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Rachel Beer first caught my attention some 20 years ago when I was trawling through Who Was Who looking for journalists. She was unusual because she was the editor of The Sunday Times in the 1890s, when no other national newspaper had a woman editor. She was also deeply conscious of her background, proud of being a member of the wealthy and important Jewish family of Sassoon.
‘The Sitwells belong to the history of publicity rather than of poetry’, famously pronounced F. R. Leavis in New Bearings in English Poetry (1932).