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Moral Lepers

John Banville: Easter 1916, 16 July 2015

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 433 pp., £10.99, May 2015, 978 0 241 95424 9
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... no reference to Republicanism’. Similarly, and just as surprisingly, Townshend quotes Michael Collins, who had fought in 1916 and three years later became president of the IRB Supreme Council, insisting that ‘the cause was not the Irish Republic’ but ‘liberation from English occupation’.* Certainly it ‘did not change the relationship between one ...


Theodore Zeldin, 26 October 1989

Pan Encyclopedia 
edited by Judith Hannam.
Pan, 608 pp., £8.99, August 1989, 9780330309202
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Longman Encyclopedia 
edited by Asa Briggs.
Longman, 1179 pp., £24.95, September 1989, 0 582 91620 8
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International Encyclopedia of Communications: Vols I-IV 
edited by Erik Barnouw.
Oxford, 1913 pp., £250, April 1989, 0 19 504994 2
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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives 
edited by Francis Robinson.
Cambridge, 520 pp., £30, September 1989, 0 521 33451 9
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Concise Encyclopedia of Islam 
by Cyril Glass.
Stacey International, 472 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 905743 52 0
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The World’s Religions 
by Ninian Smart.
Cambridge, 576 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 521 34005 5
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The New Physics 
edited by Paul Davies.
Cambridge, 516 pp., £30, March 1989, 0 521 30420 2
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The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopedia 
by H.R. Loyn.
Thames and Hudson, 352 pp., £24, May 1989, 0 500 25103 7
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China in World History 
by S.A.M. Adshead.
Macmillan, 432 pp., £35, June 1988, 0 333 43405 6
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... world in this country. It judges that Christopher Fry has a place in conversation, but not Roger Fry, nor Elizabeth Fry. The spy Fuchs has a substantial entry, but whereas the Macmillan Encyclopedia adds ‘his motives were idealistic,’ Pan considers it wiser to leave out that possibly unpatriotic thought. Ordinary people are of course not interested ...

For the Good of the Sex

Susan Eilenberg, 8 December 1994

The Poems of Anna Letitia Barbauld 
edited by William McCarthy and Elizabeth Kraft.
Georgia, 399 pp., £58.50, June 1994, 0 8203 1528 1
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... could have made her work vulnerable to disfavour. The handful of her poems recently printed in Roger Lonsdale’s 18th-Century Women Poets were very favourably received. In ‘Washing-Day’ the ‘domestic Muse’ abandons ‘Language of gods’ for gossip. In slip-shod measure loosely prattling on Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream, Or ...

Man is the pie

Jenny Turner: Alasdair Gray, 21 February 2013

Every Short Story 1951-2012 
by Alasdair Gray.
Canongate, 933 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 85786 560 1
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... leaving behind a trail of glorious stars.’ ‘The Star’ was published later that year in the Collins Magazine for Boys and Girls, encouraging the teenage author to begin planning his first novel, to feature ‘an asthmatic glum hero whose heroism and asthma derive from his being an extra-terrestrial agent sent down by a higher authority to save the ...

A Row of Shaws

Terry Eagleton: That Bastard Shaw, 21 June 2018

Judging Shaw 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Royal Irish Academy, 381 pp., £28, October 2017, 978 1 908997 15 9
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... and a humbug he was never quite sure how serious he was intending to be. When the Irish rebel Roger Casement was about to go on trial for the capital crime of high treason for his part in the Easter Rising of 1916, Shaw wrote a speech for him to read out in court in his own defence. The intention was that Casement, as O’Toole writes, ‘would literally ...

All This Love Business

Jean McNicol: Vanessa and Julian Bell, 24 January 2013

Julian Bell: From Bloomsbury to the Spanish Civil War 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Stanford, 314 pp., £38.95, 0 8047 7413 7
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... reviewing books on the subject and even thinking of writing a biography of the IRA leader Michael Collins, whose use of guerrilla warfare fascinated him. When the war in Spain began, he fancied himself a bit of an expert: ‘I can’t help believing that if I had been in England, and had gone out at the beginning, I might now be in a position to make some ...

Hard Romance

Barbara Everett, 8 February 1996

... like a good child, he chalks onto the great guns of the battery given names: ‘The Reverend Collins’, ‘General Tilney’, ‘Lady Catherine de Bugg’. Something in the image hints at the mingling of pastoral and violence, of passion and illiteracy which can go to make up both human bonding and human learning, especially in Kipling’s late stories ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... not have to have mental problems to make false confessions, or be a drug addict. Or even be Irish. Roger Cooper confessed to being a British spy in Teheran after an interrogation during which he was threatened and beaten. In the same way that Armstrong invented details about the IRA to satisfy his captors, Cooper invented a spy-ring. To populate it, he ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... tradition as it continued, albeit in diluted form, in the panegyrics of liberty by Akenside, Collins, Thomson and others. He includes Gray’s Elegy because of its compassion for the poor, but one might expect a radical poet to be a bit less dismayed at the fact that Cromwell was born. Paulin is more at home in the Romantic period: a particular interest ...

Make for the Boondocks

Tom Nairn: Hardt and Negri, 5 May 2005

by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 241 14240 7
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... saboteur, a subverter of things lawfully established, and an apologist for the Devil’, as Roger Scruton has put it, who ‘after his death was regarded as the greatest heretic of the 17th century’. Reviled both by orthodox Hebraism and many Netherlands Calvinists, Spinoza insisted that intuitive prophecy was the basis of true faith, and that ‘the ...

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