africa. Jones gives short shrift to scholars such as Wendy Brown, who argued in Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2010) that today’s border walls are a sign not of strength but that state sovereignty is being eroded by globalisation: they fulfil a psychological role, by providing a reassuring image of security ...

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