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Running out of Soil

Terry Eagleton: Bram Stoker and Irish Protestant Gothic, 2 December 2004

From the Shadow of Dracula: A Life of Bram Stoker 
by Paul Murray.
Cape, 356 pp., £18.99, July 2004, 0 224 04462 1
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... are. Realism can refer to the representational mode of an art form, or to its cognitive effect. Paul Murray quotes me in this book as claiming that the Irish literary tradition is one of ‘largely non-realistic works’, whereas what I actually wrote was ‘non-realist’. ‘Realistic’ is a value term, whereas ‘realist’ is not, or not ...

Two Poems

Les Murray, 16 February 1989

... were no leaders, but they were first into the dark on Dog Fox Field: Anna who rocked her head, and Paul who grew big and yet giggled small, Irma who looked Chinese, and Hans who knew his world as a fox knows a field. Hunted with needles, exposed, unfed, this time in their thousands they bore sad cuts for having gazed, and shuffled, and failed to field the lore ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... family, after the takeover of the firm by Smith, Elder & Co (itself soon to be taken over by John Murray). A descendant – loyally named Richard Bentley – had lovingly conserved and catalogued them for posterity. In 1967, the BL acquired a tranche of early Macmillan papers: Harold Macmillan, it seems, was keen that the family firm’s archive should remain ...

What the hell happened?

Alexander Star: Philip Roth, 4 February 1999

I Married a Communist 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 323 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 224 05258 6
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... alone in the Berkshire woods, where he enjoys a visit from his old high-school English teacher, Murray Ringold. As the 90-year-old Murray passes several martini-flavoured nights on Nathan’s porch, their conversation returns again and again to Murray’s long dead brother Ira, who was ...

The market taketh away

Paul Foot, 3 July 1997

Number One Millbank: The Financial Downfall of the Church of England 
by Terry Lovell.
HarperCollins, 263 pp., £15.99, June 1997, 0 00 627866 3
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... very soon started to show signs of the malaise it was set up to cure. One man, Charles Knight Murray, assumed great power over the Church estates, but forgot to tell the Commissioners that he was a director of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and an eager speculator in railway shares. To pay for his prodigious share purchases, he intercepted and ...

Welfare in America

William Plowden, 11 July 1991

American Social Welfare Policy: A Structural Approach 
by Howard Karger and David Stoesz.
Longman, 371 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 8013 0193 9
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America’s Misunderstood Welfare State 
by Theodore Marmor, Jerry Mashaw and Philip Harvey.
Basic Books, 268 pp., $22.95, October 1990, 9780465001224
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The American Prospect 
edited by Paul Starr and Robert Kuttner.
New Prospect, 168 pp., $31
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... made things worse. This thesis was popularised in the influential book Losing ground, by Charles Murray, published in 1984. Murray noted the inconclusive findings of social research. He pointed out that since 1965 generous rates of social security benefit had been available to workers and non-workers alike. He claimed that ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns, 31 March 1988

Pleasure 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
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Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
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Laing 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
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The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
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In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
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... John Murray’s fiction has always seemed to arise directly from the circumstances of his own life. At first, his work concentrated on his childhood and adolescence among the tiny, depressed communities that straggle along the English side of the Solway Firth. He then broke with his working-class background and read Sanskrit and Avestan at Oxford, later studying classical Indian medicine ...

The Killing of Blair Peach

David Renton, 22 May 2014

... Tomlinson’s death encouraged Peach’s family to ask again for the Cass Report to be released. Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, agreed to do so. The inquest into Tomlinson’s death resulted in a verdict of unlawful killing, which made possible the criminal prosecution for manslaughter of PC Simon Harwood. (He was acquitted.) The ...

Now for the Hills

Stephanie Burt: Les Murray, 16 March 2000

Collected Poems 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 476 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 1 85754 369 6
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Fredy Neptune 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 256 pp., £19.95, May 1999, 1 85754 433 1
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Conscious and Verbal 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £6.95, October 1999, 1 85754 453 6
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... Prodigious and frustrating, welcoming and cantankerous, Les Murray’s body of work has made him both Australia’s best-known poet and its most powerful. Full of Australian history, places and things, his poetry also displays the more abstract qualities Murray likes to think of as Australian ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires, 31 March 2005

Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... decision, but other alterations were advised by his informal editorial panel, his publisher John Murray and the odd couple of John Sparrow and Tom Driberg. Sparrow was a grammarian pedant, ‘a great which-hunter’, as Murray put it, while Driberg watched the tenses and any surfeit of sentiment like a hawk. ‘If that’s ...

Sticktoitiveness

John Sutherland, 8 June 1995

Empire of Words: The Reign of the ‘OED’ 
by John Willinsky.
Princeton, 258 pp., £19.95, November 1994, 0 691 03719 1
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... Philological Society, based at the University of London, the amazing sticktoitiveness of James Murray, editor and mastermind of the project from 1879 to his death in 1915, and the (initially) nervous patron, OUP, who inherited the project 22 year after its launch. Willinsky tells much the same story as that given by Elisabeth ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bo yakasha., 4 January 2001

... Abuse by Jonathan Self. Whether or not he may have any famous relatives is hinted at in the John Murray catalogue, which tells us that Self’s father, ‘Professor Self’, from whose lips ‘the word love never escaped,’ was ‘“fond” of his wife, “fond” of his boys, Jonathan and Will, “very fond” of Brownie, the dog’. Having a famous ...

Mizzled

Roy Harris, 21 February 1985

Longman Dictionary of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk.
Longman, 1875 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 582 55511 6
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The Private Lives of English Words 
by Louis Heller, Alexander Humez and Malcah Dror.
Routledge, 333 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 7102 0006 4
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The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words 
by Bill Bryson.
Viking, 173 pp., £7.95, April 1984, 0 7139 1653 2
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The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots 
by Joseph Shipley.
Johns Hopkins, 637 pp., $39.95, May 1984, 0 8018 3004 4
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A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English 
by Eric Partidge and Paul Beale.
Routledge, 1400 pp., £45, May 1984, 0 7100 9820 0
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... always carefully selected. Classic examples of the 19th-century attitude towards lexicography were Murray in England and Emile Littré in France. Neither man was lacking either on the authoritarian or on the imaginative side: but both chose to present themselves, in accordance with the spirit of the age, as mere collectors and arrangers of lexical ...

Rabbits Addressed by a Stoat

Stefan Collini: Émigré Dons, 13 July 2017

Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-45 
edited by Sally Crawford, Katharina Ulmschneider and Jaś Elsner.
Oxford, 396 pp., £75, March 2017, 978 0 19 968755 8
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... long and could not be exhibited because of fears over health and safety as they grew mould’. Paul Jacobsthal, a distinguished classical archaeologist and art historian, formerly a professor at Marburg, later recalled his dream of ‘opening the German Manx University with terms during the Oxford and Cambridge vacations so that advanced people could come ...

Muted Ragu Tones

Michael Hofmann: David Szalay, 21 April 2016

All That Man Is 
by David Szalay.
Cape, 437 pp., £14.99, April 2016, 978 0 224 09976 9
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... did not mind the noise. I remember Chekhov’s exclamation: ‘My friends, you live so badly!’ Paul Rainey, the antihero-cum-hero of London and the South-East (‘his flabby ashen face, his round white shoulders, his downy tits’), sells space in magazines that don’t exist to guileless foreign firms (his work has an almost patriotic dimension); gets ...

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