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Prinney, Boney, Boot

Roy Porter, 20 March 1986

The English Satirical Print 1600-1832 
edited by Michael Duffy.
Chadwyck-Healey, February 1986
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... within the rich cultures and subcultures of agitation in and out of doors. In the light of this, Michael Duffy, as general editor of this series, has rightly decided that a substantial explanatory introduction was needed for each volume and he has assembled a first-rate team of historians to address such problems. Several have interpreted their brief as ...

Megalomaniac and Loser

Norman Hampson, 21 March 1985

Beyond the Terror: Essays in French Regional and Social History 1794-1815 
edited by Gwynne Lewis and Colin Lucas.
Cambridge, 276 pp., £22.50, October 1983, 0 521 25114 1
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Chouannerie and Counter-Revolution: Puisaye, the Princes and the British Government in the 1790s 
by Maurice Hutt.
Cambridge, 630 pp., £60, December 1983, 0 521 22603 1
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Britain and Revolutionary France: Conflict, Subversion and Propaganda 
edited by Colin Jones.
Exeter, 96 pp., £1.75, June 1983, 0 85989 179 8
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... the wind, but a majestic fighting machine all the same. This is not the impression given by Michael Duffy in his brisk and lively contribution to Britain and Revolutionary France, a volume of essays edited by Colin Jones and published by the University of Exeter. Duffy accuses Pitt and the government he led of ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition, 21 January 1999

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... Dáil Éireann was proscribed in September 1919. In the subsequent guerrilla warfare of 1919-21 Michael Collins, the Minister for Finance and Director of Intelligence of the Volunteers or Irish Republican Army, rose to prominence. In 1920 Britain established Home Rule states – one substantive, comprising the six Unionist-majority north-eastern ...

Shee Spy

Michael Dobson, 8 May 1997

The Secret Life of Aphra Behn 
by Janet Todd.
Deutsch, 545 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 233 98991 9
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... Twenty years ago, when Maureen Duffy first published The Passionate Shepherdess: Aphra Behn, 1640-89, Behn was still known principally as the celebrated but largely unread founder of women’s writing, the figure who had been hymned but effectively dismissed by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own (1929). ‘All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds,’ Woolf wrote, only to declare Behn’s actual writings to be so much cheerful hack-work, of interest only as the hack-work of a woman ...

In search of Eaffry Johnson

Brigid Brophy, 22 January 1981

Reconstructing Aphra 
by Angeline Goreau.
Oxford, 339 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 19 822663 2
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... I found the record of Aphra Behn’s baptism in the course of playing amanuensis to Maureen Duffy, of whom I was at that time a colleague, in her research for her biography of Aphra Behn. The terms of the problem were these. External evidence shows that Aphra Behn must have been born within a couple of years on either side of 1640. There are three ...

Breast Cancer Screening

Paul Taylor, 5 June 2014

... that screening may not reduce mortality in women of any age, however disappointing that may be.’ Michael Baum, now emeritus professor of surgery at University College London, was instrumental in setting up the UK programme, but resigned from the governing committee of the NHS Breast Screening Programme in 1997, arguing that the information disseminated by ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... Kavanagh’, having recently married Pat Kavanagh, the literary agent, who is the dedicatee of Duffy. Harder to crack is the pseudonymous code of Michael Crichton, the omnicompetent ‘movelist’. (He is author of The Andromeda Strain, director and producer of Coma, director and scriptwriter of Westworld.) Crichton ...

The Perfect Pattern of a Prelate

Eamon Duffy: Pius XII and the Jews, 26 September 2013

The Life and Pontificate of Pope Pius XII: Between History and Controversy 
by Frank Coppa.
Catholic University of America, 306 pp., £25.50, February 2013, 978 0 8132 2016 1
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The Pope’s Jews: The Vatican’s Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis 
by Gordon Thomas.
Robson, 336 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 506 8
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Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII 
by Robert Ventresca.
Harvard, 405 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 674 04961 1
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... the press, their contrasting positions sufficiently indicated by two representative titles – Michael O’Carroll’s Pius XII: Greatness Dishonoured and John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. The case against Pacelli is both complex and cumulative. As nuncio in Munich he experienced the seizure of power by the communists, led ...

