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Lady with the Iron Nose

Tom Shippey: Pagan Survival, 3 November 2022

Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe, an Investigation 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 245 pp., £18.99, May, 978 0 300 26101 1
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... the Cerne Abbas Giant isn’t a pagan survival, what is? It has been suggested that the story of Lady Godiva’s naked ride has its origins in a cult of a horse-riding goddess. The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, performed every September by men wearing reindeer antlers, has similarly been claimed as an ancient relic. Dating has confirmed that the antlers are a ...

The Lady Vanishes

Zoë Heller, 20 July 1995

The Last of the Duchess 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £16.99, April 1995, 0 333 63062 9
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... Blum’s awfulness, but we get a strong sense of it, in the relish with which she recounts the old lady’s ‘terrorist threat’.) Still, there is a limit to the amusement value of even the most dramatic battiness, and the fact remains that Blum, as Blackwood’s star witness, is next to useless as a source of reliable information. Blackwood responds to this ...

Lady Chatterley’s Sneakers

David Trotter, 30 August 2012

... In a letter written in July 1926, a couple of months before he embarked on the first version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence gave voice – as he often did – to the hatred he felt for ‘our most modern world’. Tin cans and ‘imitation tea’ feature prominently on his list of things not to like about being ‘most modern ...

Lady This and Princess That

Joanna Biggs: On Buchi Emecheta, 7 March 2024

In the Ditch 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Penguin, 147 pp., £9.99, August 2023, 978 0 241 57812 4
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The Joys of Motherhood 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Penguin, 264 pp., £9.99, September 2022, 978 0 241 57813 1
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... in her autobiography never to have heard the term before. When the other women on the panel, ‘Lady this and Princess that’, spoke of the suffering of Third World women, Emecheta bridled:I don’t know why I hated people talking about us like that. I still hate it, and because of this I find myself disagreeing on everything suggested by white women, even ...

The Lady in the Van

Alan Bennett, 26 October 1989

... stops me and says: ‘Tell me, is she a genuine eccentric?’ April 1970 Today we moved the old lady’s van. An obstruction order had been put under the windscreen wiper, stating that it was stationed outside No 63 and is a danger to public health. This order, Miss S. insists, is a statutory order: ‘And statutory means standing, in this case standing ...

Lady Talky

Alison Light: Lydia Lopokova, 18 December 2008

Bloomsbury Ballerina: Lydia Lopokova, Imperial Dancer and Mrs John Maynard Keynes 
by Judith Mackrell.
Weidenfeld, 476 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 0 297 84908 7
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... to Vanessa; Lydia’s ‘spiritual home’ was Woolworths, Clive Bell sneered. Admittedly ‘Lady Talky’ (as Keynes liked to call her) chattered merrily to Vanessa when she was trying to paint, ruining the precious little time she had to work; but they certainly looked down on her as a prole. When Virginia remarked snidely that Lydia had been racketing ...

Alexander Blok’s Beautiful Lady

T.J. Binyon, 7 August 1980

The Life of Aleksandr Blok: Vol. 1: ‘The Distant Thunder 1880-1908’ 
by Avril Pyman.
Oxford, 359 pp., £12.50, January 1979, 0 19 211714 9
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... and golden and full of fun’, that Blok fell in love in 1900. The Verses about the Most Beautiful Lady, written over the next two years, are both a lyrical diary of this love, and an attempt to convey a mystical experience – a revelation of divine harmony. The mysterious Lady, infinitely beyond the poet’s reach, yet at ...

Lady Rothermere’s Fan

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 7 November 1985

The Letters of Ann Fleming 
edited by Mark Amory.
Collins, 448 pp., £16.50, October 1985, 0 00 217059 0
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... various occasions she’d attended (‘Noël was making eminent playwright conversation to leading lady ... He should be used as a cabaret and not as a guest ... the deserts of pomposity between the oases of wit are too vast’); the look of delight on George Wigg’s face when Debo Devonshire asked him if he would tap her telephone and the ‘terrible ...

Our Lady of the Counterculture

Marina Warner: The Virgin Mary, 8 November 2012

... 1987 to celebrate the pope’s third visit to his native country and to the national shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The association spoiled the pleasure the music had given me, for John Paul II had declared again and again his opposition to the changing role of women, rejected the ordination of women and urged closer emulation of Mary. The priesthood, he ...

Pound and the Perfect Lady

Donald Davie, 19 September 1985

Pound’s Artists: Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy 
by Richard Humphreys.
Tate Gallery, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 946590 28 1
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Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914 
edited by Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz.
Faber, 399 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 571 13480 7
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... really belong with other Poundiana. Its place is at least equally with The Diary of an Edwardian Lady, or even, since through long months the lovers are at opposite ends of Italy, with E.M. Forster’s Room with a View. Its fragrance is real, and penetrating: but it does not release itself at the first casual opening of the pages. And yet the fact must be ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... exposed engine crackling like a Maxim-gun, or how I might have replied to the question ‘Is the lady your sister?’ Had I been admitted to his finely furnished dining-room (where six shillings for dinner was a steepish charge) could I have displayed as much overt and well-bred enjoyment ‘as all honest people would who keep Rollses and Minervas and eat at ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’, 15 December 2016

... We have a long way to go – I predict countless, well-shod episodes, from Lilibet’s brogues to Lady Diana’s Jimmy Choos – and the emerging picture of a disappearing Britain may be too intoxicating to resist. The islands that these people ruled over are no more, or no more what they were, and the fog of cursing and conspiracy that distinguishes The ...

Mr Dug-out and His Lady

Helen McCarthy: Woman’s Kingdom, 19 November 2020

Endell Street: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran World War One’s Most Remarkable Military Hospital 
by Wendy Moore.
Atlantic, 376 pp., £17.99, April, 978 1 78649 584 6
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... surgeon Elsie Inglis had a similar experience with her Scottish Women’s Hospitals: ‘My good lady,’ the official told her, ‘go home and sit still.’) Their next stop was the French Embassy: France’s urgent need for medics outweighed any objections to lady doctors, and, as a result, Anderson and Murray found ...

Why did Lady Mary care about William Cragh?

Maurice Keen: A medieval miracle, 5 August 2004

The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory and Colonialism in the Middle Ages 
by Robert Bartlett.
Princeton, 168 pp., £16.95, April 2004, 0 691 11719 5
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... Both were promptly strung up again from what were left of the gallows. Before the execution, Lady Mary de Briouze, Lord William’s wife, had pleaded for the men’s lives; now, after they had been hanged a second time, she begged her husband to grant her at least what was left of Cragh, and he finally acceded. John de Baggeham, his steward, cut down the ...

Lady Thatcher’s Bastards

Iain Sinclair, 27 February 1992

Class War: A Decade of Disorder 
edited by Ian Bone, Alan Pullen and Tim Scargill.
Verso, 113 pp., £7.95, November 1991, 0 86091 558 1
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... to ‘a decade of disorder’, were forced to compete with the more potent brand offered by Lady Thatcher and her acolytes. Punch-ups with council officials in London Fields, however satisfying, could hardly match government-sanctioned political assassinations in Gibraltar, or aerial ram-raids over Libya. They could never go far enough. They could only ...

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