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In the Company of Confreres

Terry Eagleton: ‘Modern British Fiction’, 12 December 2002

On Modern British Fiction 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 328 pp., £14.99, October 2002, 0 19 924932 6
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... uninspired contribution from Katherine Bucknell. Wendy Lesser remarks on what she sees as Penelope Fitzgerald’s uncanny ability to re-create alien cultures. In his deceptively off-the-cuff critical style, Michael Wood writes sensitively of Naipaul and Salman Rushdie, pointing out that for Rushdie there’s no place like home in a rather more sombre sense ...

Mganga with the Lion

Kenneth Silverman: Hemingway, 2 September 1999

Hemingway: The Thirties 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 360 pp., £9.95, October 1998, 0 393 31778 1
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Hemingway: The Final Years 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 416 pp., £19.95, July 1999, 0 393 04748 2
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True at First Light 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £16.99, July 1999, 9780434008322
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... sarcasm and rage that alienated virtually all his friends. He picked on the ever-insultable Scott Fitzgerald, taunted Archibald MacLeish for not having a ‘big enough prick’, razzed Gertrude Stein as the ‘lesbian with the old menopause’. Things only got worse after 1936, when sour reviews of Green Hills of Africa left him more than usually depressed ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... divergences became more evident. McInerney achingly, almost poignantly, longed for the F. Scott Fitzgerald doomed glamour of extravagance and careless waste, raptures of the deep followed by hangovers of the damned. McInerney, you felt, craved critical and collegial approval, the respect of his peers and elders (he and Norman Mailer became friends), a place ...

Irishness is for other people

Terry Eagleton: Enrique Vila-Matas, 19 July 2012

by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey.
Harvill Secker, 245 pp., £16.99, June 2012, 978 1 84655 489 6
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... been dominated by nationalism, the most poetic of all political currents. It is hard to imagine Patrick Pearse chairing a finance committee. The former prime minister Garret FitzGerald, a writer and intellectual as well as a politician, is said to have remarked of a certain policy proposal: ‘That’s all right in ...

An Escalation of Reasonableness

Conor Gearty: Northern Ireland, 6 September 2001

To Raise up a New Northern Ireland: Articles and Speeches 1998-2000 
by David Trimble.
Belfast Press, 166 pp., £5.99, July 2001, 0 9539287 1 3
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... to both communities’. Almost exactly a year later, the same two leaders (Thatcher and Garrett FitzGerald) concluded the more far-reaching Anglo-Irish Agreement. In November 1986, Sinn Féin voted to end its traditional policy of not putting up candidates for the Dáil. During the next two years, both the SDLP (publicly) and the Irish Government ...

New Ways of Killing Your Father

Colm Tóibín, 18 November 1993

Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 305 pp., £22.50, October 1993, 0 7139 9095 3
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... Jesuit journal Studies which contained what Roy Foster calls a ‘swingeing exposé of lacunae in [Patrick] Pearse’s ideology’. The piece was not published for six years. The editors felt that Ireland was not ready for a critical examination of Pearse. For those involved in commemorations in Ireland, in 1966 as now, history has no complications or ironies ...


Philip French, 6 June 1996

The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives 
by Sebastian Faulks.
Hutchinson, 309 pp., £16.99, April 1996, 0 09 179211 8
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... of 41. The ideal life, we often joked, would have been to have spent the Twenties drinking with Fitzgerald and then been killed in Spain alongside John Cornford and Julian Bell. Jeremy fell immediately for James Dean on seeing East of Eden and Rebel without a Cause. A few years later he was even more passionately drawn to the Polish actor Zbigniew ...

Pipe down back there!

Terry Castle: The Willa Cather Wars, 14 December 2000

Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism 
by Joan Acocella.
Nebraska, 127 pp., £13.50, August 2000, 0 8032 1046 9
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... spirit of sophisticated cultural malaise and psychosexual malfunction so palpable in Hemingway or Fitzgerald. As Acocella puts it, Cather went on giving readers ‘stories about noble-minded people living in small towns, often in the past. She did not examine her characters’ stream of consciousness or, for the most part, their sex lives. She examined their ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... Bicycle Race’ was the acknowledged inspiration for J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race’. The psychosexual derangement of Ballard’s Crash would have dissolved into low comedy if the humble Raleigh had replaced the Ford Cortina as the vehicle of choice for navigating the edgelands of suburban ...

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