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Colm Tóibín: The Great Irish Famine, 30 July 1998

... sufficiently to earn the ordinary day’s wages,’ the chairman of the Board of Works wrote. The winter of 1846-47 was exceptionally cold, and a great majority of Irish labourers and potato farmers did not normally work much in the winter months, and no one owned heavy clothes. (Since there was nothing to do in ...

Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

Selected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 124 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 9780856355950
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Collected Poems: 1947-1980 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 837 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 670 80683 8
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Instant Chronicles: A Life 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 58 pp., £4.50, April 1985, 9780019211970
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Selected Poems 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 596 8
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Selected Poems 
by Jeffrey Wainwright.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 598 4
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Selected Poems 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 112 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 594 1
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The Price of Stone 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, May 1985, 0 571 13568 4
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Selected Poems 
by Iain Crichton Smith.
Carcanet, 121 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 597 6
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Selected Poems 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 585 2
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From the Irish 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 78 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 331 8
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... You might, just possibly, have to direct a boy-actor in the role of Hermione’s statue in The Winter’s Tale; and even if you don’t, there may be other occasions for reflecting upon the disproportion between a crude means and an uncanny end. Against Camillo’s advice in the play, Morgan makes a wild dedication of his powers to unpath’d ...

Maggiefication

Peter Clarke, 6 July 1995

The Path to Power 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 656 pp., £24, June 1995, 0 00 255050 4
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... secured the nomination in the 1950 General Election, and in the process met and became engaged to Denis Thatcher, a man whose ‘views were no-nonsense Conservatism’. This was the making of Mrs Thatcher, not only literally, because it gave her the name under which she was to become famous, but because Denis’s support ...

Female Relationships

Stephen Bann, 1 July 1982

When things of the spirit come first 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Patrick O’Brian.
Deutsch, 212 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 0 233 97462 8
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Union Street 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 266 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 9780860682820
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Lady Oracle 
by Margaret Atwood.
Virago, 346 pp., £3.50, June 1982, 0 86068 303 6
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Bodily Harm 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 302 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02016 1
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Hearts: A Novel 
by Hilma Wolitzer.
Harvester, 324 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 9780710804754
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Pzyche 
by Amanda Hemingway.
Faber, 236 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 571 11875 5
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December Flower 
by Judy Allen.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7156 1644 7
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... schematic narrative treatment, however tense their temporary engagements with such figures as Denis, the layabout disciple of Rimbaud, Pascal, the uncommitted archaeologist, and Marie-Ange, the crypto-lesbian theosophist. Only in ‘Chantal’ does the technical range expand, allowing a rich and piquant contrast to emerge between the flowery journal ...

Boxes of Tissues

Hilary Mantel, 6 March 1997

As If 
by Blake Morrison.
Granta, 245 pp., £14.99, February 1997, 1 86207 003 2
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... with a delicate diversion into the story of the Children’s Crusade. The year 1212: at Saint-Denis, a boy of 12 begins to preach. He has received word from God that it is the mission of Christian children to free the Holy Land from the infidel. He draws crowds, draws followers: boys and girls swarm from street and field. God is their Pied Piper. They ...

In the field

Nigel Hamilton, 5 November 1981

Washington Despatches, 1941-45: Weekly Political Reports from the British Embassy 
edited by H.G. Nicholas.
Weidenfeld, 700 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 297 77920 6
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. II 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 850 pp., £15.95, September 1981, 0 11 630934 2
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Mars without Venus: A Study of Some Homosexual Generals 
by Frank Richardson.
William Blackwood, 188 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 9780851581484
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Soldiering on: An Unofficial Portrait of the British Army 
by Dennis Barker.
Deutsch, 236 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 233 97391 5
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A Breed of Heroes 
by Alan Judd.
Hodder, 288 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 340 26334 2
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War in Peace: An Analysis of Warfare Since 1945 
edited by Robert Thompson.
Orbis, 312 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 85613 341 8
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... a trifle immodestly – he claims in his Introduction that his material was considered by Denis Brogan in London to be ‘the Ariadne’s thread through the labyrinths of American politics’, it is hard to see Berlin as Theseus in these reports, which veer from matters of local American concern (labour troubles etc) to generalities so general one can ...

