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Highlight of Stay So Far

Stefan Collini: Beckett’s Letters

1 December 2016
The Letters of Samuel Beckett Vol. IV: 1966-89 
edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 838 pp., £29.99, September 2016, 978 0 521 86796 2
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... likes me or why I like him.’ Presumably it wasn’t because each was attracted to the other’s bubbly optimism. When trying to console his close friend Jocelyn Herbert on the death of her partner, George Devine, Beckett suggests there is one possible form of solace or at least distraction: ‘Work hard labour & not much comfort, but a great deadener.’ Or, rather, in his own case it would be if he ...

On Needing to Be Looked After

Tim Parks: Beckett’s Letters

1 December 2011
The Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1941-56 
edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 791 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 521 86794 8
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... the nature of that work and the huge leap forward he was making, these details that Beckett apologises for mostly have to do with his difficulties getting published: ‘My play in French,’ he tells George Reavey of Eleutheria, ‘was almost taken by Hussenot-Grenier,’ while ‘Watt was “nearly” taken in London, I forget by whom’ (a footnote informs us that Herbert Read at Routledge read the ...
2 January 1997
The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Writers and the Problem of Power, 1770-1871 
by Gordon A. Craig.
Oxford, 190 pp., £22.50, July 1995, 0 19 509499 9
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... does suggest some reconsideration of what we mean by power and the abuse of power, among writers and intellectuals no less than among businessmen or professionals. This is familiar terrain for Gordon Craig. Born a year before the First World War, Craig first visited Germany in 1935, to research an undergraduate thesis on the Weimar Republic. He made his name as a historian in the Fifties, with an ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode

24 February 1994
The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... down her cheek? I can only guess why Shirley Williams is carrying a copy of the News Chronicle, or why Jimmy Hill has an Arab headdress, or why Lord Home stands bat in hand before a broken wicket. Craig Brown says that in his caricatures Boxer mixed ‘the base and the suave’, but there is not a lot of baseness here, not much of the Rowlandson; and such fluent drawing can hardly help flattering ...

Exit Humbug

David Edgar: Theatrical Families

1 January 2009
A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 620 pp., £25, September 2008, 978 0 7011 7987 8
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... followed their parents into the business, though inevitably they were overshadowed. Laurence and Harry Irving were both actors (the former was a playwright as well). Terry’s daughter, Edith (Edy) Craig, had a career as a designer, director and producer of feminist plays; her brother, Edward Gordon Craig, acted with Irving, but became disillusioned with the English theatre and, like other maverick ...
16 September 1982
Pea Soup 
by Christopher Reid.
Oxford, 65 pp., £4.50, September 1982, 0 19 211952 4
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... background: a language code in which art can try to reveal nothing but itself, its own message as a great deal of medium. In the hands of brilliant performers such as Christopher Reid, John Fuller or Craig Raine, the results can be extremely variegated and highly satisfying. It is of course misleading to put such names together – they are as different from each other as from any other poets writing ...
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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... calculations for more than very short periods, and never more than dimly seen by an English electorate. Even for Gladstone’s Liberal colleagues (though not for him), and for Elizabeth I or Lloyd George, they were a costly and debilitating diversion from more important matters. But except in the late 18th century, Ireland denied its administrators, even full-time, well-meaning ones, the illusion ...

Unbosoming

Peter Barham: Madness in the nineteenth century

17 August 2006
Madness at Home: The Psychiatrist, the Patient and the Family in England 1820-60 
by Akihito Suzuki.
California, 260 pp., £32.50, March 2006, 0 520 24580 6
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... defence, they were unable to produce a single example of Davies’s so-called ‘delusions’. This was one of the cases that proved to be the undoing of the well-known alienist and self-publicist George Man Burrows (who had quite a stock of delusions of his own, among them that he could smell madness and detect a ‘maniacal odour’). He was given a keelhauling in the press for his arrogance and ...

