Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

Muriel Bradbrook “knew as well as any that the life of the scholar is hard to combine with balanced living”

Muriel Clara Bradbrook, by Mayotte Magnus, August 1976

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

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“Millett explained women’s complicity in male domination…”: Julie Bindel

Julie Bindel

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.”

“I like poetry that appears to be clear on the surface, with unexpected depths”: Chana Bloch

The poet Chana Bloch in an undated photo. “I value clarity — an old-fashioned virtue — and concision,” she once said in an interview about her work. Credit Lonny Shavelson

In his obituary of Chana Bloch, William Grimes writes:

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.

Read “The Real Truth”,  Interlitq‘s interview with Chana Bloch.

Arthur “Art” F. Dickerson, U.S. businessman, academic and poet, died May 4, 2017

Arthur “Art” F. Dickerson

Arthur “Art” F. Dickerson died on May 4, 2017. He was born in Seguin, Texas in February 1926. Art enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WWII and was enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated at age 19 and married Colleen B. Patton. He was employed by General Electric, having worked there for twenty three years. When the family moved to California, Art worked for the Hughes Corporation, where he managed the High Voltage DC Research Lab in Malibu. Art worked in research and development all his life and eventually started his own corporation, Bluepoint Associates. Art also taught, first for the University of Southern California and later for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He was a painter, a poet, a photographer, a singer and a dancer. Art was preceeded in death by his wife Colleen Dickerson. He is survived by his daughters Shari Dickerson and Crystal Dickerson; his grandson Travis Reed and Travis’ fiancee Judi Jordan; his granddaughter Jessie Sokol and her husband David Sokol; and his great-grand- daughter Emily Sokol. He is also survived by his loving girlfriend Glenna Horton.

Jenny Diski “was a writer for whom no subject was taboo”

enny Diski wrote candidly about her cancer diagnosis in her London Review of Books column. Photograph: Rex

enny Diski wrote candidly about her cancer diagnosis in her London Review of Books column. Photograph: Rex

Kate Kellaway writes:

Jenny Diski, who has died of cancer aged 68, was a writer for whom no subject was taboo. Her remarkable first novel, Nothing Natural (1986), about a sadomasochistic affair, was feted and damned in equal measure. It has a quality that persisted in all her work: a refusal to censor, a breezy determination to keep it real (whatever “it” turned out to be). She was the least deceived writer imaginable, and she was never complacent. She once said she wrote each new book out of a feeling that the one before had been a failure. She did not stop her zestful experimenting: 11 novels, two collections of short stories, memoirs, travelogues and essays. Each book was a new departure, but she is likely to be best remembered for her nonfiction.

In her idiosyncratic travelogue Stranger on a Train (2002), she intriguingly linked crossing the US by rail with escapist journeying in her youth on the Circle line of the London underground. In 2009, with The Sixties, she pulled off an unhackneyed account of the decade – sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, and Aldermaston marches. But her memoir Skating to Antarctica (1997) is the most remarkable of her books. It stars her daughter, Chloe, who steers Diski into finding out what became of her mother, with whom relations had been severed for decades. The narrative alternates startlingly between a trip to the frozen south and this search – Diski’s reluctant advance towards catharsis.