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The Independent Culture
Miranda Seymour has been delighting in Ray Monk's biography of Bertrand Russell, 'The Spirit of Solitude' (Cape)

What drove me barmy whenever I talked to people who remembered Russell from my life of Ottoline Morrell was that they would say, ''Oh, yes, Bertrand Russell - didn't he have awfully bad breath?'' He was physically unprepossessing and the general view is that his sexual relationship with Morrell foundered on it. Ray Monk, in this huge, marvellous account, makes sense of their long affair as a love based on mutual fascination: he was transfixed by her beauty, she by his brilliant mind.