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I, too, am an artist

Linda Nochlin: Dora Maar, 4 January 2001

Dora Maar with and without Picasso: A Biography 
by Mary Ann Caws.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.95, October 2000, 0 500 51009 1
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... of a cloud-torn vista, while Legs I and II, rear views of a bending woman, are as ‘anatomically frank and strikingly erotic’ as anything the male Surrealists ever produced. In another photomontage, Forbidden Games of 1935, a preposterous satire on bourgeois respectability, a mixed-gender monster sits astride a patient male partner, as a little boy looks ...

Quite Nice

Diana Souhami: Fernande Olivier, 13 December 2001

Loving Picasso: The Private Journal of Fernande Olivier 
edited by Marilyn McCully, translated by Christine Baker.
Abrams, 296 pp., £24, May 2001, 0 8109 4251 8
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... Fernande Olivier, like Frank Wedekind’s Lulu, sexualised all her relationships with men and served their desires while lamenting that her own were unfulfilled. She lived through her lovers in order perhaps to gain a passing sense of who she was. As each of her affairs in turn went wrong, she moved to a different man ...

Glooms

E.S. Turner, 23 February 1995

Edward Lear: A Biography 
by Peter Levi.
Macmillan, 362 pp., £20, January 1995, 0 333 58804 5
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... in his bibliography does not bother to mention studies by Peter Quennell, John Lehmann, Joanna Richardson and Susan Chitty, among others. He does, however, pay his warm respects to Vivien Noakes’s definitive Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer (1968, reissued 1985). Noakes has reviewed Levi’s book – ‘a joyous interpretation’ – in the Daily ...

Everybody

Craig Raine, 3 February 1983

Confessions of an Actor 
by Laurence Olivier.
Weidenfeld, 305 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 297 78106 5
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... Tyrone Guthrie incident in 1945-6. Olivier was playing Sergius in Arms and the Man, while Ralph Richardson played Bluntschli, the larger part, and gained better notices. Olivier was feeling frankly miffed. Guthrie asked him if he didn’t love Sergius? ‘Love that stooge? That inconsiderable ... ’ Olivier returned, incredulously. Guthrie then said ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... any scandal, allowing the writer to puff and genuflect and conceal his way to glory. Take Frank Kermode’s Not Entitled, a memoir typical of a generation of men who thought things were best said by not being said at all. Plante, however, is a throwback to the days of Barbara Skelton and the Comtesse de Boigne. In the years covered by his diary, he ...

Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode, 17 April 1986

Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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Hemingway: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... pretty well the same point, when Hemingway is about to take off for Europe with his bride Hadley Richardson. He is 22 and she close to thirty. He has done a good deal of journalism and written some stories, none published. I suppose one justifies the writing of quite long books about a writer before he truly became a writer by arguing that nothing about so ...

Eliot and the Shudder

Frank Kermode: The Shudder, 13 May 2010

... physical response. In a recent essay on Francis Bacon in the New York Review of Books, John Richardson recalls that Bacon aimed his images of his friend George Dyer ‘at the nervous system’, and adds that a ‘woman admirer’ told him they did indeed induce ‘a visceral shudder’. That the shudder should be described as a violent physical response ...

It is still mañana

Matthew Bevis: Robert Frost’s Letters, 19 February 2015

The Letters of Robert Frost, Vol. 1: 1886-1920 
edited by Donald Sheehy, Mark Richardson and Robert Faggen.
Harvard, 811 pp., £33.95, March 2014, 978 0 674 05760 9
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... friend. Before returning to America in 1915, he wrote home with some news: ‘To be perfectly frank with you I am one of the most notable craftsmen of my time. That will transpire presently.’ In their sharp-witted introduction, the editors of the Letters excuse this by claiming that ‘bragging isn’t really “bragging” when it’s so manifestly a ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... the Welfare State. ‘When Democracy builds’ was the title of an ardent and prophetic lecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ned’s near-contemporary. But, for Lutyens, democratic government could ‘only work through compromise, leaving its conscience in the hands of accountants’. Hospitals, schools, factories, cinemas and underground railway stations had no ...

Father Bosco to Africa

Walter Nash, 5 February 1987

The Red Men 
by Patrick McGinley.
Cape, 304 pp., £10.95, January 1987, 0 224 02386 1
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Chat Show 
by Terence de Vere White.
Gollancz, 207 pp., £9.95, January 1987, 0 575 03910 8
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Leaden Wings 
by Zhang Jie, translated by Gladys Yang.
Virgo, 180 pp., £9.95, January 1987, 0 86068 759 7
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Russian Novel 
by Edward Kuznetsov, translated by Jennifer Bradshaw.
Quartet, 285 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 7043 2522 5
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Richard Robertovich 
by Mark Frankland.
Murray, 216 pp., £9.95, January 1987, 0 7195 4330 4
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... should be writing a thesis on the idea of seduction as extended metaphor in the works of Samuel Richardson), and his evocations of landscape and seascape are successful, not simply as description, but as definitions of a mythic environment. There is much to praise, and yet there remains one fairly considerable reservation: the book belies the promise of its ...

McTeague’s Tooth

David Trotter: Good Fetishism, 20 November 2003

A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature 
by Bill Brown.
Chicago, 245 pp., £22.50, April 2003, 0 226 07628 8
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... made new work for description. Austen’s filthy cups and saucers, like Defoe’s shoes and Richardson’s rusty tacks, are objects laid low by accident or neglect. A commodity is an object raised in and through its preparedness for exchange – its abstraction from the sensuous human activity of which it is the product – to the status of an ...

Half-Wrecked

Mary Beard: What’s left of John Soane, 17 February 2000

John Soane: An Accidental Romantic 
by Gillian Darley.
Yale, 358 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 300 08165 0
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John Soane, Architect: Master of Space and Light 
by Margaret Richardson and Mary-Anne Stevens.
Royal Academy, 302 pp., £45, September 1999, 0 300 08195 2
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Sir John Soane and the Country Estate 
by Ptolemy Dean.
Ashgate, 204 pp., £37.50, October 1999, 1 84014 293 6
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... and instantly recognisable, figure of ‘Homer Simpsoane’, who (obviously having read Darley’s frank biography) has no trouble at all in identifying this obsessive and sadistic father as ‘the first Dysfunctionalist’. The 20th-century enthusiasm for Soane’s work might seem to be just another strand in the traditional tale of architectural revaluation ...

Diary

Ian Thomson: Assault on the Via Salaria, 14 April 2011

... all the while the blood is building up,’ Milza said. In March 2009, the actress Natasha Richardson died of a seemingly mild head injury after a fall in Canada while skiing. Although she appeared unhurt at first, she developed a haematoma; there was a delay and she was dead on arrival at the hospital. ‘If the bone in your skull was broken at the ...

How does one talk to these people?

Andrew O’Hagan: David Storey in the Dark, 1 July 2021

A Stinging Delight: A Memoir 
by David Storey.
Faber, 407 pp., £20, June, 978 0 571 36031 4
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... always a war with real life. Storey describes a rehearsal with John Gielgud (as Harry) and Ralph Richardson (as Jack) of Home, his play about England and everyday madness. The actors are navigating their way around two chairs and a table. Storey starts by showing the two actors before segueing into what’s happening offstage. Reading the memoir it’s ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman, 14 December 2017

A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... 1992, when Neil Kinnock was party leader, the only female member of the shadow cabinet was Jo Richardson – as minister for women, inevitably. In 1990 the rules were changed: MPs now had to vote for at least three women in shadow cabinet elections. Harman says male MPs called this the Assisted Places Scheme and tried to sabotage it by spreading their ...

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