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Christian Lorentzen: The Weiner Trilogy, 29 August 2013

... political reporters, and his rivals are a fairly dull bunch. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn would be the first female and uncloseted homosexual mayor of Gotham; she’s also been tarred as an accomplice of Michael Bloomberg in rendering New York a city run by and for the rich. To her left, at least tactically, is public advocate Bill de Blasio, a ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... years of Africa as I had months – almost After Casement’s arrest in 1916, Conrad wrote to John Quinn in New York: We never talked politics ... He was a good companion: but already in Africa I judged that he was a man, properly speaking, of no mind at all. I don’t mean stupid. I mean that he was all emotion. By emotional force (Congo ...

Goose Girl

Josephine Quinn: Empress Theodora, 4 May 2017

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint 
by David Potter.
Oxford, 277 pp., £17.99, January 2016, 978 0 19 974076 5
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... few cases more sober sources corroborate Procopius’ account: even Theodora’s fellow Miaphysite John of Ephesus said that she came ‘from the brothel’ (porneion), and Potter’s argument that the word could have referred simply to her past as an actress is too generous. There are other things Procopius could not possibly have known, and some he simply ...

Between Mussolini and Me

Lawrence Rainey: Pound’s Fascism, 18 March 1999

... accuracy was not the question here: Sigismondo, after all, is in some sense another name for John Quinn, the New York lawyer and cultural patron whose generosity had been indispensable to the cultural economy of Modernism. But was that all? Was Mussolini, for Pound, merely a phantasmagoric projection of the Modernist patron? Admirers of Pound have ...

Belonging

John Kerrigan, 18 July 1996

The ‘O’o’a’a’ Bird 
by Justin Quinn.
Carcanet, 69 pp., £7.95, March 1995, 1 85754 125 1
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Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 254 pp., £18.95, April 1995, 1 85754 074 3
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Collected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 217 pp., £9.95, November 1995, 1 85754 220 7
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Captain Lavender 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Gallery Press, 83 pp., £11.95, November 1994, 9781852351427
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... archaic nationalism, and clarify relations between patriotic sentiment and sexual politics. Justin Quinn tries to get to the bottom of this phenomenon in his lively first collection, The ‘O’o’a’a’ Bird. The pale, red-haired beauty of his ‘Ur-Aisling’ is so thoroughly archetypal that she appears ‘when the world had not yet happened’ and ...

Off-Beat

Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... This was the sketchy outline I carried with me to New York on a trip, with the producer Paul Quinn, to research a radio programme about the Beat heritage. I’d never been there before, never met Corso. I’d seen him, in the tweed sports jacket of a young academic, performing, sober, at the famous Albert Hall ‘Wholly Communion’ readings on 11 June ...

The Dollar Tree

Tobias Jones, 11 December 1997

Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 436 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 571 17149 4
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... of Glass, the first volume in the New York Trilogy, the writer’s identity is always a plaything: Quinn, the writer, uses the pseudonym William Wilson, who himself writes about the improbably named Max Work, and is mistaken for Paul Auster, ‘of the Auster Detective Agency’. (The ‘Auster’ character always gets the smartest lines in the story, being ...

Diary

John Bayley: On V.S. Pritchett, the Man of Letters, 30 January 1992

... of assuming an audience ‘both universal and homogeneous’. The pamphlet was quoted recently by John Gross in an afterword to a new edition of his book The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters.* Gross assumed a combative stance, calling his piece ‘the man of letters in a closed shop’, and speaking of the ‘cold horror’ that filled him when he ...

Good Things

Colin McGinn, 5 September 1996

Virtues and Reasons: Philippa Foot and Moral Theory 
edited by Rosalind Hursthouse, Gavin Lawrence and Warren Quinn.
Oxford, 350 pp., £35, July 1996, 0 19 824046 5
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... on a few of the papers that engage most directly with Foot’s views on moral reasons. Warren Quinn’s paper, ‘Putting Rationality in its Place’, is the best in the volume, both in its clarity and in the correctness of its arguments. He undermines Foot’s position in the most direct way possible, by arguing that desires considered in themselves ...

