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Stefan Collini: The Movement, 25 June 2009

The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... the 1950s, edited by D.J. Enright, appeared in 1955, followed a year later by New Lines, edited by Robert Conquest. Enright’s volume contained work by eight poets: Robert Conquest, D.J. Enright, Kingsley Amis, Donald Davie, John Holloway, Elizabeth Jennings, Philip Larkin and John Wain, to which list Conquest’s volume ...

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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... over eight hundred pages which include a fine 48-page essay on Irish Gaelic literature by Seumas O’Neill and a briefer one (nine pages) on Irish writing in English, before getting down to giving the bibliographical and biographical facts about almost five hundred Irish writers, with critical essays attached. I’ve seen books like this before – I even ...

Anglo-America

Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... mention the avant garde, of American talent was centred on London. Well, not all: Dreiser, Eugene O’Neill, William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens (like Pound and his protégés, an early contributor to Poetry, Chicago) stayed behind; so did the group of young painters and photographers associated with Alfred Stieglitz’s quarterly Camera ...

Exhibitionists

Hal Foster: Curation, 4 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... some curators in Europe. At the beginning of the practice known as ‘institutional critique’, Robert Smithson insisted that the artist must understand the apparatus he or she is ‘threaded through’ in order to challenge, if not to change, its operations. Today many artists are only too happy to be so threaded, and many curators only too eager to do the ...

The kind of dog he likes

W.G. Runciman: Realistic Utopias, 18 December 2014

Justice for Earthlings: Essays in Political Philosophy 
by David Miller.
Cambridge, 254 pp., £18.99, January 2013, 978 1 107 61375 1
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... intellectuals in Britain and the US. And then there is the problem of the scope, or as Onora O’Neill puts it, the ‘bounds’ of justice. ‘Social’ justice is by definition a property of institutions, not people. People can of course behave unjustly in their social roles: judges take bribes, teachers have favourite pupils, policemen fabricate ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett, 5 April 2007

... I bought from him more than ten years ago, maybe fifteen years ago, which I first saw with Robert Armstrong in late December 1980 in his studio in Gorey, Co. Wexford, rests against the wall of the room where I work. We are uneasy with each other now. The talk turns to Christmas and he mentions the sadness of Gorey and that extraordinary space he made ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt: George Washington’s Reticence, 17 November 2005

His Excellency George Washington 
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... Texas ranch, and gives nicknames to the members of his cabinet. (‘Pablo’ for the hapless Paul O’Neill; ‘Z-Man’ for Robert Zoellick.) George Washington, on the other hand, was so aloof that even his contemporaries tried to make light of the fact. According to one story, at the Constitutional Convention in ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... under the umbrella organisation Britain in Europe, whose director was the diplomat Con O’Neill, or the rudderless National Referendum Campaign, whose tribunes came from the extreme left and extreme right. Cleverly, Britain in Europe enlisted celebrities rather than men in grey suits to get out its message. It used endorsements from the boxer ...

Erasures

Colm Tóibín: The Great Irish Famine, 30 July 1998

... and, as Taoiseach, he decided to make public money available for this. The project was taken on by Robert Dudley Edwards from University College Dublin, who promised that a book, one thousand pages long, made up of essays by various experts, would be in print by 1946. The Government released a grant of £1500. Over the next few years Edwards worked with a ...

The Family

Malise Ruthven, 17 December 1981

The House of Saud 
by David Holden and Richard Johns.
Sidgwick, 569 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 283 98436 8
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The Kingdom 
by Robert Lacey.
Hutchinson, 631 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 09 145790 4
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... due to the genius of Abdul Aziz (also known as ‘Ibn Saud’ – a title comparable to ‘The O’Neill’ or ‘The MacTavish’). Starting out from Kuwait in 1902 with a band of about forty followers, he regained the stronghold of Riyadh from his family’s Turkish-backed rivals, the Rashids, and proceeded, by war and diplomacy, to recover all the ...

All of Denmark was at his feet

John Sutherland, 12 May 1994

John Steinbeck: A Biography 
by Jay Parini.
Heinemann, 605 pp., £20, March 1994, 0 434 57492 9
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... nature’. There are laureates who are unequivocally deserving on straight literary criteria – O’Neill, Eliot, Faulkner, Hemingway, Singer, Bellow, Morrison. There are others – Sinclair Lewis, Pearl S. Buck and John Steinbeck – for whom non-literary factors seem to have been at work. With Steinbeck one can guess what the factors ...

On the Coalition

LRB Contributors, 10 June 2010

... of ideological nuance. Consider Reg Prentice (Labour to Tory), Shaun Woodward (Tory to Labour) and Robert Jackson (Tory to Labour), all of whom defected directly from one of the two main parties to the other, when a more gentle transition to the Liberal middle ground might have carried more ideological plausibility. In any case the gulfs within parties can ...

On the Window Ledge of the Union

Colin Kidd: Loyalism v. Unionism, 7 February 2013

Belfast 400: People, Place and History 
edited by S.J. Connolly.
Liverpool, 392 pp., £14.95, November 2012, 978 1 84631 634 0
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Ulster since 1600: Politics, Economy and Society 
edited by Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw.
Oxford, 355 pp., £35, November 2012, 978 0 19 958311 9
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The Plantation of Ulster: Ideology and Practice 
edited by Eamonn O Ciardha and Micheál O Siochrú.
Manchester, 269 pp., £70, October 2012, 978 0 7190 8608 3
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The End of Ulster Loyalism? 
by Peter Shirlow.
Manchester, 230 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 0 7190 8476 8
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... such perceptions. After the flight to the Continent in 1607 of the harassed Gaelic earls – Hugh O’Neill, Second Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O’Donnell, First Earl of Tyrconnell, along with Cúchonnacht Maguire, Lord of Fermanagh – the Plantation of 1609 was designed to bring civility to these rude parts. The new king, James VI and I, had already attempted ...

Towards the Precipice

Robert Brenner: The Continuing Collapse of the US Economy, 6 February 2003

... When corporate scandals first hit the headlines early in 2002, the US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill attributed them to the immorality of a ‘small number’ of miscreants. Apparently he’d been misinformed. The rapacious practices of these executives and firms – whether or not technically illegal – are typical of, and endemic to, corporate ...

Seductress Extraordinaire

Terry Castle: The vampiric Mercedes de Acosta, 24 June 2004

‘That Furious Lesbian’: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta 
by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 210 pp., £16.95, June 2004, 0 8093 2579 9
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Women in Turmoil: Six Plays 
by Mercedes de Acosta, edited by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 252 pp., £26.95, June 2003, 0 8093 2509 8
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... in the early 1960s, she nonetheless continued picking up nubile girls with aplomb, including (says Robert Schanke) a ‘tubercular young British actress who was a waitress in a coffee shop’. Once one might have welcomed such a seduction, fang marks, TB and all. I remember much relishing de Acosta’s gossipy 1960 autobiography, Here Lies the Heart, when it ...

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