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Simplicity

Marilyn Butler: What Jane Austen Read, 5 March 1998

Jane Austen: A Life 
by David Nokes.
Fourth Estate, 578 pp., £20, September 1997, 1 85702 419 2
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Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 341 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 670 86528 1
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... high point of his naval career when, off St Domingo on 6 February 1806, his ship Canopus gave a French three-decker ‘a tickling which knocked all his sticks away’. Where there’s insufficient material Nokes returns to standard literary history, through the moves between historical rigour and historical fiction sometimes jar. The historian in him ...

Look beyond the lips

Bee Wilson: Hedy Lamarr, 28 July 2011

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film 
by Ruth Barton.
Kentucky, 281 pp., £25.95, May 2011, 978 0 8131 2604 3
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... suggests, in comparison with ‘equally difficult figures such as Joan Crawford or Bette Davis or Marilyn Monroe’. The book starts with a break-in at the Hollywood Wax Museum in 1973. Thirteen statues were destroyed, including those of Jean Harlow, Vivien Leigh and Hedy Lamarr. Some of the figures were remade, but Hedy Lamarr was ‘melted down and later ...

Benevolent Mr Godwin

E.P. Thompson, 8 July 1993

Political Justice 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, £150, November 1992, 1 85196 019 8
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The Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin 
edited by Mark Philp.
Pickering & Chatto, £395, March 1993, 1 85196 026 0
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Political Writings 
by Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 411 pp., £39.95, March 1993, 1 85196 019 8
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Memoirs of Wollstonecraft 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, 199 pp., £8.95, April 1993, 1 85477 125 6
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... and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin, having edited previously, with some help from Marilyn Butler, all of Godwin’s novels. Philp is undoubtedly the country’s leading Godwinian, having established his authority with his study of Political Justice. He has perhaps become over-committed to the role, although he has also edited an interesting ...

As Many Pairs of Shoes as She Likes

Jenny Turner: On Feminism, 15 December 2011

... bent double in her Crocs, still smoking with gusto; Germaine Greer, clucking at her peafowl; Marilyn French, shortly before her death at 79, tiny, anguished, very ill. The figure, though, who spoke most clearly for history was Susan Brownmiller, watering the houseplants in her New York apartment, toprocking at her street-dancing class in her ...

Self-Extinction

Russell Davies, 18 June 1981

Short Lives 
by Katinka Matson.
Picador, 366 pp., £2.50, February 1981, 9780330262194
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... Death becomes, unmistakably, an achievement, if only in the sense retained by that useful French word achevé, meaning both ‘brought to completion’ and, in a more brutal tone, ‘finished off’ or even frankly ‘killed’. Linguistically, the French are well-equipped to examine these morbid processes, and with ...

Richardson’s Rex

Richard Wollheim, 10 October 1991

A Life of Picasso: Vol. I 1881-1906 
by John Richardson and Marilyn McCulley.
Cape, 548 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 224 03024 8
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... work going on in his adopted country. The interest in the figure allowed him to admire a few great French artists of the preceding century – Ingres, Manet, Gauguin – even if it kept him from a full understanding of their work. But it is also this special conception of picture-making that sustained one amazing blind-spot in Picasso’s sensibility at this ...

At the V&A

Marina Warner: ‘Hollywood Costume’, 20 December 2012

... and the show makes its case for the importance of the look, with vignettes that run from The French Lieutenant’s Woman to The Devil Wore Prada to The Iron Lady. ‘You have to work doubly hard to make contemporary clothes disappear,’ another designer says, while Marit Allen, who worked on Brokeback Mountain, underlines the ‘subliminal ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Some Like It Hot’, 22 November 2018

... in a new print at the BFI, was based on a German film called Fanfares of Love, first made in French in 1935 and then remade in 1951. Wilder, in 1959, was thinking mainly of the original, which he said was ‘deliriously bad’. Coming from him this was a compliment rather than a complaint, and he certainly found in the old work the basic premise of the ...

