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Valorising Valentine Brown

Patricia Craig, 5 September 1985

Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History from 1789 to 1939 
by W.J. McCormack.
Oxford, 423 pp., £27.50, June 1985, 0 19 812806 1
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Across a Roaring Hill 
edited by Gerald Dawe and Edna Longley.
Blackstaff, 258 pp., £10.95, July 1985, 0 85640 334 2
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Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880-1980 
by Seamus Deane.
Faber, 199 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 571 13500 5
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Escape from the Anthill 
by Hubert Butler.
Lilliput, 342 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 946640 00 9
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... keeping with the properties of the present. ‘His nationalism tottered on the brink of racism,’ Hubert Butler noted in 1968, in one of the pieces assembled in Escape from the Anthill. Deane doesn’t go as far as this in his appraisal of the architect of 1916: but he does, astutely, connect Pearse’s Gaelic revivalism with ‘what used to be called ...


Edna Longley: Ireland by Others, 17 September 1987

... from Yeats. This had a political as well as a literary-political thrust. Even in the 1950s Hubert Butler thought the ‘Anglo-Irish contribution to letters ... a chief focus of psychological disturbance’. Perhaps Irish poetry has only gradually lost the idea, absorbed from Irish politics, that you replace one tradition with another, rather than ...

No boozing, no donkeys

George O’Brien: Hugo Hamilton, 10 July 2003

The Speckled People 
by Hugo Hamilton.
Fourth Estate, 298 pp., £15.99, February 2003, 0 00 714805 4
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... his clergy in Croatia during World War Two were given to the Irish public in the early 1950s by Hubert Butler. Nobody in Ireland could ever believe that priests helped the Nazis to kill children and save their souls. Nobody could ever believe Catholic priests helped a big SS man named Artukovic to escape to Ireland after the war and live in Dublin for ...

The Intrusive Apostrophe

Fintan O’Toole, 23 June 1994

Sean O’Faolain: A Life 
by Maurice Harmon.
Constable, 326 pp., £16.95, May 1994, 0 09 470140 7
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Vive Moi! An Autobiography 
by Sean O’Faolain.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 377 pp., £20, November 1993, 1 85619 376 4
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... of the Irish democracy that is now finally coming into its own. With a handful of allies – Hubert Butler, Peadar O’Donnell and Owen Sheehy Skeffington – he virtually invented civil society in the Republic, standing up to sectarianism and censorship, insisting on an inclusive democracy, challenging stereotypes of the Northern ...

Lust for Leaks

Neal Ascherson: The Cockburns of Cork, 1 September 2005

The Broken Boy 
by Patrick Cockburn.
Cape, 312 pp., £15.99, June 2005, 0 224 07108 4
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... he had mentioned the minority among that gentry who tried to create a new Irish future. The late Hubert Butler of Kilkenny, from an Ascendancy clan himself, used to claim that it was Anglo-Irish men and women, inspired by their Protestant ‘right of private judgment’, who had laid the foundations not only for Irish independence but for the revival of ...

Hillside Men

Roy Foster: Ernie O’Malley, 16 July 1998

Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual 
by Richard English.
Oxford, 284 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 01 982059 3
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... an eclectic range of contributors: Elizabeth Bowen, John Hewitt, Louis MacNeice, Patrick Kavanagh, Hubert Butler, Flann O’Brien, Liam O’Flaherty and others. ‘Cannot we all meet, throwing in what we have?’ Bowen wrote in her essay ‘The Big House’, published in the Bell’s first issue. The magazine accordingly stood for pluralism and ...

Advised by experts

David Worswick, 21 December 1989

The Economic Section, 1939-1961: A Study in Economic Advising 
by Alec Cairncross and Nita Watts.
Routledge, 372 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03173 7
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The Robert Hall Diaries. Vol. I: 1947-1953 
edited by Alec Cairncross.
Unwin Hyman, 400 pp., £40, May 1989, 9780044452737
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... one of its committees, on Economic Information, which included Josiah Stamp, Maynard Keynes and Hubert Henderson, continued until the war, making regular reports to the Treasury. As war grew near, the Government asked Lord Stamp to make a survey of the preparations for war being made by the separate departments, and to make recommendations. From this survey ...

Protocols of Sèvres

Keith Kyle, 21 January 1988

The Failure of the Eden Government 
by Richard Lamb.
Sidgwick, 340 pp., £16.95, October 1987, 0 283 99534 3
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... moved into No 10 and won his election than the economy began to behave in a disturbing way. R.A. Butler had obliged in April with a pre-election giveaway Budget, but by the late summer it seemed as if it would be necessary to take it all back again in September. The records show that Eden planned to recall Parliament early, then cancelled the idea. Lamb ...

How Left was he?

Paul Addison, 7 January 1993

John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour 1920-1937 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 731 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 333 37138 0
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Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography 
by D.E. Moggridge.
Routledge, 941 pp., £35, April 1992, 9780415051415
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... campaigned with Lloyd George and the Liberal Party for a programme of public works and wrote with Hubert Henderson the Liberal manifesto, ‘We can conquer unemployment’. When the Liberals went down to defeat and Labour took office, Keynes continued to press for changes in policy in his evidence to the Macmillan Committee. But the Labour Government ...

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler, 17 July 1997

Personal History 
by Katharine Graham.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £25, May 1997, 9780297819646
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... house by crawling through a dressing-room window left open by prior arrangement with the butler, secured an assurance of loyalty from Dillon, and rushed back to Kennedy, who gave Dillon the job. Graham also recommended his friend David Bruce for Secretary of State, advice the President-elect didn’t take, choosing Dean Rusk instead. At Graham’s ...

Stick to the Latin

R.W. Johnson, 23 January 1997

Enoch Powell 
by Robert Shepherd.
Hutchinson, 564 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 09 179208 8
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... in the book is between Powell and Macmillan. Powell loathed Macmillan for getting the better of Butler: ‘One of the most horrible things that I remember in politics was ... seeing the way in which Harold Macmillan, with all the skill of the old actor manager, succeeded in false-footing Rab. The sheer devilry of it verged upon the disgusting.’ He ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... him, on an every-man-for-himself chat-show with Germaine Greer, about his fascination with the Hubert Selby side of life. Boxing gyms, jails, barracks, the occasions of sodomy. The practice of sodomy. He appeared riveted, in book after book, by its warped relation to the tough-guy ethos. Had this ever been a problem for him personally? I miscued the ...

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