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Sonata for Second Fiddle

Penelope Fitzgerald, 7 October 1982

A Half of Two Lives: A Personal Memoir 
by Alison Waley.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £10.95, September 1982, 0 297 78156 1
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... into the role for which Arthur’s friends had cast him. The part of serious Jews (Waley himself, Leonard Woolf, Mark Gertler) was to be in attendance on disaster, and to pick up the brilliant pieces. All that Alison could do, after she had separated from her husband, was to bring up her child and wait and hope for the ...

Doctors’ Orders

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 18 February 1982

‘All that summer she was mad’: Virginia Woolf and Her Doctors 
by Stephen Trombley.
Junction, 338 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 9780862450397
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... from social and moral ones, that ‘the manner in which Virginia’s madness is discussed by Leonard Woolf, Quentin Bell or the editors of the Letters and Diary shows that their use of the term is at best uncritical, and at worst irresponsible,’ Trombley sets out to show that there is no ‘concrete evidence’ that Virginia Woolf was mad. Or, to quote ...

Mrs Webb and Mrs Woolf

Michael Holroyd, 7 November 1985

... to be a fine example of that disability. What, for example, could have seemed more wide of the mark than her prediction of 1925 that the Liberal Party would only re-emerge as a force in the country once it had formed an entirely new party by allying itself to disaffected Labour supporters, creating a rift among Socialists and bringing in Conservatives. The ...

Depicting Europe

Perry Anderson, 20 September 2007

... the seers of New Labour. Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century declaims the title of a manifesto by Mark Leonard, the party’s foreign policy wunderkind.2 ‘Imagine a world of peace, prosperity and democracy,’ he enjoins the reader. ‘What I am asking you to imagine is the “New European Century”.’ How will this entrancing prospect come ...

Short Cuts

Rory Scothorne: Class before Nation, 14 December 2017

... themselves into a Scottish Parliament which has struggled to live up to expectations. Richard Leonard, elected as the new leader of Scottish Labour last month, ran on a platform condemning the ‘managerialism’ that has characterised both Labour and the SNP’s approach to devolved government since 1999, pledging to ‘stretch every sinew’ of an ...

Ah, la vie!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Lytton Strachey’s letters, 1 December 2005

The Letters of Lytton Strachey 
edited by Paul Levy.
Viking, 698 pp., £30, March 2005, 0 670 89112 6
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... two things I find amuse me (and perhaps everyone) – wit and the flesh,’ Strachey wrote to Leonard Woolf from Cambridge in 1904. This is partly bravado, of course, but the exercise of his own wit on the vicissitudes of the flesh was clearly one of Strachey’s favourite forms of love-making. From the age of 22 until little more than a year before his ...

Sinomania

Perry Anderson, 28 January 2010

When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World 
by Martin Jacques.
Allen Lane, 550 pp., £30, June 2009, 978 0 7139 9254 0
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Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State 
by Yasheng Huang.
Cambridge, 348 pp., £15.99, November 2008, 978 0 521 89810 2
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Against the Law: Labour Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt 
by Ching Kwan Lee.
California, 325 pp., £15.95, June 2007, 978 0 520 25097 0
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... Jacques’s version is only a little less absurd than Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century by Mark Leonard, a fellow seer of the Demos think tank Jacques helped to found. But there is another side to When China Rules the World at odds with its generally upbeat story. Internationally, China has ‘embraced multilateralism’, attracts its ...

Presentable

Emma Tennant, 20 August 1981

Lenare: The Art of Society Photography 1924-1977 
by Nicholas de Ville and Anthony Haden-Guest.
Allen Lane, 136 pp., £15, May 1981, 0 7139 1418 1
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... Lenare was founded in 1924 by Leonard Green, whose portrait baptises this collection of society photographs. Facing him is an Unknown Woman, captured at the War’s end in an inverted pigeon’s nest and furs: she was presumably the first and certainly the last unknown woman to confront his lens. Lenare wanted fame and wealth to pose for him, and they did ...
... on her in 1946 by the black dogs of the title. In The Innocent, set in Berlin in the mid-1950s, Leonard Marnham, a telephone communications specialist, is having an affair with Maria Eckdorf, a German. But they murder Maria’s ex-husband and dismember his body and find that their relationship can’t survive that traumatic experience. The central ...

Cardigan Arrest

Robert Potts: Poetry in Punglish, 21 June 2007

Look We Have Coming to Dover! 
by Daljit Nagra.
Faber, 55 pp., £8.99, February 2007, 978 0 571 23122 5
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... writers: Douglas Dunn, Tony Harrison, Linton Kwesi Johnson, John Agard, Grace Nichols and Tom Leonard, to name a few. For some, ‘literary art’ is a territory to be attained (Harrison’s ‘we’ll occupy/ your lousy leasehold, poetry’), in others a rule-book to be torn up (Agard’s ‘mugging de Queen’s English’), in others again a privilege ...

Forster in Cambridge

Richard Shone, 30 July 2020

... months I had spent working at Chatto & Windus before I came up to Cambridge, and that I had seen Leonard Woolf there from time to time on Hogarth Press business. Forster venerated Woolf (‘What a life he has led,’ he once wrote. ‘And how well he has led it’). Woolf had been a great help when he had stalled in writing A Passage to India and wanted ...

Superchild

John Bayley, 6 September 1984

The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... enough. Always hurry. I am now going in, to see L. and say stay this moment. Her going in to see Leonard, and murmur to him her version of the line from Faust, moves us more than the idea itself. Ever since the Romantics the notion of being a passive recorder, a chameleon, a Proteus of the fire and flood, a vessel of negative capability, had not ceased to ...

What about the aeroplanes?

Gillian Beer, 23 April 1987

The Essays of Virginia Woolf: Vol. 1 1904-1912 
edited by Andrew McNeillie.
Hogarth, 411 pp., £20, November 1986, 0 7012 0666 7
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The Interrupted Moment: A View of Virginia Woolf’s Novels 
by Lucio Ruotolo.
Stanford, 262 pp., $29.50, November 1986, 0 8047 1342 1
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Virginia Woolf and the Real World 
by Alex Zwerdling.
California, 370 pp., £24.95, October 1986, 0 520 05684 1
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... the thoughts of Woolf’s characters, rhyme affords a comforting narcissism and seems often to mark the threshold of the unconscious as it emerges into language. Ruotolo, despite the sensitivity of his reading, avoids all such dangerous junctures. What is ‘the real world’? Can it include everything? Can it, in particular, include the remote past or the ...

The Garden, the Park and the Meadow

David Runciman: After the Nation State, 6 June 2002

The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History 
by Philip Bobbitt.
Allen Lane, 960 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7139 9616 1
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Reordering the World: The Long-Term Implications of 11 September 
edited by Mark Leonard.
Foreign Policy Centre, 124 pp., £9.95, March 2002, 1 903558 10 7
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... of the Spanish Empire it is a story of Central and Northern Europe – and the peace treaties that mark its history tell the tale of its concentrated locale: Augsburg (1555), Westphalia (1648), Utrecht (1713), Vienna (1815), Versailles (1919). These constitutional shifts brought in their wake spectacular upheavals in politics: the revolutions, liberations and ...

The Wrong Stuff

Christopher Hitchens, 1 April 1983

The Purple Decades 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 396 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 224 02944 4
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... its glass of fashion and its mould of form – was attained by Wolfe himself when he attended Leonard Bernstein’s never-to-be-forgotten cocktail party for the Black Panthers. ‘Radical Chic’ has passed so far into the Anglo-American argot that it may be futile, 13 years later, to attempt to expose it. For one thing, it was so nearly right. Everybody ...

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