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Sacred Peter

Norman MacCaig

19 June 1980
Sacred Keeper 
by Peter Kavanagh.
Goldsmith Press, 403 pp., £4.40, May 1979, 0 904984 48 6
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Dead as Doornails 
by Anthony Cronin.
Poolbeg Press, 201 pp., £1.75, May 1980, 9780905169316
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The Macmillan Dictionary of Irish Literature 
edited by Robert Hogan.
Macmillan, 815 pp., £2, February 1980, 0 333 27085 1
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... My acceptance of an offer to review the Kavanagh book landed me in a mess of puzzles. PeterKavanagh, the poet’s brother, starts straight off, sentence one, by announcing: ‘When I write about Patrick Kavanagh I write as a partisan, as his alter ego, almost as his evangelist.’ And if you think ...

Not a Damn Thing

Nick Laird: In Yeats’s wake

18 August 2005
Collected Poems 
by Patrick Kavanagh, edited by Antoinette Quinn.
Allen Lane, 299 pp., £25, September 2004, 0 7139 9599 8
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... he had taken ‘the family up to Sligo to see how Yeats was getting on’. Since Yeats had been dead twenty years, he should have been getting on just fine. But: Even he seemed to be disgruntled. Kavanagh the ex-poet ran into me soon after I came home, and the following conversation took place exactly as recorded. k: I see you do be writing for a paper called the New Yorker. me: I do. k: I dare ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?

29 November 2007
Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... had ordered that his tomb, an unusual monument covered with a superb mosaic rug, should be placed at a distance from that of Serge Lifar, but it was still perhaps too close for comfort. It took Julie Kavanagh a decade to produce her biography of Nureyev. She had the full co-operation of the Nureyev Foundations, and an awful lot of his friends, former friends and acquaintances spoke to her about him with ...
23 April 1987
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... the question of MacNeice as Irish poet hovered over the book. It is my impression that some of the Northern poets still hope to present MacNeice, not indeed as their Yeats or Joyce, but as their Kavanagh – a poet who seemed inspiring to his juniors, and available to them as Yeats and Joyce never were. Seamus Heaney, for instance, has written of Kavanagh in terms which I can’t see justified by ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney

14 October 1999
‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... Fane, Griffiths Davies and so on: there were many – may yet turn out to be comrades from the trenches, those other persons he so loved. Although writing of place-names rather than people, P.J. Kavanagh puts the matter exactly in the introduction to his wonderful Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney (1982): ‘Like most poets, he is dependent on the particular, and on being able to name it.’ Gurney was ...

2000 AD

Anne Sofer

2 August 1984
The British General Election of 1983 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 388 pp., £25, May 1984, 0 333 34578 9
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Militant 
by Michael Crick.
Faber, 242 pp., £3.95, June 1984, 0 571 13256 1
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... and the trade unions dominated Parliamentary proceedings, a majority of Conservative members of the House of Commons were in revolt, and early in 1986 she was forced to resign in favour of Mr Peter Walker. Traditional “one nation” Toryism reasserted itself.’ The third. ‘The second Thatcher Government set about establishing a police state and mounted savage attacks on socialist local ...

Do, Not, Love, Make, Beds

David Wheatley: Irish literary magazines

3 June 2004
Irish Literary Magazines: An Outline History and Descriptive Bibliography 
Irish Academic, 318 pp., £35, January 2003, 0 7165 2751 0Show More
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... with Gerry Smyth, whose study of 1950s journals in Decolonisation and Criticism (1998) went some way to overturning this stereotype, but the editors of the journals don’t help themselves. Patrick Kavanagh wrote: ‘there is practically no literary public in this country and there has never been a literary tradition,’ a fact that must have slipped his mind when he founded Kavanagh’s Weekly with his ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: In Donegal

8 October 1992
... partitioned six or the historic nine. Donegal seems to be inescapably part of the “North”, whereas Cavan and even Monaghan have a less decided orientation. I cannot, for example, think of Patrick Kavanagh as a Northern writer, any more than I would wish to allocate Peadar O’Donnell to the South.’ Donegal is part of the North, yes, but it’s also the place many Northerners go to escape from ...
26 November 1987
Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter​ Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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Judges 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... is this more obvious than when British commentators contemplate the successes and failures of the post-war British polity. To celebrate the launching of the Institute of Contemporary British History, Peter Hennessy and Anthony Sheldon have edited an engaging collection of essays on post-war British governments, starting with Paul Addison on the wartime background to Attlee’s success, and ending with ...

Shakespeares

David Norbrook

18 July 1985
Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... the defence of princely authority. Leonard Tennenhouse (PS) shows how the ‘carnivalesque’ was harnessed to official ideologies under Elizabeth and James I. Terence Hawkes, Francis Barker and Peter Hulme (AS), and Paul Brown (PS), link The Tempest with the ideology of colonisation, arguing that the play’s formal involutions reflect, not transcendent truths about illusion and reality, but the ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden

7 January 2016
... stories were accurate, followed the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct and were in the public interest – and his bosses had known what he was doing. In his closing remarks, the prosecutor, Peter Wright, picked out something said by another of the defendants, Ben O’Driscoll, who had been a deputy news editor at the Sun. In 2010, Virginia Wheeler’s ‘Chelsea Copper’ had told her that a ...

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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... its wonderful light, architectural variations on a theme and resplendent wildlife. By 1960, when this volume begins, Betjeman was feeling the anxiety of the ageing writer, well expressed by Patrick Kavanagh, a friend of his from wartime Dublin: Give us another poem, he said Or they will think your muse is dead; Another middle-aged departure Of Apollo from the trade of archer. In January 1960 Evelyn ...

A Big Life

Michael Hofmann: Seamus Heaney

3 June 2015
New Selected Poems 1988-2013 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 222 pp., £18.99, November 2014, 978 0 571 32171 1
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... but also the constant and quite unpriggish dignity and thoughtfulness. A big life, much of it lived in public, but never for a public or the public; rather, a great adventure: ‘Well, as Kavanagh said, we have lived/In important places’ (‘The Ministry of Fear’). It is a sobering thing to read O’Driscoll’s ten-page chronology of Heaney’s life (up to 2008): the meetings with famous ...

The Parliamentary Peloton

Peter​ Mair: Money and Politics

25 February 2010
A Very British Revolution: The Expenses Scandal and How to Save Our Democracy 
by Martin Bell.
Icon, 246 pp., £11.99, October 2009, 978 1 84831 096 4
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... the United States. He was a well-liked man, and his friends rallied around to raise money for the expensive operation. On the day of the 1989 general election, as McDonald and Sheridan report, Mark Kavanagh, a wealthy builder, called at Charles Haughey’s house to deliver a cheque and three bank drafts amounting to £100,000: £25,000 was intended for Lenihan’s medical fund and £75,000 for Fianna F ...
21 March 1996
... untreated. He was moved to another prison and eventually taken to hospital in chains to undergo extensive surgery on his back. Since the ceasefire three other IRA lifers – Pat Magee, Paul Kavanagh and Tommy Quigley – have been informed that their tariffs have been raised to 50 years, a decision now being challenged in the courts. Republicans bitterly contrast the treatment of IRA prisoners ...

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