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Diary

J.P. Stern: This great wall has fallen down, 7 December 1989

... audience fail to recall the rest of that slogan: ein Reich, ein Führer? This of course is what Conor CruiseO’Brien meant when (in an article reported in the German press with astonishment) he warned of a Fourth Reich with a statue to Hitler in every town. (It is no thanks to Dr ...

Burke and History

Owen Dudley Edwards, 22 January 1981

Edmund Burke and the Critique of Political Radicalism 
by Michael Freeman.
Blackwell, 250 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 631 11171 9
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Burke 
by C.B. Macpherson.
Oxford, 83 pp., £4.50, October 1980, 0 19 287518 3
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... began by showing the importance of Burke to the Left and the lessons he has to offer. Conor CruiseO’Brien has examined Burke’s relationship to revolution in several papers which offer fascinating fore-tastes of the biography he has in the making: among other points he has established significant ...
... of his editor but of three or four other senior staff members as well – notably the columnist Conor CruiseO’Brien, the financial writer William Keegan, and, in all probability, the political editor Adam Raphael. If he hasn’t sacked them yet, it may only be because he finds himself strapped in by the conditions ...

The devil has two horns

J.G.A. Pocock, 24 February 1994

The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Minerva, 692 pp., £8.99, September 1993, 0 7493 9721 7
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... Conor CruiseO’Brien’s majestic study takes rise from two lines of Yeats: American colonies, Ireland, France and India Harried, and Burke’s great melody against it. The problem is how to use the first line to answer two questions: how did the ‘great melody’ come to be uttered; and what exactly was ‘it’? Yeats answered the latter: Whether they knew or not, Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery? A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind That never looked out of the eye of a saint Or out of a drunkard’s eye ...

Down among the press lords

Alan Rusbridger, 3 March 1983

The Life and Death of the Press Barons 
by Piers Brendon.
Secker, 288 pp., £12.50, December 1982, 0 436 06811 7
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... the collar a couple of years ago when he stitched up a deal to buy the paper off an old friend. Conor CruiseO’Brien wrote at the time: ‘I am not going to ask that Mr Rowland’s ink should print on Mr Rowland’s newsprint such words as might induce fits in Mr Rowland. I do not know whether, if I did write such ...

Powerful People

D.A.N. Jones, 15 October 1987

Anthills of the Savannah 
by Chinua Achebe.
Heinemann, 233 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 434 00604 1
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Familiar Wars 
by Julietta Harvey.
Joseph, 251 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 7181 2823 0
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Lenin: The Novel 
by Alan Brien.
Secker, 703 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 436 06840 0
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... civil servants, police chiefs – he knows what he is talking about. He is something like Conor CruiseO’Brien in this respect, better informed about government than most novelists and professors. Anthills of the Savannah is comparable with A Man of the People partly because it concerns a statesman ...

A Chance for the Irish Right

John Horgan, 21 April 1983

The Irish Labour Party in Transition 1957-82 
by Michael Gallagher.
Manchester, 326 pp., £19.50, January 1983, 0 7190 0866 2
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... assisted, as he sagely remarks, by the fact that for a considerable time its Northern spokesman, Conor CruiseO’Brien, occupied one end of the spectrum of opinion rather than the centre. An interesting contrast with Britain is that the more militant, ‘Brits Out’ type of sentiment is associated, in the Irish ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic, 27 May 1999

... are more permeable than they are made out to be.’ Karl Miller celebrates the ‘amphibian’ Conor CruiseO’Brien as a particularly striking example of distinction in the academy, in politics and in journalism. Marjorie Perloff offers a spirited demonstration of the incompetence and irresponsibility of much ...

Anti-Writer

Clair Wills: Plain Brian O’Nolan, 4 April 2019

The Collected Letters of Flann O’Brien 
edited by Maebh Long.
Dalkey Archive, 619 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 1 62897 183 5
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... In March​ 1957 Brian O’Nolan – better known under his pen names Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen – then aged 45, applied for a series of jobs at the radio broadcasting studios in Cork, including station supervisor, programme assistant, and balance and control officer. The same month he announced his candidacy for the Irish Senate ...

On (Not) Saying What You Mean

Colm Tóibín, 30 November 1995

... power in 1973, the Irish middle class, new and old, had, in the cabinet, voices of reason, such as Conor CruiseO’Brien and Garret FitzGerald, to lead them away from a notion of their Irish heritage as something dark, catastrophic and violent towards the bright light of European Union and Anglo-Irish Agreement. I went ...

At the Fairground

Tom Nairn, 20 March 1997

Republics, Nations and Tribes 
by Martin Thom.
Verso, 359 pp., £45, July 1995, 1 85984 020 5
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... History of Humanity. Yet quite a few gloomsters were not checked in, notably éminence noire Conor CruiseO’Brien. Was the Indie trying to cheer us up? Or perhaps it was offering a little consolation to those already suffering from the fin-de-siècle drowning sensation. More serious victims might also try ...

Keith Middlemas on the history of Ireland

Keith Middlemas, 22 January 1981

Ireland: Land of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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Neighbours 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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Ireland: A History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... English who failed becomes at once an expiation for and a celebration of the past. It is left to O’Brien to find hope – in changes of attitude in the Republic, in the economic context of the EEC, or in the realism that Bailey, too, sees seeping through cracks in the carapace of Ulster’s dogma. By these latter standards, it is the outsiders who are ...

Fear in the Miracle Nation

R.W. Johnson, 2 November 1995

The Liberal Slideaway 
by Jill Wentzel.
South African Institute of Race Relations, 430 pp., R 59.99, October 1995, 0 86982 445 7
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... smokescreen behind which to hide increasingly severe socioeconomic repression’. When Conor CruiseO’Brien was prevented by radical students from lecturing at the University of Cape Town in 1986, the University solemnly proclaimed that, by virtue of apartheid, academic freedom did not exist at UCT in any ...

Local Heroes

John Horgan, 7 February 1985

Elections, Politics and Society in Ireland 1832-1885 
by Theodore Hoppen.
Oxford, 569 pp., £29.50, October 1984, 0 19 822630 6
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Ireland and the English Crisis 
by Tom Paulin.
Bloodaxe, 222 pp., £12.95, January 1985, 0 906427 63 0
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The Great Dan: A Biography of Daniel O’Connell 
by Charles Chenevix Trench.
Cape, 345 pp., £10.95, September 1984, 0 224 02176 1
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... 1980 that the union with Britain was essential, but has travelled quite a distance since then. Conor CruiseO’Brien, meanwhile, has been voyaging in the opposite direction, setting out as a dutiful supporter of the Anti-Partition League and ending up as undoubtedly the Northern Unionists’ favourite Southern ...

The Revolution is over

R.W. Johnson, 16 February 1989

The Permanent Revolution: The French Revolution and its Legacy 1789-1989 
edited by Geoffrey Best.
Fontana, 241 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 00 686056 7
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... to feel quite comfortable with it. Take even so central an event as the execution of the King. As Conor CruiseO’Brien points out, for anyone committed to the notion of popular sovereignty the very existence of a king was an attack on all one held most dear, a crime against the nation – the King’s indictment ...

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