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Yeats and the Occult

Seamus Deane, 18 October 1984

The Mystery Religion of W.B. Yeats 
by Graham Hough.
Harvester, 129 pp., £15.95, May 1984, 0 7108 0603 5
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Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry 
by Cairns Craig.
Croom Helm, 323 pp., £14.95, January 1982, 9780856649974
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Yeats. Poems 1919-1935: A Selection of Critical Essays 
edited by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £14, July 1984, 0 333 27422 9
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The Poet and his Audience 
by Ian Jack.
Cambridge, 198 pp., £20, July 1984, 0 521 26034 5
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A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 543 pp., £35, May 1984, 0 333 35214 9
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Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £17, August 1984, 0 333 36213 6
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... meant a different and much longer book. Nevertheless, I wish it. The wish is almost gratified by Cairns Craig. He does not write with the clarity and panache of Graham Hough and his subject is less clearly focused. But it is an engrossing one. He sets out, in the footsteps of John Harrison, Harvey Gross, William Chace and others, to explain and explore ...

Scotland’s Dreaming

Rory Scothorne, 21 May 2020

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot: The Great Mistake of Scottish Independence 
by John Lloyd.
Polity, 224 pp., £20, April, 978 1 5095 4266 6
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The Literary Politics of Scottish Devolution: Voice, Class, Nation 
by Scott Hames.
Edinburgh, 352 pp., £24.99, November 2019, 978 1 4744 1814 0
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... by the SNP. ‘If Scotland voted for political devolution in 1997,’ the literary critic Cairns Craig wrote in 2003, ‘it had much earlier declared cultural devolution,’ with everyone from Alasdair Gray to the Proclaimers providing Scotland with representation in lieu of the Assembly that failed to appear in 1979. ‘If politics and votes ...
... of the colonies provoked a salutary and unsentimental re-examination of the values of the country. Cairns Craig, academic, critic, publisher and computer-man, wrote: ‘Instead of political defeat leading to quiescence, it led directly into an explosion of cultural creativity, a creativity coming to terms with the origins of the political defeat and ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... new Marxist historiography often seemed obsessed with its own version of English continuity. As Cairns Craig has argued in Cencrastus, Christopher Hill and E.P. Thompson see class struggle as fundamental to English history, but conceive that history to be ‘shaped as an autonomous inner trajectory defined by the conflicts and the accommodations ...

Two Poems

Robert Crawford, 15 September 1988

... after I went to work at school, wearing her songs. The Saltcoats Structuralists for Douglas Cairns They found the world’s new structure was a binary Gleaming opposition of two rails That never crossed but ran on parallel Straight out of Cairo. From small boys On platform one who listened to the great Schola cantorum of connecting rods Dreamed-up by ...

Britishmen

Tom Paulin, 5 November 1981

Too Long a Sacrifice: Life and Death in Northern Ireland since 1969 
by Jack Holland.
Columbus, 217 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 396 07934 2
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A History of Northern Ireland 
by Patrick Buckland.
Gill and Macmillan, 195 pp., £3.95, April 1981, 0 7171 1069 9
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... Two months after the suspension of Stormont in 1972, Belfast’s retiring Lord Mayor, Sir Joseph Cairns, delivered a farewell speech in which he reflected on the political situation. Ulster, he said, had been cynically betrayed by Britain’s policies: policies that had relegated it to ‘the status of a Fuzzy Wuzzy colony ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... Oaken stumps of footways through the Somerset Levels surface during droughts. In Wester Ross, cairns of stones at the roadside between Torridon and Diabaig show that this was a corpse road – where the coffin was set down and the bearers enjoyed a breather and a dram – long before the tarmac was rolled through. In Malta and Cappadocia deep grooves in ...

Banksability

Ian Sansom: Iain Banks, 5 December 2013

The Quarry 
by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 326 pp., £18.99, June 2013, 978 1 4087 0394 6
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... can he be held responsible for his male characters’ misogyny? – was begun by the critic Craig Cairns in his book ‘Complicity’: A Reader’s Guide (2002). I’d hope any scholarly study would devote a chapter to the question of Banks’s women, and be able to tell me exactly what’s unsettling about this sentence from The ...

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