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At St Peter’s

Colm Tóibín: The Dangers of a Priestly Education, 1 December 2005

The Ferns Report 
by Francis Murphy, Helen Buckley and Laraine Joyce.
Government Publications, 271 pp., €6, October 2005, 0 7557 7299 7
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... of the Ferns Report, written by a tribunal chaired by the former Irish Supreme Court judge Francis Murphy. Ferns is a diocese made up of County Wexford in the south-east of Ireland and parts of some of the bordering counties. The tribunal was set up by the Irish government because there seemed to be more clerical offenders in this diocese than in ...

Great Thoughts

E.S. Turner, 7 May 1981

The Macmillan Treasury of Relevant Quotations 
edited by Edward Murphy.
Macmillan, 658 pp., £3.95, August 1980, 0 333 30038 6
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... and an obscurely naughty joke he is said to have passed on about the female pudenda. At heart, Mr Murphy seems to be a serious-minded man and he concentrates on the writings of the great and not-so-great philosophers. Like Roget, he is too keen on grouping his material under abstract headings: the section on Self is followed by ...

Revenge!

Francis Spufford, 4 July 1996

Why Things Bite Back: New Technology and the Revenge Effect 
by Edward Tenner.
Fourth Estate, 360 pp., £18.99, June 1996, 1 85702 560 1
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... you could say, turns on the implicit difference between Sod’s Law (everything goes wrong) and Murphy’s Law (if something can go wrong, it will). While the first is vacuous – or a matter of the psychology which ensures we remember the times things go wrong and forget the times they don’t – the second is an engineer’s motto about the scope we ...

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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... 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 the brittle yet pioneering British fashion editor and ...

Fairyland

Bruce Bawer, 2 May 1985

Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald 
by James Mellow.
Souvenir, 569 pp., £15.95, February 1985, 0 285 65001 7
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Home before Dark: A Personal Memoir of John Cheever 
by Susan Cheever.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 297 78376 9
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... St Paul as the humiliated son of a failed businessman (and as the inordinately proud descendant of Francis Scott Key, author of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’); the glorious salad days at Princeton University, which he left without a degree; the wartime courtship of Zelda Sayre, the belle of Montgomery, Alabama; the sudden fame – and the marriage to Zelda ...

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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... Between 1947 and 1950 Samuel Beckett and Francis Stuart produced a clutch of novels which extend Irish fiction into the world of Europe. Beckett’s life in wartime Paris is not irrelevant to Molloy, Malone dies and The Unnamable, nor is Stuart’s in wartime Berlin to The Pillar of Cloud, Redemption and The Flowering Cross ...

Saint John Henry

Richard Altick, 5 August 1982

John Henry Newman: His Life and Work 
by Brian Martin.
Chatto, 160 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7011 2588 8
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Protestant versus Catholic in Mid-Victorian England 
by Walter Arnstein.
Missouri, 271 pp., £14, June 1982, 9780826203540
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... of a mid-Victorian Ian Paisley, an Irishman bearing the exquisitely un-Protestant name of Murphy, which enliven the pages of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy: but both belong to the same record of continual religious controversy in 19th-century England. (It was intramural contention, however, not the larger one between Protestant and ...

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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... 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 way, the phrase ‘hedge school’, with its ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... This might, of course, be strategic confusion, some reflex habit of legalistic discretion. Robert Murphy’s Smash and Grab gets Jan son’s name and publisher right, and offers an altogether sparkier bibliography, with a list of films as an entertaining extra, and a useful glossary of underworld slang (for aspirant screenwriters trying to knock out an ...

Karel Reisz Remembered

LRB Contributors, 12 December 2002

... than one generation of British film-makers, and what he did for the stage – Beckett, Pinter, Tom Murphy, 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, in cars, in foyers, on the phone, Karel Reisz and his ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... dominated by issues of national government and sectarian difference. With the exception of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington’s essay ‘War and Feminism’ there is no acknowledgment of the debates over women’s rights, sexuality and reproduction in which Mary Robinson, for example, established her reputation. Indeed, one could read through this whole ...

Just one of those ends

Michael Wood: Apocalypse Regained, 13 December 2001

Apocalypse Now Redux 
directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
August 2001
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Marlon Brando 
by Patricia Bosworth.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £12.99, October 2001, 0 297 84284 6
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... too, and takes off on an extraordinary literary ramble from which it never returns and in which Francis Coppola and his team seem to have decided to do The Golden Bough as their Christmas pantomime. The confused ending weighs on the film but doesn’t wreck it, so we don’t need to hush up the confusion or pretend it isn’t confusion at all. Apocalypse ...

The Candidates

Chris Lehmann: Scott, Rick, Ted, Marco and Jeb, 18 June 2015

... state public employees, Walker responded with sycophantic alacrity to a prank call placed by Ian Murphy, a reporter for the Buffalo Beast, who convinced Walker that he was David Koch, the mega-billionaire funder of the Tea Party. The faux-Koch suggested an outlandish series of Nixonian stunts to attack the unions, including the planting of pro-Walker double ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... against the rain, and Rome seemed a place not of eternities but of passing trade. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor entered the restaurant in his civilian uniform of open-necked shirt and windcheater, smiling to the waiters and taking his usual table. I didn’t approach him, but took time to notice the high-spiritedness of his friends, happy to be in the ...

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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... dealt with figures in extreme and exquisite isolation, as in the novels of Beckett and Francis Stuart, or offered elaborate comedy, as in Flann O’Brien. In Irish fiction after Joyce, the women suffered and the men were anti-social, and the tone is one of unnerving bleakness. The problem for Moore, McGahern, Higgins and many others was how to ...

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