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Mary Hawthorne

23 June 1994
The Seduction of Morality 
by Tom Murphy.
Little, Brown, 224 pp., £15.99, June 1994, 0 316 91059 7
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A Goat’s Song 
by Dermot Healy.
Harvill, 408 pp., £14.99, April 1994, 0 00 271049 8
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... TomMurphy’s play Too Late for Logic centres on the response of a psychically disintegrated family to the death of one of its members. An oracular, disembodied voice-over gives the summation: ‘A group of ...

Karel Reisz Remembered

LRB Contributors

12 December 2002
... Woman, Who’ll Stop the Rain?, Sweet Dreams and Everybody Wins. His work has influenced more than one generation of British film-makers, and what he did for the stage – Beckett, Pinter, TomMurphy, Terence Rattigan – has changed the game for several more to come. You might say the drama in Karel Reisz’s life existed at quite a deep level, but it also existed in his conversation. At tables ...

Diary

Alison Light: In Portsmouth

7 February 2008
... my mother’s forebears, Murphys and Millers. They also congregated in Portsea, eking out a living in its tight mesh of unpaved, filthy streets, courts, lanes and rows. I don’t know how William Murphy, a shoemaker born in the 1820s, and his wife, Lydia, survived the cholera epidemic of 1849, but they turn up thereafter in different lodgings, mostly on Albion Street, notorious for its beer-shops ...

Cough up

Thomas Keymer: Henry Fielding

20 November 2008
Plays: Vol. II, 1731-34 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Thomas Lockwood.
Oxford, 865 pp., £150, October 2007, 978 0 19 925790 4
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‘The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon’, ‘Shamela’ and ‘Occasional Writings’ 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin, with Sheridan Baker and Hugh Amory.
Oxford, 804 pp., £150
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... power through bribery and electoral chicanery. If this was the nature of a prime minister’s trade, was that of a professional author any purer? Although Fielding’s most enduring work, and Tom Jones (1749) especially, were the result of a painstaking commitment to the craft of writing, he always wanted to disguise the vulgarities of effort, and nowhere more than in the comedies and farces ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe

27 September 2012
All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... them? Such questions lie at the heart of Cohen’s strikingly elegant and assured biographical study of three now almost forgotten lesbian women: the American heiress and intellectual polymath Esther Murphy (1897-1962); Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968), the Cuban-American Hollywood screenwriter, memoirist and seductress extraordinaire (Garbo and Dietrich and Isadora Duncan were among her conquests); and ...
18 April 1996
Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation 
by Declan Kiberd.
Cape, 719 pp., £20, November 1995, 0 224 04197 5
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... Heaney. Most other writers, however, do not inhabit a universe shaped by Ireland’s relationship to its past or to England, thus it is difficult for Kiberd to have much to say about John Banville or TomMurphy or Derek Mahon. And there are other writers, such as John McGahern, to whom these old dreams and inventions mean nothing at all, or those who found or find them worthy merely of jokes and ...

Squidging about

Caroline Murphy: Camilla and the sex-motherers

22 January 2004
Camilla: An Intimate Portrait 
by Rebecca Tyrrel.
Short Books, 244 pp., £14.99, October 2003, 1 904095 53 4
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... Italians called him ‘Prince Tampaccino’. The fall-out for Camilla was closer to home. Her husband wasn’t happy about being the nation’s best-known cuckold; her children were teased. Her son, Tom, the Prince’s godson, ‘was forced to listen to other boys at school reading the creepiest sections of the transcript out loud’. Camilla herself received hate-mail and crank calls. According to ...

On the Sofa

David Thomson: ‘Babylon Berlin’

2 August 2018
... you see, is more fundamental than the show; it’s the message. With my last breath of critical purpose and utility I could try to tell you that Babylon Berlin is a television mini-series created by Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Hendrik Handloegten. I looked up this information, and in theory it is possible that I could have extracted it from the show’s credit sequence – except that you can ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Dunkirk’

16 August 2017
... into higher air,’ and the visual effect is just that. None of the mess you find on earth and sea. The impression is enhanced by the fact that the heroic pilot’s role is handsomely filled by Tom Hardy, while the navy gets Kenneth Branagh, his eyes moist as he thinks of ‘home’, and ready to stay on after the evacuation to do what he can ‘for the French’. I imagine this line is meant ...

Diary

Nick Laird: Ulster Revisited

28 July 2011
... was subsequently ‘found liable in a civil case for damages brought by families’ of the victims of the Omagh bombing in 1998. Any reader with an internet connection can identify Suspect A as Colm Murphy, who was found liable for the Omagh bombing and was convicted in the US for trying to buy a consignment of M60 machine guns for the INLA. A half-way house between truth and allegation, the report ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore

10 August 2000
Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... changing in Ireland, except as a tourist, and he also missed the slow changes in the way men were treated in Irish writing. In the 1960s, playwrights such as Eugene McCabe in King of the Castle, TomMurphy in A Whistle in the Dark and John B. Keane in The Field began to work on the mixture of violence and impotence in the Irish male psyche. And in the 1970s John McGahern published two novels, The ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig

24 July 1986
The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... accommodate contemporary feelings about past events, along with items extracted from one context to enrich another. ‘Rapparees, white-boys, volunteers, ribbonmen ...’: so runs a line in Richard Murphy’s poem ‘Green Martyrs’, one of Kinsella’s choices, naming bands of disaffected countrymen from the 17th century to the 19th, and getting the fullest flavour from these allusions; in a similar ...
20 September 1984
Ulysses: A Critical and Synoptic Edition 
by James Joyce, edited by Hans Walter Gabler, Wolfhard Steppe and Claus Melchior.
Garland, 1919 pp., $200, May 1984, 0 8240 4375 8
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James Joyce 
by Richard Ellmann.
Oxford, 900 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 19 281465 6
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... in great style at the grand funeral in the paper Boylan brought in if they saw a real officers funeral thatd be something reversed arms muffled drums the poor horse walking behind in black L Boom and Tom Kernan that drunken little barrelly man that bit his tongue off falling down the mens W C ... But the point is lost on 694/773, where ‘Boom’ is printed as ‘Bloom’. In the Nausicaa chapter ...

Life of Brian

Kevin Barry

25 January 1990
No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien 
by Anthony Cronin.
Grafton, 260 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 246 12836 4
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... among his contemporaries. That dominance of the aesthetic places O’Nolan in the tradition of Joyce and Beckett, a position acknowledged by Joyce in his collocation of At Swim Two Birds with Murphy as Jean quirit and Jean qui pleure. But the aesthetic is also a fence around O’Nolan’s reservation. In 1973, in the only thorough essay we have on O’Nolan’s art, published in Miles: Portraits ...

Who had the most fun?

David Bromwich: The Marx Brothers

10 May 2001
Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 480 pp., £7.99, April 2001, 0 14 029426 0
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The Essential Groucho 
by Groucho Marx, edited by Stefan Kanfer.
Penguin, 254 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 14 029425 2
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... romantic soliloquist and grammarian. Groucho: Mrs Rittenhouse, ever since I met you I’ve swept you off my feet. Something has been throbbing within me. Oh it’s been beating like the incessant tom-tom in the primitive jungle. There’s something that I must ask you . . . Mrs Rittenhouse: Why, Captain, I’m surprised. Groucho: Well, it may be a surprise to you but it’s been on my mind ...

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