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Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... food,’ exhorts the cover of The Official Foodie Handbook. One of the ironies resulting from the North/South dichotomy of our planet is the appearance of this odd little book, a vade mecum to a widespread and unashamed cult of conspicuous gluttony in the advanced industrialised countries, at just the time when Ethiopia is struck by a widely publicised ...

One of the Cracked

Dinah Birch: Barbara Bodichon, 1 October 1998

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon: Feminist, Artist and Rebel 
by Pam Hirsch.
Chatto, 390 pp., £20, July 1998, 0 7011 6797 1
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... clarity, came to know that their liberty was uneasily related to injustice and suffering. As ever, Elizabeth Gaskell was quick to see the point: ‘She is – I think in consequence of her birth, a strong fighter against the established opinions of the world, – which always goes against my – what shall I call it? – taste (that is not the word), but I ...

Secret-Keeping

Rosemarie Bodenheimer: Elizabeth Gaskell, 16 August 2007

The Works of Elizabeth Gaskell 
edited by Joanne Shattock et al.
Pickering & Chatto, 4716 pp., £900, May 2006, 9781851967773
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... The new Pickering and Chatto edition of the complete works of Elizabeth Gaskell arrived just in time to mark a century since the publication of the previous standard text, A.W. Ward’s Knutsford Edition of 1906. In the meantime, Gaskell has been transformed from a charming woman who wrote wry nostalgic sketches to a major figure in Victorian studies ...

The Real Price of Everything

Hilary Mantel: The Many Lives of Elizabeth Marsh, 21 June 2007

The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History 
by Linda Colley.
HarperPress, 363 pp., £25, June 2007, 978 0 00 719218 2
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... systems, sending a tremor through individual lives, wrecking certainties, reorganising identities. Elizabeth Marsh was one of those shaken by the times she lived through, her personal ‘ordeal’ intimately connected with global forces beyond the grasp of any individual then living. Conceived in Port Royal, born in Portsmouth, she ‘travelled further and ...

I was Mary Queen of Scots

Colm Tóibín: Biographical empathy, 21 October 2004

My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots 
by John Guy.
Harper Perennial, 574 pp., £8.99, August 2004, 1 84115 753 8
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Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens 
by Jane Dunn.
Harper Perennial, 592 pp., £8.99, March 2004, 9780006531920
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... no difficulty imagining that I was imprisoned with my ladies-in-waiting in a damp castle in the North of England, depressed and stripped of all my power, with only memories to treasure. Unlike Nancy Mitford, however, I was too sad and too regal to masturbate. Since her death in 1587, Mary Stuart has caused strange stirrings and vehement imaginings in those ...

Write to me

Danny Karlin, 11 January 1990

The Brownings’ Correspondence. Vol. VII: March-October 1843 
edited by Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson.
Athlone, 429 pp., £60, December 1989, 0 485 30027 3
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... tasks of scholarship before which most of us simply blench. Add to Browning’s letters those of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who lived 22 years less but corresponded twice as much in a hand half as legible; add to that all the letters to both the Brownings which can be found: and the task grows mountainous, vertiginous, seemingly impossible. Philip Kelley ...

Something about Mary

Diarmaid MacCulloch: The First Queen of England, 18 October 2007

Mary Tudor: The Tragical History of the First Queen of England 
by David Loades.
National Archives, 240 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 1 903365 98 8
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... done to her mother and her mother’s world which Henry’s first annulment crisis represented. Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, was equal to Katherine in stubbornness and her definite superior in intelligence: the only one of Henry’s six wives whose marriage to the king was regularly called her ‘reign’ by contemporaries. That she had a mind of her ...

Hands Full of Rose Thorns and Fridge Oil

Elizabeth Lowry: ‘Triomf’, 20 January 2000

Triomf 
by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Leon de Kock.
Little, Brown, 444 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 0 316 85202 3
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... in two wars, other divisions arose: between ‘Trekkers and accommodationists. The Cape and the north. Potgieter and Pretorius. The Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Hendsoppers and bittereinders. De Wet and Botha. Hertzog and Smuts.’ To this list one should add rich and poor. Between the 1860s and 1880s a disastrous series of agricultural slumps ...

The Fishman lives the lore

Elizabeth Lowry: Carpentaria, 24 April 2008

Carpentaria 
by Alexis Wright.
Constable, 439 pp., £16.99, March 2008, 978 1 84529 721 3
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... Clarence Walden, the former mayor of the Aboriginal settlement of Doomadgee in north-west Queensland, and the Aboriginal land-rights activist Murrandoo Yanner. In 2006, Walden unsuccessfully opposed ministerial proposals to reform the permit system that restricts public access to Aboriginal lands. Yanner waged an energetic but ultimately ...

The man who would put to sea on a bathmat

Elizabeth Lowry: Anne Carson, 5 October 2000

Economy of the Unlost (Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul Celan) 
by Anne Carson.
Princeton, 147 pp., £18.95, July 1999, 0 691 03677 2
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Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse 
by Anne Carson.
Cape, 149 pp., £10, July 1999, 0 224 05973 4
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... world which is both instantly recognisable and fantastical: School was a long brick building on a north- south axis. South: Main Door through which all boys and girls must enter. North: Kindergarten, its large round windows gazing onto the backwoods and surrounded by a hedge of highbush cranberry. Between Main Door and ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... professional level. As a young man he danced four nights running at Holyrood Palace with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, something he says he had ‘entirely forgotten’ until he found in his papers a ‘Dear Ludo’ letter from Princess Elizabeth thanking him for his wedding present. (Old men forget, but this is ...

Elzābet of Anletār

John Gallagher, 22 September 2016

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World 
by Jerry Brotton.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 241 00402 9
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... domain of Anletār’. It began a correspondence between Sultan Murad III and the most renowned Elizabeth, most sacred queen, and noble prince of the most mighty worshippers of Jesus, most wise governor of the causes and affairs of the people and family of Nazareth, cloud of most pleasant rain, and sweetest fountain of nobleness and virtue, lady and heir of ...

My Americas

Donald Davie, 3 September 1981

... We have all been told about the demographic shift in the United States from the North-East to the Sun Belt of the South-West; and the commentators on politics have been eager to explain that among the consequences of this shift is the Reagan Presidency. But our perception of US life and letters has not yet been affected; our listening posts on this side of the Atlantic seldom pick up the weak signals from Tucson or Albuquerque, on a wave-band still blanketed by the vociferous transmitters of New York ...

The Queen and I

William Empson and John Haffenden, 26 November 1987

... a ‘general idea’ – to celebrate the Queen’s visit by reviving the masques with which Elizabeth I was greeted at Cambridge in 1564 and at Oxford in 1566 and 1592. Would Empson assist in the creation of a new masque by ‘writing such parts of it as would be spoken or sung’? The vocal part should be in English and not Latin, Whittaker ...

Young Man’s Nostalgia

Diarmaid MacCulloch: William Byrd, 31 July 2014

Byrd 
by Kerry McCarthy.
Oxford, 282 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 0 19 538875 6
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... at one of the most important peace conferences of the Tudor age, which took place a year after Elizabeth I’s death at Somerset House in London. They had succeeded in ending three decades of cold and hot war between Reformed Protestant powers and the Spanish Habsburgs, confirming in the process the independence of the Protestant Northern Netherlands, and ...

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