The Saturday miscellany: Feminist classics; Anna Wintour; Clerkenwell Design Week; Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing; Louis Vuitton


Culture clash: Feminist classics

The Bell Jar vs The Golden

By Holly Williams

Sylvia Plath's slim, single novel The Bell Jar was highly autobiographical, telling the story of an intelligent college graduate who suffers a mental breakdown, and feels stifled by the limited options for young women in 1950s America. Compulsory reading for ennui-ridden teenage girls since its publication in 1963.

Doris Lessing's whopping 600-page novel is formed of five notebooks belonging to one Anna Wulf, another woman suffering a breakdown.Ambitious in scope and experimental in form, the 1962 tome manages to be a deeply personal, politically expansive, and fiercely feminist.

Although it sure is heavy-handed at times, The Golden Notebook takes the prize for its fearless determination to tackle the issues of the day.

The winner: The Golden Notebook

The deleted emails of... Anna Wintour (as read by John Walsh)

From: Anna Wintour
To: Maxine Truelove, production director
Date: 10 May 2013, 5.07am
Subject: Gwyneth Paltrow shoot

Maxine. I'm changing the production schedule. We are altering the GP shoot in the September issue. If Si has a problem with this delaying things he can leave a message with my assistant.

I have additions to make to the artwork – the main shot of Paltrow in her pink Valentino rag at the Met Ball. Photoshop some conspicuous sweat patches under the bitch's armpits. And introduce beads of sweat on to her botoxy-poxy ickle forehead. And make the mascara run. Not right down to her chin, we needn't go the full Alice Cooper, just enough to be disfiguring.

Since she told the papers about my Ball, "It was so un-fun. It was boiling. It was too crowded. I didn't enjoy myself at all," we should obviously reflect her feelings visually.

On my way to the tennis court to meet Roger now. I want to see the book with the amended pages (but not you) when I arrive in 37 minutes.

That's all.

Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

My cousin's Facebook status updates really annoy me. Can I defriend her?

The tech-savvy solution is to untick 'show in newsfeed' from the dropdown. If you want to send a stronger message, defriend. Just make sure it's a message you can justify over Christmas lunch.



By Charlie Cooper


Four years old and firmly established, Clerkenwell Design Week returns to beautify our homes. 21-23 May,


Margate's Turner Contemporary's Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing is a blend of art, curio and artefact. 24 May to 15 September,


Something rather nice from Louis Vuitton – travel books illustrated by artists discovering cities for the first time. Japan's Natsko Seki reimagines London., £38

Indy Index

By Charlie Cooper

* 23rd: where the UK ranks in the Mother Index of the best countries to be a mother

* In Finland, which came first, mothers report having 8 hours of free time to themselves

*  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which came last, one woman in 30 dies of a maternal cause

*  In England and Wales, nearly half of births were to women aged 30 or over

* The most expensive nursery place in the UK costs £42,000 per year

* A year’s schooling at Eton costs £32,870 (including registration and entrance fees)

* 55,000: the number of nursery places the Government still needs to find for disadvantaged children

*  The average UK mother of children aged 2 to 10 is asked 288 questions per day

* 60 per cent of women in the UK say they wanted more postnatal support

* Odds that the royal baby will be named Diana – 6/1, or Charles – 25/1


1. Surviving the first day: state of the world’s mother 2013, Save the Children

2. The changing face of motherhood in Western Europe: Finland, The Social Issues Research Centre 2012/P&G

3. Surviving the first day: state of the world’s mother 2013, Save the Children

4. Statistical bulletin: Live Births in England and Wales by Characteristics of Mother 1, 2011, ONS

5. Childcare costs in 2013, The Day Care Trust

6. Eton College

7. Free nursery scheme '55,000 places short', BBC

8. Mothers asked nearly 300 questions a day, study finds, The Telegraph

9. WI and NCT report finds women unsupported and midwives pushed to their limits, The National Federation of Women’s Institutes and the National Childcare Trust

10. Names of Will and Kate’s first child, Paddy Power

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