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Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce, 19 February 1998

John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... of the Chelsea Press, editor of Flann O’Brien and Oscar Wilde, and the Dublin social historian Peter Costello, should have been inspired to produce a full-length biography of, so to speak, Our Founder. It is in its way a unique undertaking. Hard to think of any other father in the history of literature, more particularly of literature in English, who ...

Liars, Hypocrites and Crybabies

David Runciman: Blair v. Brown, 2 November 2006

... given Brown a lot to think about over the summer. In July this year, the Australian treasurer, Peter Costello, finally spilled the beans about the deal that he said had been struck with Prime Minister John Howard in 1994, whereby Howard had agreed to give up the top job after serving for a term and a half, paving the way for ...

tarry easty

Roy Foster: Joyce in Trieste, 30 November 2000

The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-20 
by John McCourt.
Lilliput, 306 pp., £25, June 2000, 1 901866 45 9
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... the city remains firmly in the background; more strikingly, a recent book about the young Joyce by Peter Costello, which ends in 1914, provides much valuable new material about his Dublin background and youth but devotes only sixty of nearly four hundred pages to his time in Trieste. This has not gone unnoticed in Joyce’s temporarily adopted city. A map ...

Clutching at Railings

Jonathan Coe: Late Flann O’Brien, 24 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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... small town. He was maybe our unluckiest genius.’ (It’s hard not to see echoes of the career of Peter Cook, who also peaked early: he reached the limits of his marvellous talent while still in his twenties, and thereafter turned to drink to cope with the sense of anti-climax, the inability to top – though why should he? – what was already a matchless ...

Disinformation

Phillip Knightley, 8 July 1993

Deadly Illusions: The First Book from the KGB Archives 
by John Costello and Oleg Tsarev.
Century, 538 pp., £18.99, June 1993, 9780712655002
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... Philby, went out in May 1990. The second, Strange Neighbours, about the American spy couple, Peter and Helen Kroger, who acted as a communications link between London and Moscow for Gordon Lonsdale and the Portland spy-ring, went out in November 1991. Both were co-productions, in the sense that the Russians provided their end of the material – they did ...

Diary

Tom Nairn: The Australian elections, 13 December 2007

... Melbourne tram downtown, stopping only to glance in a bookseller’s window. It was good to see Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore holding its place in the bestseller list. 1 A good cop yarn set in Victoria, stylistically it is West Coast American, and has been received well there. But that’s not why it’s so popular here. The book sets out to ...

A Frog’s Life

James Wood: Coetzee’s Confessions, 23 October 2003

Elizabeth CostelloEight Lessons 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 233 pp., £14.99, September 2003, 0 436 20616 1
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... much she shares with her creator is one of the device’s loitering teases. Her name is Elizabeth Costello, an Australian novelist born in 1928, famous like Coetzee for her rewriting of a classic novel (in Coetzee’s case, Robinson Crusoe; in Costello’s, Ulysses). The frame story allows Coetzee to share ideas while ...

Great Internationalists

Rupert Cornwell, 2 February 1989

Philby: The Life and Views of the KGB Masterspy 
by Phillip Knightley.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 233 98360 0
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Mask of Treachery: The First Documented Dossier on Blunt, MI5 and Soviet Subversion 
by John Costello.
Collins, 761 pp., £18, November 1988, 0 00 217536 3
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A Divided Life: A Biography of Donald Maclean 
by Robert Cecil.
Bodley Head, 212 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 370 31129 9
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The Storm Birds: Soviet Post-War Defectors 
by Gordon Brook-Shepherd.
Weidenfeld, 303 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 297 79464 7
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... Times book, Philby, the spy who betrayed a generation, which he co-authored in 1968. Mr John Costello has produced Mask of Treachery, dealing with Blunt, while Mr Robert Cecil has written a biography of his former Foreign Office colleague Donald Maclean. To round things out, we have The Storm Birds, Gordon Brook-Shepherd’s study of the Soviet agents ...

Tables and Chairs

Christopher Tayler: J.M. Coetzee, 21 March 2013

J.M. Coetzee: A Life in Writing 
by J.C. Kannemeyer, translated by Michiel Heyns.
Jonathan Ball, 710 pp., R 325, October 2012, 978 1 86842 495 5
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Here and Now: Letters 2008-11 
by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee.
Viking, 256 pp., $27.95, March 2013, 978 0 670 02666 1
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The Childhood of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 210 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 1 84655 769 9
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... A few months before the publication of Dusklands in 1974, J.C. Kannemeyer reports, Peter Randall, the director of Ravan Press in Johannesburg, asked J.M. Coetzee to consider supplying ‘a few more personal details’ for the jacket of his first novel. ‘We are often criticised,’ Randall wrote, ‘for not telling readers about our authors ...

Stony Ground

Peter D. McDonald: J.M. Coetzee, 20 October 2005

J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading: Literature in the Event 
by Derek Attridge.
Chicago, 225 pp., £13.50, May 2005, 0 226 03117 9
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Slow Man 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 265 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 436 20611 0
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... we are to call Coetzee’s third-person, present-tense autobiographies, for instance, or Elizabeth Costello’s lectures? – but it has implications for all the labels used in literary criticism. Take the designation ‘late Modernist’, which David Attwell, one of Coetzee’s most astute early champions, applied to his fiction in the 1990s. Though Attridge ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... A long-serving labour correspondent, Routledge did much of his work at the Times. With Mick Costello of the Morning Star, he was the leader of the leftist tendency within the labour and industrial correspondents’ group and for many years the strongest influence within that group. As such, he did what he could to mobilise support for the Left in the ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... the Drop of a Brick’, a reference to Flanders and Swann’s At the Drop of a Hat and Peter Cook’s suggestion that we call it ‘Quite the best revue I’ve seen for some time. Bernard Levin’, the point being that whatever the notices this could go up at the front of house. 27 January. A woman writes to me saying that having read a piece I’d ...

Berenson’s Elixir

Simon Schama, 1 May 1980

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... from a head-hunting trip to the United States, where the big-game of major-league millionaires – Peter Widener, James G. Johnson, Samuel Kress – had leapt to profit from his publicised expertise. This was sometimes prompted by motives of undisguised envy and covetousness amongst themselves. On learning of BB’s descent on Widener’s optimistically ...

The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

... together. Elena was now Helen, Mummy not Mami; Papa became Daddy; the boys were still Donald and Peter, of course, but they had far fewer words at their disposal by which to express themselves. They were now British – British refugees, to be exact – not just because their identity documents said so, but because their survival depended on it. And thus ...

His Spittin’ Image

Colm Tóibín: John Stanislaus Joyce, 22 February 2018

... its way to the library of Cornell University; quotations from it appear in John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello’s 1997 biography of John Stanislaus. On 26 and 27 and 28 May, Charlie Joyce noted that his father was drunk, and again on 31 May and 1 and 2 and 13 and 14 and 15 June. And on Sunday 24 June: ‘Pappie home to dinner very ...

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