4 thoughts on “Unpicking a life of glamour: Molly Izzard’s Freya Stark

  1. All that really need be said about this book is shame on you Molly Izzard.
    Molly has now passed away but i feel she could never have been proud of this book. Rather she might have felt relief at putting all her spite, venom and jealousy down on paper. The modern thing to do would then be to burn it and hope all ones nagging negative emotions would go up in smoke.
    You cannot turn to a single page which does not drip poison, most often in the very pettiest of ways. It is hard to believe it was ever edited.
    I imagine Molly’s view of Freya was fashioned to some degree by her own personality which was admirably suited to the work of Her Majesty’s Pornographers, work that required a love of intrigue, smut and downright nastiness. Molly comes across as small minded and about as far from innocent as Freya was from ‘knowing’ in a wordly and sexual sense.
    To call this biography is a misnomer though it tells us a good deal about Molly Izzard. Freya Starks works speak for themselves.

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    1. Well, this was a surprising comment. I don’t know enough about Stark, or Izzard for that matter, to feel that the biography is super-slanted or partial. But if you feel this way, presumably you have some more evidence to prove Izzard wrong?

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  2. The evidence is in the Freya Stark books and there is nonshort cut to finding it. I can, however do no better than refer you to the reviews of Molly Izzards book by the eminent travel writers Dervla Murphy and Jan Morris, both available at http://www.independent.co.uk.
    Dervla Murphy deemed it a humourless mish mash of prejudice, innuendo and speculation and asks how, thus flawed, did Freya Stark inspire so much affection among so many for so long? Molly Izzard, in her emminently unscholarly way, dodges this question completely.
    Jan Morris remarked that the ‘biography’ was written snidely, like the Sunday supplement interviews which are dressed up in journalistic frankness, but whose real purpose is barb and innuendo.
    I rest my case.

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