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Lucy Hughes-Hallett, 19 December 1991

The Emperor’s Last Island: A Journey to St Helena 
by Julia Blackburn.
Secker, 244 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 436 20030 9
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... Each chapter of Julia Blackburn’s peculiar and haunting book has its epigraph. The largest number of quotations are from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass; the second most frequent source is King Lear. Absurdity and tragedy alternate and overlap in this tale of pomp in reduced circumstances. As Lear discovered, a king’s no better than a fool when the winds are blowing ...

Give her a snake

Mary Beard, 22 March 1990

Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions 
by Lucy Hughes-Hallett.
Bloomsbury, 338 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 7475 0093 2
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... the evening, we are told, she enjoyed the joke of posing in front of her ‘original’. But, as Lucy Hughes-Hallett explains, this was more than a fleeting game of fancy dress. Cooper was apparently so taken with Cecil Beaton’s photograph of herself in the guise of Cleopatra that she decided to use it in her passport. Yet it was not quite as ...

Everything is ardour

Charles Nicholl: Omnificent D’Annunzio, 26 September 2013

The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio – Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War 
by Lucy Hughes-Hallett.
Fourth Estate, 694 pp., £12.99, September 2013, 978 0 00 721396 2
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... This hyperactive but exquisitely fastidious whirlwind of a man is brilliantly caught in Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s new biography. It is a long book, elegantly written, full of colour and vitality and detail – a tour de force, like the life it recounts – but also cleverly controlled. Unlike her subject she does irony very well, and is capable ...

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