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Games-Playing

Patrick Parrinder, 7 August 1986

The Golden Gate 
by Vikram Seth.
Faber, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13967 1
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The Haunted House 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 139 pp., £8.95, June 1986, 0 330 29175 0
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Whole of a Morning Sky 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 156 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 86068 774 0
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The Piano Tuner 
by Peter Meinke.
Georgia, 156 pp., $13.95, June 1986, 0 8203 0844 7
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Tap City 
by Ron Abell.
Secker, 273 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 436 00025 3
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... cost of writing a verse novel, it would seem, is to turn a blind eye to virtually all that Hardy, Joyce, Lawrence and their successors have done in prose. The result is a strange blend of racy, colloquial literary enterprise and static neo-Victorian values. Despite its neo-gothic title, The Haunted House betrays no hint of anachronism. Rebecca Brown explores ...

Diary

Patrick Parrinder: On Raymond Williams, 18 February 1988

... of Eliot’s poetry. F.R. Leavis championed Eliot, Pound and D.H. Lawrence, and taught Joyce’s Ulysses while it was publicly banned. William Empson edited an undergraduate magazine called Experiment, producing a Joyce issue which was also banned. Richards’s experiments in Practical Criticism reflected the ...

English Fame and Irish Writers

Brian Moore, 20 November 1980

Selected Poems 1956-1975 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 136 pp., £3.95, October 1980, 0 571 11644 2
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Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 224 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 571 11638 8
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... is too little with us – that all issues are reduced to the level of the parish pump. Yet, as Patrick Kavanagh warned, Irish writers turn outward at their peril. Disgusted by the loud quarrels of his Monaghan neighbours, he wrote: That was the year of the Munich bother. Which Was more important? I inclined To lost my faith in Ballyrish and Gortin Till ...

Up from Under

John Bayley, 18 February 1988

The Faber Book of Contemporary Australian Short Stories 
edited by Murray Bail.
Faber, 413 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 571 15083 7
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... of life – the last resort of the artist without a true subject. In Australia, realism – what Patrick White, condemning the national literature in 1958, called the ‘dreary dun-coloured offspring of journalistic realism’– was the obvious method, because anything else would have seemed fancy: and White himself was one of the very few writers down ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: In Donegal, 8 October 1992

... whereas Cavan and even Monaghan have a less decided orientation. I cannot, for example, think of Patrick Kavanagh as a Northern writer, any more than I would wish to allocate Peadar O’Donnell to the South.’ Donegal is part of the North, yes, but it’s also the place many Northerners go to escape from ‘Norn Ireland’, as we sometimes call ...

We did and we didn’t

Seamus Perry: Are yez civilised?, 6 May 2021

On Seamus Heaney 
by R.F. Foster.
Princeton, 228 pp., £14.99, September 2020, 978 0 691 17437 2
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... own terms, setting them within an Irish imaginative space made habitable largely by the example of Patrick Kavanagh, and finding a thick, costive, consonantal music for the task (‘the squelch and slap/Of soggy peat’). He was especially struck by a book called The New Poetic (1964) by the New Zealand poet C.K. Stead that portrayed an Eliot very different ...

You’ve listened long enough

Colin Burrow: The Heaneid, 21 April 2016

Aeneid: Book VI 
translated by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 53 pp., £14.99, March 2016, 978 0 571 32731 7
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... Seamus Heaney so skilfully used in both his poems and his prose, he relates (in an essay on Patrick Kavanagh from 1985) that one of his aunts ‘planted a chestnut in a jam jar’ in the year of his birth. In due course the seedling was planted out and grew to a fine height. Heaney says that ‘over the years I came to identify my own life with the life ...

Pamphleteer’s Progress

Patrick Parrinder, 7 February 1985

The Function of Criticism: From the ‘Spectator’ to Post-Structuralism 
by Terry Eagleton.
Verso, 133 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 86091 091 1
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... The Victorian and modern ‘major authors’ were all to be found in their accustomed places – Joyce, conventionally enough, was the one addition to the strict Leavisite canon – and Eagleton’s contribution was to show them, not as great literary mentors, but as crippled and distorted ideological freaks. ‘The guarantor of a scientific criticism,’ he ...