Renaissance

Patricia Craig

2 March 1989
Fictions of the Irish Literary Revival: A Changling Art 
by John Wilson Foster.
Gill and Macmillan, 407 pp., £30, November 1987, 0 8156 2374 7
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... It’s one of Foster’s principal concerns, in this study, to examine the realistic strand in revival writing – not omitting would-be realism and its departures from reality. We have, for example, George Moore, whose emphasis on self-realisation prefigureed that of Joyce, and furnished an antidote to the kind of self-effacement, in the interests of some nationalist ideal, required by the revival of ...

Dan’s Fate

Craig​ Raine

3 October 1985
Time and Time Again 
by Dan Jacobson.
Deutsch, 213 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 233 97804 6
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... reader constantly asks why? Autobiography apparently answers this question before it can be asked: incidents, details, are included because they happened. Yet take the essay ‘Fate, Art, Love, and George’, which is an account of how Dan Jacobson came to marry his wife. It was, you could say, an accident. In bald summary, George, a virtual stranger to the author, by making an enquiry about economics ...

The Atmosphere of the Clyde

Jean McNicol: Red Clydeside

22 December 2019
When the Clyde Ran Red: A Social History of Red Clydeside 
by Maggie Craig.
Birlinn, 313 pp., £9.99, March 2018, 978 1 78027 506 2
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Glasgow 1919: The Rise of Red Clydeside 
by Kenny MacAskill.
Biteback, 310 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 1 78590 454 7
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John Maclean: Hero of Red Clydeside 
by Henry Bell.
Pluto, 242 pp., £14.99, October 2018, 978 0 7453 3838 5
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... which was by far the most powerful body in the Labour Party in Scotland. The atmosphere of the Clyde in the early 20th century was in large part its creation. In When the Clyde Ran Red, Maggie Craig quotes an article published in the Times just after the 1922 election which suspiciously lists some of the things organised by the ILP: ‘Socialist study circles, socialist economics classes ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: In Donegal

8 October 1992
... In the introduction to her excellent – indeed seminal and unprecedented – anthology of Ulster prose,* Patricia Craig remarks that for her collection Northern Ireland is to be regarded as ‘a geographical rather than a political entity; it consists of seven counties, not the partitioned six or the historic nine ...

Getting on

Patricia Craig

17 September 1987
The Golden Bird: Two Orkney Stories 
by George​ Mackay Brown.
Murray, 226 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 7195 4385 1
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The Upper Hand 
by Stuart Hood.
Carcanet, 186 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 85635 719 7
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Dreams of Dead Women’s Handbags 
by Shena Mackay.
Heinemann, 160 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 434 44044 2
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... all costs. In the early 1960s, for example, Irish-language enthusiasts opposed the introduction of television into the Gaedhaltacht areas of Donegal, out of apprehension about its Anglicising effect. George Mackay Brown’s Orkney is an unfamiliar, off-shore locality in which everything seems a little richer through being both concentrated and chancy. How long can its distinctive character survive? It ...

The Shirt of Nessan

Patricia Craig

9 October 1986
The Free Frenchman 
by Piers Paul Read.
Secker, 570 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 40966 6
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Dizzy’s Woman 
by George​ MacBeth.
Cape, 171 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 224 02801 4
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On Foreign Ground 
by Eduardo Quiroga.
Deutsch, 92 pp., £7.95, April 1986, 0 233 97894 1
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A New Shirt 
by Desmond Hogan.
Hamish Hamilton, 215 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 241 11928 6
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... disunity, the novelist has the de Roujay family, and its connections, opting for widely divergent political standpoints. Some potentially loose ends are gathered up in the last page or two. George MacBeth’s declared intention is to supply a want. In the series of letters exchanged between Benjamin Disraeli and Frances Anne Vane-Tempest, Lady Londonderry (known as ‘Vane’) there’s an ...

Taking the hint

David Craig

5 January 1989
The King’s Jaunt: George​ IV in Scotland, 1822 
by John Prebble.
Collins, 399 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 00 215404 8
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... fur sporran, had I been able (aged nine) to find out from such a book as this latest work of John Prebble’s that all these tartans were nothing but hype: a stunt devised chiefly by Scott to make George IV’s visit to Edinburgh in August 1822 as splendiferous as possible. In his anonymous shilling pamphlet ‘HINTS addressed to the INHABITANTS OF EDINBURGH AND OTHERS in prospect of HIS MAJESTY’S ...

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