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Lucky Brrm

John Sutherland, 12 March 1992

Brrm! Brrm! 
by Clive James.
Cape, 160 pp., £12.99, November 1991, 0 224 03226 7
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Saint Maybe 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 337 pp., £14.99, October 1991, 0 7011 3787 8
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by Emma Tennant.
Faber, 140 pp., £12.99, March 1992, 9780571142637
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... the earlier pages – popping his biceps and washing under his armpits in a vain attempt to lure Germaine Greer into bed – is suddenly transformed into an artist gravely contemplating his oeuvre, cherry blossom and death. Inside the fat Australian, we discover, there is a slim beautiful Japanese poet struggling to get out: Now [i.e. 1990] I can hear ...

Separate Development

Patricia Craig, 10 December 1987

The Female Form 
by Rosalind Miles.
Routledge, 227 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 7102 1008 6
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Feminism and Poetry 
by Jan Montefiore.
Pandora, 210 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 86358 162 5
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Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 
by Janice Doane and Devon Hodges.
Methuen, 169 pp., £20, June 1987, 9780416015317
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Reading Woman 
by Mary Jacobus.
Methuen, 316 pp., £8.95, November 1987, 0 416 92460 3
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The New Feminist Criticism 
edited by Elaine Showalter.
Virago, 403 pp., £11.95, March 1986, 0 86068 722 8
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Reviewing the Reviews 
Journeyman, 104 pp., £4.50, June 1987, 1 85172 007 3Show More
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... which shows to the fullest extent the part played by wit in the business of effective reappraisal. Germaine Greer, too, in her first book, had enormous fun with the niceties prescribed for girls and purveyed in the pages of romantic fiction. These, and other timely studies like Eva Figes’s Patriarchal Attitudes, set out to demonstrate the insecure basis ...

Viva Biba

Janet Watts, 8 December 1988

Very Heaven: Looking back at the 1960s 
edited by Sara Maitland.
Virago, 227 pp., £4.95, October 1988, 0 86068 958 1
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... or lack of effects – of their efforts. What they do remember, and remind the reader of, is that Germaine Greer went to dinner without her knickers on, and that Marianne Faithful and the Rolling Stones did something ‘supposedly depraved’ with a Mars Bar. It may be that the major quest of many women in the Sixties, like this book’s ...


Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... We are given the necessary information about the likes of Hockney, Ted Hughes, John Berger, Germaine Greer and Noam Chomsky. Structuralism and Post-Structuralism (‘a logical enough outcome’) are briskly explained, Barthes, Lacan and Derrida rush by, Foucault and Althüsser get a rather breathless mention as part of the ‘post-modern ...

Russian Women

Penelope Fitzgerald, 1 June 1989

On the Golden Porch 
by Tatyana Tolstaya, translated by Antonia Bouis.
Virago, 199 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85381 078 9
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Balancing Acts: Contemporary Stories by Russian Women 
edited by Helena Goscilo.
Indiana, 337 pp., $39.95, April 1989, 0 253 31134 9
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... often sounds unconvincing. The slang seems neither Russian, nor English, nor American: as Germaine Greer said of the Australian accents in Neighbours, ‘they seem to be cut from the same ...

Got to keep moving

Jeremy Harding, 24 May 1990

Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop 
by Charles Shaar Murray.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.99, November 1989, 0 571 14936 7
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by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe.
Macmillan, 400 pp., £13.95, February 1990, 0 333 53195 7
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... instrument with his teeth. The kids loved it and they called for more and more explicit scenes; as Germaine Greer wrote in 1970, ‘they wanted him to give head to the guitar and rub it over his cock. They didn’t want to hear him play.’ Like Jagger, Hendrix appealed to a public which could never quite generate a credible symbol in its quest for sexual ...