Naming of Parts

Patrick Parrinder, 6 June 1985

Quinx or The Ripper’s Tale 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 201 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 571 13444 0
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Helliconia Winter 
by Brian Aldiss.
Cape, 285 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 224 01847 7
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Black Robe 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 256 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 224 02329 2
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... Quartet’ referred back to Einstein and Proust, the comic anarchy of the Avignon novels is post-Joyce, post-Pynchon and post-Flann O’Brien. In terms of subject-matter, Durrell has a shrewd eye for the sensational. Readers of the ‘Avignon Quintet’ can steep themselves in the secrets of the Templars, gypsy folklore, Nazi atrocities, the mysteries of the ...

Jolly Jack and the Preacher

Patrick Parrinder, 20 April 1989

A Culture for Democracy: Mass Communication and the Cultivated Mind in Britain between the Wars 
by D.L. LeMahieu.
Oxford, 396 pp., £35, June 1988, 0 19 820137 0
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... the Auden group, the Marxists, Max Eastman, Edmund Wilson, and most significantly, the later Joyce) whom Leavis judged to have fallen by the wayside. Few if any of his later books were as clear-minded as this, and there is no other work in the last half-century of English literary criticism which can measure up to its avant-garde credentials. As Graham ...

Nohow, Worstward, Withersoever

Patrick Parrinder, 9 November 1989

Stirrings Still 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 25 pp., £1,000, March 1989, 0 7145 4142 7
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Nohow On: Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 128 pp., £10.95, February 1989, 0 7145 4111 7
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‘Make sense who may’: Essays on Samuel Beckett’s Later Works 
edited by Robin Davis and Lance Butler.
Smythe, 175 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 86140 286 3
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... of a wake with only a single mourner. Also, there is the extent of Beckett’s inheritance from Joyce, which is by no means confined to his early work and is now perhaps due for reappraisal. For to end yet again (translated into English in 1976) ends with the following sentence: ‘Through it who knows yet another end beneath a cloudless sky same dark it ...

Passing-Out Time

Christopher Tayler: Patrick Hamilton’s drinking, 29 January 2009

The Slaves of Solitude 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Constable, 327 pp., £7.99, September 2008, 978 1 84529 415 1
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The Gorse Trilogy 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Black Spring, 603 pp., £9.95, June 2007, 978 0 948238 34 5
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... was sometimes said, was always in the pub but never really of it. Much the same could be said of Patrick Hamilton, who was best known in his lifetime for his stage chillers Rope (1929) and Gaslight (1938), but is mostly remembered for the expert depictions of joyless interwar boozing in Hangover Square (1941) and the trilogy Twenty Thousand Streets under the ...

Sexist

John Bayley, 10 December 1987

John Keats 
by John Barnard.
Cambridge, 172 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 521 26691 2
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Keats as a Reader of Shakespeare 
by R.S. White.
Athlone, 250 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 485 11298 1
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... Cambridge introductions to ‘British and Irish Authors’, a high-quality series which includes Patrick Parrinder on James Joyce and John Batchelor on H.G. Wells. Barnard gets a great deal into his short book, presenting a rather different Keats from that of the many other Keats scholars and biographers. Keats’s ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Call Yourself George, 21 September 2017

... a shop in Dublin and counted the volumes in the Irish Fiction section. Books by and about James Joyce took up 20 per cent of the shelf space and the weighty representation of Beckett, Wilde, Bram Stoker and Swift also skewed the figures towards a male past, but if you discount secondary or critical texts the numbers aren’t as bad as they might be: 290 ...

Dismantling the class war

Paul Addison, 25 July 1991

The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950. Vol I.: Regions and Communities 
edited by F.M.L. Thompson.
Cambridge, 608 pp., June 1990, 0 521 25788 3
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The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950. Vol II.: People and Their Environment 
edited by F.M.L. Thompson.
Cambridge, 392 pp., June 1990, 0 521 25789 1
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The Temper of the Times: British Society since World War Two 
by Bill Williamson.
Blackwell, 308 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 631 15919 3
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... is meaningless to describe them both as expressions of urban society. Class, too, is atomised in Patrick Joyce’s chapter on work. Labour historians have long assumed that 19th-century industry was a field of conflict between workers and employers in which the employers held the whip hand. Joyce turns this conception ...

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