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Showing results for tags 'Judith Mackrell'.
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This book is a group biography of six unusual women, who all made waves in their own way, who to lesser or greater degrees pushed the boundaries of society, who were all celebrities and were the subject of endless press attention - and who've all been largely forgotton today. In a way the title does the book a disservice for it suggests that it's going to be full of the sort of sensationalist stories that fill the gutter press, and though several did lead distinctly rackety lives, even by the standards of those living nearly a hundred years later, what really stands out is the sheer strength of will that motivated all of them, even Diana Cooper, who as the daughter of a Duke and a potential bride for the Prince of Wales could have been expected to be content just to marry well and keep up the status quo, seized a freedom and independance that was simply not usual for women of her class. It's entertainingly written with a nice light touch and is a wonderful insight into a gilded decade where it really did seem for a while that everything was changing. Like the sixties. And like the sixties, things were never quite the same afterwards. A fascinating - and sometimes hair-raising - read about women who might not have have made much permanent difference in the end but are always interesting.
This is the story of Lydia Lopokova, who was a famed Russian ballerina and wife of John Maynard Keynes, the economist. I found it fascinating - I read other things in between but kept going back to it. The story has a number of distinct phases, which are all equally fascinating - her early life as a "stage school kid" in Tsarist Russia, her international career, the courtship with Keynes, her married life and old age. For me, the most interesting stuff was her early adult life on the fringes of the Bloomsbury set, never quite being accepted by the Virginia Wollfs of the world because she was too unconventional, although they set themselves up as dismissing convention! The relationship was Keynes was fascinating, too - she "converted" him from homosexuality, and they had a lovely, tender relationship. It was a great window on the 20th century from the perspective of a unique character.