No Concubine

Mary Beard, 28 June 1990

The Oxford Book of Marriage 
edited by Helge Rubinstein.
Oxford, 383 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 19 214150 3
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The Oriental, the Ancient and the Primitive: Systems of Marriage and the Family in the Pre-Industrial Societies of Eurasia 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 542 pp., £37.50, February 1990, 0 521 36574 0
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... hardly acknowledges this material. She includes an (uncharacteristically opaque) one-liner from Germaine Greer, and a paragraph or two from Betty Friedan and Shulamith Firestone. And there is a nicely observed commentary on the domestic politics of child-rearing by Nora Ephron (‘Now it takes two parents to take the child to the doctor – one to do ...

Even Purer than Before

Rosemary Hill: Angelica Kauffman, 15 December 2005

Miss Angel: The Art and World of Angelica Kauffman 
by Angelica Goodden.
Pimlico, 389 pp., £17.99, September 2005, 1 84413 758 9
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... and to prettiness has also made her a problematic figure for feminist art historians, although Germaine Greer made a spirited case for her in The Obstacle Race. Angelica Goodden’s biographical account makes little attempt to elaborate critically on what has been said already about the art, or to suggest that it has any greater depth than has ...

On the Blower

Peter Clarke: The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt, 18 February 1999

The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume I 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 748 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 333 74166 8
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... and without warning, a woman who looked like a bedraggled, tired prostitute’ – Germaine Greer, as it turns out. Within six months, Wyatt had shown some of the entries to a publisher, ‘to know whether he thought it was worth going on writing it’. The latter’s favourable response – ‘marvellous’, ‘outrageous’ – reassured ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Orders of Service, 18 April 2019

... of documentaries and features at Thames Television. ‘There are success stories about women,’ Germaine Greer wrote in The Female Eunuch, ‘and it is time … to tell them,’ before going on to mention Catherine in a list that also includes her old boss at the BBC, Grace Wyndham Goldie. I heated up some tomato and lovage soup and asked Catherine to ...


Cynthia Lawford: On Letitia Elizabeth Landon, 21 September 2000

... poetry. ‘No female poet before L.E.L. had ever written of women’s passion as she did,’ Germaine Greer wrote in Slipshod Sibyls (1995). ‘It was not like the love plaints of men, but the fierce, impotent, inward-turning tumult of a woman’s heart, the agony of a creature unable to speak or act, forced to wreak her vengeance upon herself, to ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... meanwhile, took off like a cartoon aeroplane, with a celebrity figurehead at every window: Germaine Greer in her peekaboo Female Eunuch T-shirt, the visionary Andrea Dworkin with her prophetic hair, Naomi Wolf in a vagina-pasta necklace.Sweet Freedom did not ignore the ‘strange stirring’ Betty Friedan had noticed in the American suburbs of the ...

As Many Pairs of Shoes as She Likes

Jenny Turner: On Feminism, 15 December 2011

... calmly browbeating a smarmy male editor during the Ladies’ Home Journal sit-in of 1970. And Germaine Greer, of course, a feather-cut hipster dryad: ‘It’s a cinch to have an orgasm. I can give an orgasm to my cat!’ And ever since, this book-as-bomb model has come to stand for the progress of feminism in general: Naomi Wolf (The Beauty ...

News of the World’s End

Peter Jenkins, 15 May 1980

The Seventies 
by Christopher Booker.
Allen Lane, 349 pp., £7.50, February 1980, 0 7139 1329 0
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The Seventies 
by Norman Shrapnel.
Constable, 267 pp., £7.50, March 1980, 0 09 463280 4
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... notice some strange inclusions: for example, essays on David Frost, Kenneth Clark, Tom Wolfe and Germaine Greer – Sixties figures to a man. Booker’s earlier book, The Neophiliacs, he tells us, was ‘a detailed, analytical account of the astonishing changes which had come over Britain in the Fifties and Sixties’. This time he has bigger fish to ...

Women against Men

Anita Brookner, 2 September 1982

The Golden Notebook 
by Doris Lessing.
Joseph, 638 pp., £9.95, July 1982, 0 7181 0970 8
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... archetype which has as much to do with Freud and Breuer as with the brave new woman fashioned by Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan: yet the liberated woman of today must still contend with it, and measure her success in terms of her ability to do so. The Golden Notebook was written at a time when women were beginning to have ambitions for ...

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