A Bit Like Gulliver

Stephanie Burt: Seamus Heaney’s Seamus Heaney, 11 June 2009

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney 
by Dennis O’Driscoll.
Faber, 524 pp., £22.50, November 2008, 978 0 571 24252 8
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The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney 
edited by Bernard O’Donoghue.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £45, December 2008, 978 0 521 54755 0
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... during the 1970s, when holidays brought together the Heaneys, the Hammonds, Deane, Brian Friel and John Hume; there is a book to be written about those summers and their consequences, in politics and in the arts.But Heaney’s debts to music pre-date Hammond, and extend far beyond his example. A blind musician, Rosie Keenan (remembered in the poem ‘At the ...

How to Be a Good Judge

John Gardner: The Rule of Law, 8 July 2010

The Rule of Law 
by Tom Bingham.
Allen Lane, 213 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84614 090 7
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... During the break-up with Kimberly Quinn that precipitated his break-up with the Home Office, David Blunkett is reported to have warned her: ‘The law is on my side. I know because I made the law.’ It doesn’t quite have the melodramatic chill of Judge Dredd’s ‘I am the law,’ but it comes close. And it’s easy to imagine Blunkett saying it, for it nicely sums up the tragically self-important view he took of himself, and of the executive branch of government, during his time in office ...

Dr Küng’s Fiasco

Alasdair MacIntyre, 5 February 1981

Does God exist? 
by Hans Küng, translated by Edward Quinn.
Collins, 839 pp., £12, November 1980, 0 00 215147 2
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... with Dr Küng is a little like chiding the Third International for not adopting the principles of John Stuart Mill in its dealings with Lukacs. And when therefore John Paul II – who, like Evelyn Waugh, as Randolph Churchill remarked to an earlier Pope, is himself a Roman Catholic – did not respond to Dr Küng’s ...

Diary

Ronan Bennett: Being Irish in New York, 6 April 1995

... mischievous matchmakers, innocent fun, uileann pipes, sea-wind in the hair. Even if you swap John Ford’s Ireland for something more urban and contemporary, say that of Roddy Doyle, in which a good night out is more likely to involve soul music and a ‘ride’, it is still possible to find yourself idealising: Ford and Doyle (pre-Paddy Clarke and ...

Look me in the eye

James Hall: Self-portraiture, 25 January 2001

The Artist's Body 
edited by Tracey Warr and Amelia Jones.
Phaidon, 304 pp., £39.95, July 2000, 0 7148 3502 1
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Five Hundred Self-Portraits 
edited by Julian Bell.
Phaidon, 528 pp., £19.95, November 2000, 0 7148 3959 0
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Renaissance Self-Portraiture 
by Joanna Woods-Marsden.
Yale, 285 pp., £45, October 1998, 0 300 07596 0
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... Body. The serial stuff-strutters include the photo-artists Gilbert & George, Cindy Sherman and John Coplans; the sculptors Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn; the painters Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville; the performance and video artists Joseph Beuys, Rebecca Horn, Bruce Nauman, Arnulf Rainer and ...

Selfie with ‘Sunflowers’

Julian Barnes, 30 July 2015

Ever Yours: The Essential Letters 
by Vincent van Gogh, edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker.
Yale, 777 pp., £30, December 2014, 978 0 300 20947 1
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Van Gogh: A Power Seething 
by Julian Bell.
Amazon, 171 pp., £6.99, January 2015, 978 1 4778 0129 1
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... clarity of seeing, an acknowledgment that this is what painting is. Just as the young John Richardson, visiting Braque’s studio for the first time, felt that he had arrived ‘at the very heart of painting’. But these apparently quiet artists often turn out to have been more far-sighted and more radical than we assume. Corot, for example, once ...

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