Nohow, Worstward, Withersoever

Patrick Parrinder, 9 November 1989

Stirrings Still 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 25 pp., £1,000, March 1989, 0 7145 4142 7
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Nohow On: Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 128 pp., £10.95, February 1989, 0 7145 4111 7
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‘Make sense who may’: Essays on Samuel Beckett’s Later Works 
edited by Robin Davis and Lance Butler.
Smythe, 175 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 86140 286 3
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... the final sentence of another Dubliners story, ‘A Painful Case’, in which we are told of Mr Duffy that ‘He felt that he was alone.’ Both Mr Duffy and Gabriel Conroy in ‘The Dead’ are, in effect, last men contemplating the silence of universal darkness, though for Gabriel, as often in Beckett, it is a whitish ...

Christina and the Sid

Penelope Fitzgerald, 18 March 1982

Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life 
by Georgina Battiscombe.
Constable, 233 pp., £9.50, May 1981, 0 09 461950 6
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The Golden Veil 
by Paddy Kitchen.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £7.95, May 1981, 0 241 10584 6
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The Little Holland House Album 
by Edward Burne-Jones and John Christian.
Dalrymple Press, 39 pp., £38, April 1981, 0 9507301 0 6
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... in a rage, Christina could be a ripper and a smasher. The elder sister, Maria, and loyal William Michael were the ‘calms’. On ‘My heart is like a singing bird’ William’s editorial comment was: ‘I have more than once been asked whether I could account for the outburst of exuberant joy evidenced in this celebrated lyric; I am unable to do ...
Cross Channel 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 211 pp., £13.99, January 1996, 0 224 04301 3
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... smart-arse tone (like that of his wood-worm who stows away aboard the Ark, or of the private eye Duffy in the crime novels he publishes as ‘Dan Kavanagh’), thus effectively wrecking the parallel, which it is part of Barnes’s scheme to draw, between Braithwaite and the shy and bumbling Charles Bovary. In Cross Channel Barnes observes the rules of style ...

The Slightest Sardine

James Wood: A literary dragnet, 20 May 2004

The Oxford English Literary History. Vol. XII: 1960-2000: The Last of England? 
by Randall Stevenson.
Oxford, 624 pp., £30, February 2004, 0 19 818423 9
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... be dizzy with the minor works of Julian Mitchell and Francis King and Brian Patten and Maureen Duffy. His sleep must have been poisoned for years by worries about properly dating Piers Paul Read’s A Married Man. It is, in fact, a disaster to fill a book like this with storms of names and endless lists; narrative gets shouted down by the encyclopedic. But ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: On Michael Collins, 28 November 1996

... a complication has emerged, which threatens to bar our family’s return to its amnesiac state. Michael Collins, Neil Jordan’s film, is not about us as a family, but we are part of its revolutionary story and provide much of its romance. In May 1917, Michael Collins came down for a few days to Longford, one of those ...

Wielded by a Wizard

Seamus Perry: Shelley’s Kind of Glee, 3 January 2019

Selected Poems and Prose 
by Percy Bysshe Shelley, edited by Jack Donovan and Cian Duffy.
Penguin, 893 pp., £12.99, January 2017, 978 0 241 25306 9
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... epigraph to the dynamic driving Shelley’s literary career’, according to the poet and critic Michael O’Neill, one of our best Shelleyan commentators. The ghostly effects that this penchant for intangibility enables in his poetry – its distinctive repertoire of veils and shadows and hauntings – are eerily magnificent and inimitably his own. No other ...

Carrying on with a foreign woman

John Sutherland, 7 November 1985

Galapagos 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 269 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 224 02847 2
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A Family Madness 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 315 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 340 38449 2
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A Storm from Paradise 
by Stuart Hood.
Carcanet, 188 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 85635 582 8
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Samarkand 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 85628 151 4
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The Sicilian 
by Mario Puzo.
Bantam, 410 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 593 01001 9
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Putting the boot in 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 192 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 224 02332 2
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... may be called an interquel. The Sicilian returns to that part of the original narrative in which Michael Corleone found refuge in Sicily. We knew that the Don-apparent married, and lost his wife by vendetta there. Now we are to understand that Michael also became involved with the bandit hero Salvatore Guiliano. Puzo’s ...

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