Clasping Cupid

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

FOR A WOMAN who made her name back in 1970 by calling for the liberation of women from their domestic shackles, The Boy seems the perfect closure point. Germaine Greer turns out to have lost none of the zest she had as a wild-haired young woman, one who, as she remembers here, had the interesting […]

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Of Rears And Vices

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Nineteenth-century Britain, claims Graham Robb, was more at ease with homosexuality than we like to believe. What better example than a quote from Jane Austen? In Mansfield Park (1814), Mary Crawford says, ‘my home at my uncle’s brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of Rears, and Vices, I saw enough. Now, do not […]

Septuagenarian Sex

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

As this is a book about a book, in order to get through this one, you need to have waded through the first one: Jane Juska’s A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance. In this, the author recounted what happened after she’d placed an advertisement in the New York Review of Books […]

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What Does Woman Want?

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

‘Was will das Weib?’ asked Sigmund Freud, genuinely perplexed. This collection of women’s love poetry and letters gives a clear answer to ‘What does woman want?’ For more than a millennium, ‘she’, if the singular is permissible, wanted only one thing: a passionate lover who would remain faithful. The woeful gulf between the genders of […]

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The Boy Who Never Grew Up

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Britten’s Children brings to mind the case of Michael Jackson, who, in June last year, was acquitted of molesting two small boys. The pop star protested his innocence by claiming, through his lawyers, that he loved and understood children far better than he could ever love or understand grown-ups. This he attributed to the cruel […]

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Love’s Labours Won

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

In 1945, Seretse Khama, the heir to a chieftainship in Bechuanaland (now Botswana), came to Britain to study at Balliol. Whilst in England he fell in love and married Ruth Williams, a white woman. A gigantic, almost global weight of disapproval and hatred fell upon the young couple. They were exiled in Britain for six […]

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The Goat and the Pussycat

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

John Campbell’s first book, published nearly thirty years ago, was a study of Lloyd George, entitled The Goat in the Wilderness. Now, having written important biographies of Margaret Thatcher and Edward Heath, Campbell has returned to Lloyd George. Once seen as a political giant, his stock has fallen since Campbell first wrote, and Churchill now […]

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