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Palmers Greenery

Susannah Clapp, 19 December 1985

by Jack Barbera and William McBrien.
Heinemann, 378 pp., £15, November 1985, 0 434 44105 8
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... person, this book will be for you a desert of weariness and exasperation.’ Jack Barbera and William McBrien approach their subject with generous and indiscriminate zeal. They have talked to a great many people, waded through an enormous amount of newsprint, and found everything interesting: the fact that Stevie Smith once came third in an ...


Penelope Fitzgerald, 3 December 1981

Me Again: Uncollected Writings of Stevie Smith 
edited by Jack Barbera and William McBrien.
Virago, 359 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 9780860682172
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... Not only are they collaborating at long distance (Barbera at the University of Mississippi, McBrien at Hofstra NY), so that they can only meet to compare notes twice a year, but, as neither of them ever met Stevie, they are getting to know her by running the documentary film about her life over and over again. No investigators can have worked ...


Anthony Thwaite, 27 October 1988

Stevie Smith: A Critical Biography 
by Frances Spalding.
Faber, 331 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 571 15207 4
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... helps to restore to Stevie Smith her dignity. Her earlier biographers, Professors Jack Barbera and William McBrien (who also compiled the uncollected writings under the nauseating title Me Again), for all their hard work and evident devotion, too often failed in their tone, by turns solemn and arch: a combination of a perhaps mimetic sort to which writing ...

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