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Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism

Slavoj Žižek: Václav Havel, 28 October 1999

Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts 
by John Keane.
Bloomsbury, 532 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7475 4458 1
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... his suffering by marrying the princess, he is married to a beautiful movie actress. Why, then, has John Keane chosen as the subtitle of his biography ‘A Political Tragedy in Six Acts’? In the Seventies, when Havel was still a relatively unknown Czech dissident writer, Keane played a crucial role in making him known ...

The Interregnum

Martin Jacques: The Nation-state isn’t dead, 5 February 2004

Empire of Capital 
by Ellen Meiksins Wood.
Verso, 182 pp., £15, July 2003, 1 85984 502 9
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Empire Lite: Nation-Building in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Vintage, 134 pp., £6.99, May 2003, 0 09 945543 9
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Global Civil Society? 
by John Keane.
Cambridge, 220 pp., £40, April 2003, 0 521 81543 6
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Global Civil Society: An Answer to War 
by Mary Kaldor.
Polity, 189 pp., £45, April 2003, 0 7456 2757 9
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... that used to threaten the ‘axis of evil’. The idea of global civil society, as Mary Kaldor and John Keane both suggest, also belongs to the 1990s. They argue that civil society is no longer confined to territorial borders – Kaldor refers to ‘the domestication of the international’ – and seek to make sense of, and conceptualise, the growing ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Football and Currie, 17 October 2002

... of wider perspectives and responsibilities. If there were any doubt about that, the publication of Keane (Michael Joseph, £17.99), the autobiography of the Manchester United player, ghost-written by the footballer-turned-journalist Eamon Dunphy, would clear it up. The book has already been all over the newspapers, for a passage concerning ...

The Positions He Takes

John Barrell: Hitchens on Paine, 30 November 2006

Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’: A Biography 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2006, 1 84354 513 6
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... Part Two, and to escape arrest he fled to France, accompanied by the Wykehamist gentleman-lawyer John Frost, described by Hitchens as secretary of the London Corresponding Society. The LCS was a society of radical artisans, not a gentleman’s club, and its secretary was in fact the shoemaker Thomas Hardy. The trial proceeded in Paine’s absence, and ...

Subjects or Aliens?

Matthew Kelly: Postwar Irish Migration, 9 October 2008

The Irish in Postwar Britain 
by Enda Delaney.
Oxford, 232 pp., £55, September 2007, 978 0 19 927667 7
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... Irish, many of them young women. Among its employees was my grandfather Sean (known in Britain as John), who drove a District Line train until ill-health forced him to retire in the 1970s. Irish muscle was most useful to the expanding building trade, reviving the clichéd image of the Irish navvy. The Irish were good workers who took pride in the belief that ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Censorship in Ireland, 21 March 2013

... it is?’ ‘No,’ said the man, and he shook out his newspaper, leaving my father to walk away. John McGahern went to London in 1954 to work for a few months on the building sites: ‘When I walked off the boat at Holyhead to the waiting London train – and thought of Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, all the great English writers I had read and studied – I ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... among his many books, seems to give pride of place to a blockbuster history of the Cold War. Dr John Lewis, editor of the Modern Quarterly, so far from being, as Inglis would have it in one of his punchy characterisations, a ‘hard nut’ of the Communist Party, was an ex-Unitarian minister, much given to moral discourse and retaining a distinctly clerical ...

Diary

John Lanchester: A Month on the Sofa, 11 July 2002

... 29 May. Everyone I know is obsessed with Roy Keane’s tournament-ending public diatribe against the Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy. ‘Who the fuck do you think you are, having meetings about me? You were a crap player, you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are manager of my country and you’re not even Irish, you English cunt ...

Young and Old

John Sutherland, 15 October 1981

Life Stories 
by A.L. Barker.
Hogarth, 319 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7012 0538 5
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Many Men and Talking Wives 
by Helen Muir.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1613 7
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Good Behaviour 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 9780233973326
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A Separate Development 
by Christopher Hope.
Routledge, 199 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7100 0954 2
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From Little Acorns 
by Howard Buten.
Harvester, 156 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7108 0390 7
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Fortnight’s Anger 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 85635 376 0
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... best-seller in America and Ireland. In early autumn the novel was published in Britain, and Molly Keane joined six others on this year’s somewhat extended list of Booker Prize candidates. One might suspect hype in reports of this extraordinary come-back story. But in fact Good Behaviour is as successful a novel as Deutsch’s hand-outs claim it to be. It ...

Diary

Thomas Jones: The Last Days of eBay, 19 June 2008

... to go to in the basements and back rooms of North London pubs was an indie guitar group called Keane. One Friday night in the early summer of 2001 at the Monarch on Chalk Farm Road, my girlfriend gave their manager (an ex-boyfriend of hers) a couple of quid for a homemade CD. ‘That’ll be worth a lot of money one day,’ he said. I assumed he was ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... about middle-aged women suffering. They were Moore’s The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955), John McGahern’s The Barracks (1961) and Aidan Higgins’s Langrishe, Go Down (1966). It is no coincidence, either, that the best novels about men in the period after independence dealt with figures in extreme and exquisite isolation, as in the novels of Beckett ...

Fergie Time

David Runciman: Sir Alex Speaks (again), 9 January 2014

My Autobiography 
by Alex Ferguson.
Hodder, 402 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 340 91939 2
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... incidents he prefers to gloss over. Ferguson had a share in the horse with the Irish businessman John Magnier, a very wealthy man whose interests (in conjunction with his associate J.P. McManus) ranged from stud farms to currency trading. What started out as a bit of fun turned deadly serious once Rock of Gibraltar began winning race after race, making him ...

He’ll have brought it on Himself

Colm Tóibín, 22 May 1997

Sex, Nation and Dissent in Irish Writing 
edited by Éibhear Walshe.
Cork, 210 pp., £40, April 1997, 1 85918 013 2
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Gooddbye to Catholic Ireland 
by Mary Kenny.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 320 pp., £20, March 1997, 1 85619 751 4
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... it is a history of coercion and control. The figure who emerges from it most strongly is John Charles McQuaid, the Archbishop of Dublin between 1940 and 1972, who stopped Noel Browne, the Minister for Health in 1951, from introducing a health scheme for mothers, thereby bringing down the Government, and who insisted that ...

Crow

Peter Campbell, 5 January 1989

The Letter of Marque 
by Patrick O’Brian.
Collins, 284 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780241125434
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Klara 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 347 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 241 12527 8
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From Rockaway 
by Jill Eisenstadt.
Penguin, 214 pp., £3.99, September 1988, 0 14 010347 3
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The High Road 
by Edna O’Brien.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £10.95, October 1988, 0 297 79493 0
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Loving and Giving 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 226 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 223 98346 2
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Tracks 
by Louise Erdrich.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 9780241125434
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... his reinstatement on the Navy List is promised. Despite such plots O’Brian’s Aubrey novels, as John Bayley has said in this paper, are ‘emphatically not adventure stories, or the sort of mechanical marine thrillers which sprang up in the wake of C.S. Forester’. For one thing, delicacy and generosity of feeling are constant themes in O’Brian’s ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: Summer in Donegal, 16 September 1999

... some mail through the bedroom window, among it a Jiffy bag with a book in it from a Dublin friend, John, the nephew I recall of the Unionist doctor who found that bronze pin all those years ago. In the book, Trees of Ireland: Native and Naturalised, I read under Hazel: ‘Fruit, a true nut, egg-shaped, up to 2cm long, pale green becoming brown with woody ...

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