Giles Gordon writes:
Atheist, vegetarian, socialist; novelist and short-story writer; humanist; biographer; playwright (The Burglar had a brief West End run in 1967); Freudian promoter of animal rights; children’s author (the adventures of Pussy Owl, only progeny of Edward Lear’s pair); tennis fanatic (not least Navratilova) and, on television, football fancier; most loyal of friends; reverer of Jane Austen; lover of Italy; Mozart adorer (her radical Mozart the Dramatist: a new view of Mozart, his opera and his age, 1964, was reissued in a new edition in 1989); aficionado of the English National Opera (but not of the Royal Opera House); disliker of “Shakespeare in performance”; smoker of cigarettes in a chic holder and painter of her fingernails purple; mother, grandmother, wife; feminist; lover of men and women; Brigid Brophy was above all an intellectual, which British (although she was Irish) authors aren’t supposed to be. We mistrust logical, rational thought in our writers, finding it easier to live with instinct, intuition. Brophy was ever the Aristotelian logician.
About Brigid Brophy
Juliet Dusinberre writes:
Like all her generation, Bradbrook lived through despairing times: the Depression and the Second World War. Her father died during her first year in college, but her mother, despite family poverty, continued to encourage her daughter’s ambitions. ‘My mother,’ Brad declared stalwartly in old age, ‘was the rock on which I founded my life.’ Her judgement of an early Girton don as ‘a great tree rooted in the Victorian soil of classical virtue’, could be applied equally to herself. She lived, however, resolutely in the present, presiding over the change of statute which enabled Girton to admit men, and suggesting in her history of the college, That Infidel Place (1969), that the nuclear family would be replaced by radical alternatives. She admired the Victorian pioneer Barbara Bodichon above all for her ‘experiment in balanced living’.
Bradbrook knew as well as any that the life of the scholar is hard to combine with balanced living. But she did her best, working at the Board of Trade during the war, experiencing through close friends the problems of racial conflict in South Africa and through her Czech sister-in-law the situation of Eastern Europe. She loved Ireland, discovering in an undergraduate visit to a friend in Co Wicklow ‘a world that fed my imagination; I was like one of my Elizabethan playwrights, tasting a life beyond my own’. Her Christianity, a conscious choice made since her agnostic undergraduate days, and practised at Great St Mary’s, took root in the same context of imaginative life, as did her long friendship with the poet Kathleen Raine.
Muriel Bradbrook will be much
Julie Bindel writes:
“Sexual Politics was published at the time of an emerging women’s liberation movement, and an emerging politics that began to define male dominance as a political and institutional form of oppression. Millett’s work articulated this theory to the wider world, and in particular to the intellectual liberal establishment, thereby launching radical feminism as a significant new political theory and movement.
In her book, Millett explained women’s complicity in male domination by analysing the way in which females are socialised into accepting patriarchal values and norms, which challenged the notion that female subservience is somehow natural.”
Ms. Bloch, an admirer of poets like Emily Dickinson, Anna Akhmatova and Elizabeth Bishop, specialized in taut, pared-down verse that fused disarming simplicity with emotional depth. Her subjects — family life, children, sex, aging — lay close to hand but resonated with deeper meanings, often enriched by biblical allusions.
“I value clarity — an old-fashioned virtue — and concision,” she told The San Francisco Book Review in 2011. “I like poetry that appears to be clear on the surface, with unexpected depths.”
In her later work, Ms. Bloch linked her short poems into longer sequences that allowed her to range over difficult terrain. “In the Land of the Body,” included in her collection “The Past Keeps Changing” (1992), addressed her struggles with ovarian cancer, which was successfully treated.