Yesterday

Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... and paintings. At the very outset you find within a couple of pages The Great Tradition, A Girl in Winter, a poem by Kingsley Amis, Four Quartets, Brideshead Revisited, Nineteen Eighty-Four, William Cooper, Angus Wilson, Horizon, architectural Modernism and the Festival of Britain. Just as you think something important is going to be left out it turns up: the ...

Diary

William Rodgers: Party Conference Jamboree, 25 October 1990

... formal monologues by Front-Bench speakers, some of whom had watched from the floor when, in 1976, Denis Healey, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had fought to be given five minutes of Conference time to put his case. With red roses (pink next year?) being thrown to the delegates from the platform and ‘Jerusalem’ easing out ‘The Red Flag’ as the ...

Third Way, Old Hat

Ross McKibbin: Amnesia at the Top, 3 September 1998

... credit for it. Blair and Brown might ponder the fact that the last Labour Chancellor to do it was Denis Healey, and that led directly to the Winter of Discontent. Which brings us back to Frank Field and Gordon Brown’s money. Field’s departure from the Government did not cause a peep; not one minister or backbench MP ...

Surrealism à la Courbet

Nicholas Penny: Balthus, 24 May 2001

Balthus: Catalogue raisonné of the Complete Works 
by Jean Clair and Virginie Monnier.
Abrams, 576 pp., £140, January 2000, 0 8109 6394 9
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Balthus 
by Nicholas Fox Weber.
Weidenfeld, 650 pp., £30, May 2000, 0 297 64323 1
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... to emulate the Italian primitives by the French Symbolist and defender of Classicism, Maurice Denis. On his return from Italy he painted murals of the Good Shepherd and the Four Evangelists in a Swiss church. In the winter of 1927 he turned his attention to the streets and quais of Paris, perhaps inspired by the gritty ...

Complete Internal Collapse

Malcolm Vale: Agincourt, 19 May 2016

The Hundred Years War, Vol. IV: Cursed Kings 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 909 pp., £40, August 2015, 978 0 571 27454 3
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Agincourt 
by Anne Curry.
Oxford, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 19 968101 3
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The Battle of Agincourt 
edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer.
Yale, 344 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21430 7
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24 Hours at Agincourt: 25 October 1415 
by Michael Jones.
W.H. Allen, 352 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 7535 5545 3
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Agincourt: Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer 
by W.B. Bartlett.
Amberley, 447 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 1 4456 3949 9
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... on Henry V’s part towards an agreed and potentially durable Anglo-French peace settlement in the winter of 1421-22. What was Henry V’s bottom line? The retention of Normandy and the ancestral Plantagenet lands in Aquitaine as territories held in full sovereignty, independent of the French crown? Or was his claim, through Edward III, to the crown of France ...

Dear boy, I’d rather see you in your coffin

Jon Day: Paid to Race, 16 July 2020

To Hell and Back: An Autobiography 
by Niki Lauda.
Ebury, 314 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 5291 0679 4
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A Race with Love and Death: The Story of Britain’s First Great Grand Prix Driver, Richard Seaman 
by Richard Williams.
Simon and Schuster, 388 pp., £20, March, 978 1 4711 7935 8
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... who became the second British driver to win a Grand Prix race, Arthur Conan Doyle’s son Denis, and Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh of Siam, who raced as ‘B. Bira’ in a car painted ‘bright peacock blue, its hue selected … to match a piece of fabric cut one night from the gown of a girl with whom he was dining at the Savoy’. After ...

An Address to the Nation

Clive James, 17 December 1981

... than they’re keen. The old brigade run on the spot like Alice. The new boys want to storm the Winter Palace. It’s deadlock. Just to get the Tories out Is no good reason to put Labour in. One lot’s got rabies and the other gout. Whichever way it goes you just can’t win. The only proper state of mind is doubt When Parliament sounds like a loony-bin ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after, 10 December 1998

... secured the nomination in the 1950 General Election, and in the process met and became engaged to Denis Thatcher, a man whose ‘views were no-nonsense Conservatism’. This was the making of Mrs Thatcher, not only literally, because it gave her the name under which she was to become famous, but because Denis’s support ...

Downhill from Here

Ian Jack: The 1970s, 27 August 2009

When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 576 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 571 22136 3
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... relations’. Nearly 30 million working days were lost to strikes in 1979, mainly during the Winter of Discontent – more than in any other year. We know what happens next in the script. The country rejects the worn-out panaceas of the Labour administration and elects Margaret Thatcher, and she, with what Cameron calls ‘huge courage and ...

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