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Gaelic Communist

Graham Walker

12 October 1989
James ConnollyA Political Biography 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 244 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 7190 2958 9
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James ConnollySelected Writings 
edited by P. Beresford Ellis.
Pluto, 256 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 9780745302676
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... James Connolly is not a figure historians can confidently aspire to demythologise. His importance in Irish history lies as much in the images which have been fashioned of him as in his actual writings and actions. Images and myths, of course, are central to the creed of Irish nationalism, and it is hardly surprising, therefore, that many influential ones have been constructed around the only leader, and martyr, of the Easter Rising of 1916 with a socialist reputation ...

Seriously ugly

Gabriele Annan

11 January 1990
Weep no more 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 166 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 241 12200 7
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... men in Skelton’s life, the three who got it into a serious muddle were all seriously ugly: Cyril Connolly, her first husband; George Weidenfeld, her second; and her last recorded lover, the French writer Bernard Frank. There is no photograph of her third husband, the millionaire Derek Jackson, but he did not seriously ...

Young Marvin

Frank Kermode

24 January 1991
A Tenured Professor 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 197 pp., £12.95, November 1990, 1 85619 018 8
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Shade those laurels 
by Cyril Connolly and Peter Levi.
Bellew, 174 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 0 947792 37 6
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... and produces a solid thesis to that end. But one day in Heffers he picks up a book and reads about Bernard Cornfeld. Inspired by that example, he studies the many comparable historical instances of investors’ madness. At Harvard he had studied economics with people who ‘assumed rationality’. Dismissing that assumption, he reflects that when a lot of ...

Cockaigne

Frank Kermode

24 October 1991
Orwell: The Authorised Biography 
by Michael Shelden.
Heinemann, 563 pp., £18.50, October 1991, 0 434 69517 3
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... late Soni Orwell’s refusal of permission to quote), and, more recently, the expansive Life by Bernard Crick, at first authorised by the widow to emphasise her rejection of Stansky and Abrahams, and later de-authorised by her to indicate disapproval of Crick, who, much to her annoyance, had lawyers good enough to ensure that he was able to publish it ...

Golf Grips and Swastikas

William Feaver: Francis Bacon’s Litter

26 February 2009
Francis Bacon: Incunabula 
edited by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £39.95, September 2008, 978 0 500 09344 3
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... against the dummy of a book on his work and his sources put together in the late 1980s by Bruce Bernard, the layouts for which paired paintings to photographs. Not that those involved in the project (least of all Bruce Bernard, a dedicated admirer) intended to downgrade the artist; it was just that, heady with the ...

The Europe to Come

Perry Anderson

25 January 1996
The Rotten Heart of Europe 
by Bernard Connolly.
Faber, 427 pp., £17.50, September 1995, 0 571 17520 1
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Orchestrating Europe: The Informal Politics of European Union 1973-93 
by Keith Middlemas.
Fontana, 821 pp., £27.50, November 1995, 0 00 255678 2
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... storm-height by the line of the Bundesbank. We now have a vivid inside account of these events in Bernard Connolly’s book The Rotten Heart of Europe. The coarseness of its title and cover are misleading: signs more of self-conscious encanaillement on the part of smart publishing than of authorial quality. The book suffers from an occasional lapse of ...

A Row of Shaws

Terry Eagleton: That Bastard Shaw

21 June 2018
Judging Shaw 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Royal Irish Academy, 381 pp., £28, October 2017, 978 1 908997 15 9
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... of God. Nowhere is this shift from margin to centre more striking than in the career of George Bernard Shaw. Born in Dublin in 1856 into a decayed branch of the Protestant Ascendancy, the son of a drunken petty official and a mother from the minor gentry, Shaw was in his own word a ‘downstart’. In this superbly perceptive study, Fintan O’Toole sees ...
20 May 1982
P.G. Wodehouse: A Literary Biography 
by Benny Green.
Joseph, 256 pp., £8.95, October 1981, 0 907516 04 1
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Wodehouse on Wodehouse: Bring on the girls (with Guy Bolton), Performing Flea, Over Seventy 
Penguin, 655 pp., £2.95, September 1981, 0 14 005245 3Show More
P.G. Wodehouse: An Illustrated Biography 
by Joseph Connolly.
Eel Pie, 160 pp., £3.95, September 1981, 0 906008 44 1
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P.G. Wodehouse: A Centenary Celebration 1881-1981 
edited by James Heineman and Donald Bensen.
Oxford, 197 pp., £40, February 1982, 0 19 520357 7
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The World of P.G. Wodehouse 
by Herbert Warren Wind.
Hutchinson, 256 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 09 145670 3
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... and American. P.G. Wodehouse: An Illustrated Biography is a jolly picture-book compiled by Joseph Connolly, who runs the Flask Bookshop in Hampstead and claims to have ‘an unrivalled collection of Wodehouse first editions’. He has a list of such editions at the back of his book, with the latest prices. This is what ‘bibliophiles’ call a ...

