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28 September 1989
Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 86 4701 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... me? The fields are mined and the night is long; Stick with me when the shooting starts. Richard Murphy is not a reckless poet. Those who rate him surely rate him much too highly. Ted Hughes compliments him with the anti-reckless word ‘classical’ and with ‘the gift of epic objectivity’, and Seamus Heaney praises his ‘poised and appeased ...

Clutching at Railings

Jonathan Coe: Late Flann O’Brien

23 October 2013
Plays and Teleplays 
by Flann O’Brien, edited by Daniel Keith Jernigan.
Dalkey, 434 pp., £9.50, September 2013, 978 1 56478 890 0
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The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien 
edited by Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper.
Dalkey, 158 pp., £9.50, August 2013, 978 1 56478 889 4
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... There were many wonderful running jokes in the first few years of ‘Cruiskeen Lawn’, the Irish Times column written, on and off, for almost a quarter of a century by Flann O’Brien (or, if you prefer, Myles na Gopaleen, or Brian O’Nolan). My favourite has always been the catechism of cliché. When things are few, what also are they? Far between ...
18 July 1996
The Fourth Estate 
by Jeffrey Archer.
HarperCollins, 550 pp., £16.99, May 1996, 0 00 225318 6
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Tickle the Public: One Hundred Years of the Popular Press 
by Matthew Engel.
Gollancz, 352 pp., £20, April 1996, 9780575061439
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Newspaper Power: The New National Press in Britain 
by Jeremy Tunstall.
Oxford, 441 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 19 871133 6
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... Dan Quayle, blamed that eruption of violence on the eponymous heroine of the television sitcom Murphy Brown, who was ‘mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another “lifestyle choice” ’. In the next episode of the show, Candice Bergen, playing the fictional ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Pop Poetry

25 July 2002
... like the idea that people have to be tricked into reading poetry – or bribed. According to Neil Astley, the volume’s editor, the second pivotal cinema moment for the renaissance of poetry in the popular imagination is the bit in Four Weddings and a Funeral when John Hannah reads Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ over Simon Callow’s coffin. Astley ...

Short Cuts

Jonathan Meades: This Thing Called the Future

7 September 2016
... was seen in the sky over West London for the first time in late June 1969. Less than a month later Neil Armstrong stepped from Apollo 11 onto the moon. The future had arrived. It was tangible, it was thrilling, it was now. We came to believe that we were all part of an adventure without end. This was just the beginning, the new beginning. What we didn’t ...

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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... University Belfast and a pillar of society. His father’s sister Agnes was married to Eoin MacNeill who became leader of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, countermanded the order for the 1916 Rising and later became Professor of Irish History at University College Dublin. Moore’s mother, twenty years younger than his father, had been a nurse at the hospital ...

We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp

10 August 2016
... destined to go down in infamy – and sneered at the ‘Kinnock dynasty’ and ‘their ilk’ (Neil opposed the Bennites as Labour leader in the 1980s and has supported the moves against Corbyn; his son, Stephen, was one of those who resigned from Corbyn’s shadow administration). Christine Shawcroft, a member of the NEC, attacked the decision to suspend ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan

7 June 2018
... travelled from there into the common areas and the stairwell. In Flat 111 on the 14th floor, Denis Murphy, 56, dialled 999 and was told to stay inside his flat and that firefighters would soon reach him. He called his brother at 1.30 and left a message saying there was black smoke everywhere. People could have made for the stairs at that point, but they were ...

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