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Larry kept his mouth shut

Terry Eagleton: Gallows speeches, 18 October 2001

Gallows Speeches from 18th-Century Ireland 
by James Kelly.
Four Courts, 288 pp., £19.65, August 2001, 1 85182 611 4
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... gallows, as is clear from this volume of last speeches edited by the indefatigable Irish historian James Kelly. The speech from the gallows, along with the sermon, the sectarian pamphlet, the tall tale, the statement from the dock, the denunciation from the church altar and the address from the hustings, are among the most venerable of Irish literary ...

Wrong Again

Bruce Cumings: Korean War Games, 4 December 2003

... and modest compared to the exaggerations of the Bush Administration and its emissary to Pyongyang, James Kelly. Coming into office when the CIA’s ‘one or two devices’ estimate was nearly a decade old, Bush contrived to hype the threat, while at the same time downplaying the idea that its size made a difference: the North might have two or six or ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights, 20 November 2008

The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... planting the flag in Landsmark’s body. The man who appears to restrain Landsmark in the photo, James Kelly, an anti-busing leader and later a city councilman, was actually trying to prevent the assault. The photos Forman took next show that Kelly interposed himself between Rakes and Landsmark, calming the ...

A Gesture towards James Joyce

Clive James, 5 July 1984

... without apparent effort and from a standing start, He could jump up onto it backwards; Or as Gene Kelly danced an entire tracking shot over and over Until the final knee-slide ended exactly in focus, Loafers tucked pigeon-toed behind him, Perfect smile exultant, Hands thrown open saying ‘How about that?’ The gesture towards Finnegans Wake was ...

They called her Lady Di

James Buchan, 18 August 1994

Thinking Green! Essays on Environmentalism, Feminism and Non-Violence 
by Petra Kelly.
Parallax, 168 pp., £15, April 1994, 0 938077 62 7
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... On the evening of 19 October 1992, the decomposed bodies of Petra Karin Kelly and Gerd Bastian were found by police in the bedroom of the small house they shared in the village of Tannenbusch on the outskirts of Bonn. They had been dead for about three weeks. Both had been shot in the head with bullets from a little Derringer pistol ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper, 7 February 2008

The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... They found Mary Jane Kelly lying on her bed, in the dingy room she rented in Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street in Spitalfields. She was about 25 years old, a colleen from County Limerick, ‘possessed of considerable attractions’. Widowed young, she had turned, like thousands of others in late Victorian London, to prostitution ...

Gentlemen Did Not Dig

Rosemary Hill: 18th-Century Gap Years, 24 June 2010

The Society of Dilettanti: Archaeology and Identity in the British Enlightenment 
by Jason Kelly.
Yale, 366 pp., £40, January 2010, 978 0 300 15219 7
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... exchanged with the gentlemen. After that a riot broke out, the guards had to be called from St James’s to restore order and the night ended with a £100 bill for damages and a great deal of heated comment in the papers. According to one of the supper party, Charles Sackville, Earl of Middlesex, who sent an excited account of the events to his friend ...

At The Hutton Enquiry

Daniel Soar: Hutton’s Big Top, 11 September 2003

... pick up the pieces. And it will. Downing Street’s first-choice strategy for the outing of David Kelly – writing, semi-publicly, to the Intelligence and Security Committee to offer him as a witness – was vetoed by Ann Taylor MP, the Committee’s chairman, whose staff refused to be sent the suggested letter. In her testimony to the Inquiry, Taylor ...

Old Stragers

Pat Rogers, 7 May 1981

The Garrick Stage: Theatres and Audience in the 18th Century 
by Allardyce Nicoll.
Manchester, 192 pp., £14.50, April 1980, 0 7190 0768 2
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The Kemble Era: John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons and the London Stage 
by Linda Kelly.
Bodley Head, 221 pp., £8.50, April 1980, 0 370 10466 8
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Early English Stages 1300 to 1660: Vol. 3: Plays and their Makers to 1576 
by Glynne Wickham.
Routledge, 357 pp., £14.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0218 1
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... is to chronicle the career of the Kembles, brother and sister (the later dynasty is outside Linda Kelly’s scope). However, as the subtitle hints, it is also, in some indeterminate degree, a study of theatrical life in the period. It could also be described as group biography, since the principals have to share top billing with Mrs Inchbald, Sheridan, Thomas ...
A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Granta, 516 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 86207 026 1
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Richard Brinsley Sheridan: A Life 
by Linda Kelly.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 366 pp., £25, April 1997, 1 85619 207 5
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Sheridan’s Nightingale: The Story of Elizabeth Linley 
by Alan Chedzoy.
Allison and Busby, 322 pp., £15.99, April 1997, 0 7490 0264 6
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... composed exploration of Sheridan’s career’. His biography comes hard on the heels of Linda Kelly’s, and it would be comforting to report that O’Toole’s was the rehash, but the Granta puff has it the right way round, while Alan Chedzoy’s life of the first Mrs Sheridan (the noted soprano and beauty Elizabeth Linley) is more boisterously ...

Taken with Daisy

Peter Campbell, 13 September 1990

The Gate of Angels 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 168 pp., £12.95, August 1990, 0 00 223527 7
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... the ducking back and forth across the line into pastiche (there is, for example, a complete M. R. James-like ghost story) which makes, occasionally, for too-conscious artfulness. How Fred (son of the rectory) and Daisy (failed student nurse) get together and get on is not separate from other stories of 1912 – of how atomic physics was developing and of how ...

A Little Swine

Sheila Fitzpatrick: On Snitching, 3 November 2005

Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero 
by Catriona Kelly.
Granta, 352 pp., £17.99, May 2005, 1 86207 747 9
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... the heroic young Soviet denouncer of the early 1930s whose legend is the subject of Catriona Kelly’s new book. Unfortunately in Pavlik’s case the suspicious person he dobbed in was his own father, and angry relatives took revenge by murdering him. Pavlik won a lasting place in Soviet martyrology as the boy who was brave enough to put loyalty to the ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis, 4 April 2002

Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... which made him the upper classes’ favourite, and most expensive, legal confidant. In 1865, Sir James Willes wept as he sentenced Constance Kent to death for suffocating her little brother and hiding his body in the vault of an outside privy. That’s the sort of court-room occasion the Victorians loved. Newspaper agitation for the commuting of death ...

Nostalgia for the Vestry

James Buchan: Thatcherism, 30 November 2006

Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts 
by Simon Jenkins.
Allen Lane, 375 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 7139 9595 5
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... on the queen and no doubt wrote the words as an aide-memoire on the short drive back through St James Park from Buckingham Palace. It is as if on 18 June 1940 Churchill had had before him in the House of Commons a note saying Battle – France – Over – Battle – Britain – Begin. In her 11 years in power, Thatcher duly gave the public all the ...

The Party and the Army

Ronan Bennett, 21 March 1996

... plain wrong. The Sunday Times, for example, was demonstrably mistaken when it announced that Gerry Kelly, one of Sinn Fein’s chief negotiators at Stormont, is a highly placed IRA man who is not even a member of the Party. Kelly, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after the 1973 Old Bailey bombing, may or may not be a ...

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