Plain English

Denis Donoghue

20 December 1984
Nineteen Eighty-Four: Facsimile Edition 
by George Orwell, edited by Peter Davison.
Secker, 291 pp., £25, July 1984, 9780436350221
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Nineteen Eighty-Four 
by George Orwell, edited by Bernard Crick.
Oxford, 460 pp., £17.50, March 1984, 0 19 818521 9
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Inside the Myth. Orwell: Views from the Left 
edited by Christopher Norris.
Lawrence and Wishart, 287 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 85315 599 2
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The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell 
by George Woodcock.
Fourth Estate, 287 pp., £5.95, November 1984, 0 947795 05 7
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Orwell’s London 
by John Thompson.
Fourth Estate, 119 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 947795 00 6
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... for the new complete edition of Orwell, and has a critical Introduction and annotations by Bernard Crick. Davison reports that Orwell wrote about fifty pages of the book in the summer of 1946: the novel in its first form was typed in the summer of 1947 and completed by October. Between the middle of May 1948 and early November 1948 Orwell revised the ...

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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... he also made it possible to see his brother as an interestingly troubled victim of their father, Bernard, who emerges in the memoir as one of the great Edwardian monster-dads. ‘The author and barrister Bernard Hamilton’, as he styled himself, began to generate a considerable body of anecdote on his 21st birthday, when ...
20 June 1985
... humane and in tune with historical scholarship it was. Per contra, Waugh thought how sensible St Bernard had been in dealing with presumptuous intellectuals such as Abelard. In the last sentences of Decline and Fall there is a reference to the Ebionites – a sect of poor Jewish-Christians who rejected the Pauline Epistles and thought that Jesus was the ...
7 October 1982
... that he chose to fight in, went out of his way to fight in: he didn’t simply visit Spain like Connolly, Auden and Spender. I’m not quoting this passage to show that Sonia was wrong in her judgment of his ‘character’, making it an article of faith among her own friends that she would have saved him for ‘literature’ from ‘polities’: rather I ...

Orwellspeak

Julian Symons

9 November 1989
The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of ‘St George’ Orwell 
by John Rodden.
Oxford, 478 pp., £22.50, October 1989, 0 19 503954 8
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... way – surprisingly, because it is hard to see what important factual material it could add to Bernard Crick’s book. Rodden pays particular attention to Orwell’s changing reputation in West Germany and the Soviet Union. In both countries special emphasis has been placed on his last two fictions, with Nineteen Eighty-Four on the best-seller list for a ...

Going on the air

Philip French

2 May 1985
Orwell: The War Broadcasts 
edited by W.J. West.
Duckworth/BBC, 304 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 7156 1916 0
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... the widespread, if largely unexamined view that his time at the BBC was mostly unprofitable. As Bernard Crick writes in the briefest chapter of his authorised biography – the chapter entitled ‘Broadcasting Days (1941-43)’: ‘Then for two precious years his talents were mainly wasted, his colleagues later agreed, in producing cultural programmes for ...
9 January 1992
Martha Jane and Me: A Girlhood in Wales 
by Mavis Nicholson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 7011 3356 2
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Vanessa Redgrave: An Autobiography 
Hutchinson, 300 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 09 174593 4Show More
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... tome after fresh tome on Graham Greene, or George Orwell, or P.G. Wodehouse, or Evelyn Waugh, or Bernard Shaw, or Cyril Connolly? Must we prepare our shelves for yet another cache of letters, stumbled across like Dead Sea scrolls, every decade? If so, will they, too, rank high with biographers as first-hand testimony to ...

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