Walking in high places

Michael Neve, 21 October 1982

The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies in the Historiography of 18th-Century Science 
edited by G.S. Rousseau and R.S. Porter.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £25, November 1980, 9780521225991
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Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin 
by Thomas McFarland.
Princeton, 432 pp., £24.60, February 1981, 0 691 06437 7
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Poetry realised in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early 19th-Century Science 
by Trevor Levere.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £22.50, October 1981, 0 521 23920 6
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Coleridge 
by Richard Holmes.
Oxford, 102 pp., £1.25, March 1982, 0 19 287591 4
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Young Charles Lamb 1775-1802 
by Winifred Courtney.
Macmillan, 411 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 333 31534 0
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... among other places – suggest affirmative answers. Two notable studies have appeared recently: Marilyn Butler’s Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries, reviewed in the LRB (Vol. 3, No 21) by Christopher Ricks; and Thomas McFarland’s marvellously over-the-top Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin, which also appeared in 1981. (One might commend, en ...

Sam, Sam, Mythological Man

David Jones, 2 May 1985

Motel Chronicles and Hawk Moon 
by Sam Shepard.
Faber, 188 pp., £3.95, February 1985, 0 571 13458 0
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Paris, Texas 
by Wim Wenders and Sam Shepard.
Ecco, 509 pp., £12.95, January 1985, 0 88001 077 0
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... Lange, whom he was then partnering in Country, had just broken. Arthur Miller’s marriage to Marilyn Monroe had caught the headlines in the past, but to get the girl and join the top league of male box-office stars at the same time was a new story. There was much dissection of Shepard’s life-style, the subtleties of his sexual attractiveness, his ...

Trauma Style

Joanna Kavenna: Joyce Carol Oates, 19 February 2004

The Tattooed Girl 
by Joyce Carol Oates.
Fourth Estate, 307 pp., £16.99, January 2004, 0 00 717077 7
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... could not bear to be by myself,’ the narrator of I’ll Take You There (2002) writes. Oates’s Marilyn Monroe, the heroine of Blonde (2000), was a study in confused frailty, a woman longing for love, entertaining intellectual ambitions no one took seriously, teetering on too-high heels, in too-tight dresses, slowly stripped bare for the reader. Her ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... popular celebrities according to highbrow, middlebrow and lowbrow tastes. Raymond Chandler and Marilyn Monroe were, as Chandler put it. ‘the only ones that made all three brows’. Chandler shattered cultural barriers with Philip Marlowe, private investigator, immortalised on the screen by Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep, mortalised by Dick Powell and ...

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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... such a question exists. Sara Maitland takes two women’s deaths as the parameters of her study: Marilyn Monroe’s (from barbiturates) in 1962, and Janis Joplin’s (from heroin) in 1970. She sees the differences between these women and their lives (before their rather similar deaths) as epitomising what she calls the ‘transforming times’ of the ...

Feast of Darks

Christine Stansell: Whistler, 23 October 2003

Whistler, Women and Fashion 
by Margaret MacDonald and Susan Grace Galassi et al.
Yale, 243 pp., £35, May 2003, 0 300 09906 1
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Whistler and His Mother: An Unexpected Relationship 
by Sarah Walden.
Gibson Square, 242 pp., £15.99, July 2003, 1 903933 28 5
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... Whistler’s nerve, intellect and gravity; he fluttered about among the latest fashions. When the French painters fell in love with Japanese prints, Whistler fell in love with them too, and slapped Japanese motifs all over his paintings, as Sickert observed: ‘Japanese fans were arranged on English shelves, and English ladies . . . were popped into kimonos ...

Diary

Paul Henley: The EU, 14 January 2002

... same distance roughly as that between London and Edinburgh. Every MEP is issued with a standard French tin trunk in which he or she can pack his papers. But not everything can be transported, so all the larger pieces of equipment, computers, faxes, telephones, desks and so on, have to be supplied in duplicate. When the Parliament is in ...

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