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Visions

Charles Townshend, 19 April 1984

Theobald Wolfe Tone: Colonial Outsider 
by Tom Dunne.
Tower Books, 77 pp., $1.90, December 1982, 0 902568 07 8
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Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France 
by Marianne Elliott.
Yale, 411 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 03 000270 2
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De Valera and the Ulster Question 1917-1973 
by John Bowman.
Oxford, 369 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 0 19 822681 0
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Sean Lemass and the Making of Modern Ireland 
by Paul Bew and Henry Patterson.
Gill, 224 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7171 1260 8
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... this ugly reality. Their incomplete mental adjustment to the fact of partition is the subject of John Bowman’s remarkable study. His revisionist stance may seem unnecessarily aggressive – it is after all no secret that in the private session of Dail Eireann on 22 December 1921 de Valera endorsed the so-called ‘county option’ – but he points ...

Reagan and Rosaleen

John Horgan, 21 June 1984

Prince of Spies: Henri Le Caron 
by J.A. Cole.
Faber, 221 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 571 13233 2
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... their tradition had provided as many as 11 US Presidents (including Grant and McKinley) before John F. Kennedy had ever been launched into public life. There is another group of American-Irish who have been largely forgotten: Catholics whose emigrant trail led them to the American South where, perhaps in the absence of suitable religious and pastoral ...

Carpetbagging in Bermondsey

Nicholas Murray, 19 August 1982

... of the property speculator, and slowly the local political establishment – ruled in Southwark by John O’Grady and his hand-picked ‘mafia’ of loyal Bermondsey councillors – began to listen to the siren songs of the speculators whose seductive promises of high rate income, ‘planning gain’, and glamorous architectural gigantisme, led them inexorably ...

You must not ask

Marina Warner, 4 January 1996

Lewis Carroll: A Biography 
by Morton Cohen.
Macmillan, 592 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 333 62926 4
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The Literary Products of the Lewis Carroll-George MacDonald Friendship 
by John Docherty.
Edwin Mellen, 420 pp., £69.95, July 1995, 0 7734 9038 8
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... the social changes that inaugurated his decline. His love objects were not usually girls, though John Betjeman, sighing over thighs, caught the authentic tone of enraptured and impotent yearning. Morton Cohen is, however, at pains to rescue Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (‘Lewis Carroll’) from this galère, and to present him as a well-rounded, sociable ...

Redheads in Normandy

R.W. Johnson: The 1997 election, 22 January 1998

The British General Election of 1997 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 343 pp., £17.50, November 1997, 0 333 64776 9
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Labour's Landslide 
by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge.
Manchester, 211 pp., £40, December 1997, 0 7190 5159 2
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Britain Votes 1997 
edited by Pippa Norris and Neil Gavin.
Oxford, 253 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 9780199223220
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Collapse of Stout Party: The Decline and Fall of the Tories 
by Julian Crtitchley and Morrison Halcrow.
Gollancz, 288 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 575 06277 0
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Les Election Legislatives, 25 Mai-1er Juin 1997: Le president desavoue 
Le Monde, 146 pp., frs 45, June 1998Show More
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... really work: readers are not going to do the necessary regression analysis to make sense of it. John Curtice and Michael Steed also produce an immensely careful and laborious analysis of constituency results, their main conclusion being to confirm that the economy was not the master issue which moved the electorate. The Norris and Gavin volume contains a ...

Self-Positioning

Stefan Collini: The Movement, 25 June 2009

The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... volume contained work by eight poets: Robert Conquest, D.J. Enright, Kingsley Amis, Donald Davie, John Holloway, Elizabeth Jennings, Philip Larkin and John Wain, to which list Conquest’s volume added the name of Thom Gunn. Insofar as there has ever been agreement on the matter, the Movement has been taken to consist of ...

Flightiness

Marina Warner: Airborne Females, 30 August 2018

Women Who Fly: Goddesses, Witches, Mystics and Other Airborne Females 
by Serinity Young.
Oxford, 432 pp., £19.99, May 2018, 978 0 19 530788 7
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... and butterflies to realise Titania’s fairy attendants accurately and Victorian artists such as John Anster Fitzgerald also borrowed features from the insect world to make their fairylands convincing. Today, through the ingenuities of CGI, many of these hybrids now speak and weep, appearing convincingly embodied and entirely sentient. Entertainments, from ...

Homer Inc

Edward Luttwak, 23 February 2012

The Iliad by Homer 
translated by Stephen Mitchell.
Weidenfeld, 463 pp., £25, October 2011, 978 0 297 85973 4
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... often depicted on pots. But until the 1952 decipherment of Linear B by Michael Ventris and John Chadwick, the ruling orthodoxy was that a hypothesised ‘Minoan’ was the (un-Greek) language of the palace culture of Crete and the Mycenaean settlements, so that the origins of the Iliad must come after that, not earlier than the start of the first ...

Here you are talking about duck again

Mark Ford: Larkin’s Letters Home, 20 June 2019

Philip Larkin: Letters Home, 1936-77 
edited by James Booth.
Faber, 688 pp., £40, November 2018, 978 0 571 33559 6
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... concludes his introduction to All What Jazz (1970), a collection of mainly unimpressed reviews of John Coltrane, Miles Davis et al that initially appeared in the Telegraph. ‘Sometimes I imagine them,’ he muses of the readers of his monthly column,sullen fleshy inarticulate men, stockbrokers, sellers of goods, living in thirty-year-old detached houses ...

Boomerang

Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... Very good entries on Law (Ross Cranston), Culture (Richard White) and on K.R. Murdoch (David Bowman) are exceptions to the general level. Even granting their own terms – those of closed and authoritative, rather than open and provisional history – the Dictionary and chronology could be much more imaginative; on a reprinting, they should be ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin, 25 March 1993

Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... seemingly confined to his choice of socks. At Wellington he starts walking out with Ruth Bowman, ‘a 16-year-old schoolgirl and regular borrower from the library’. This period of Larkin’s life is quite touching and reads like a Fifties novel of provincial life, though not one written by him so much as by ...

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