Aff Wi’Her Heid!

October 19, 2009
by Harry Reid

THE LIFE OF MARY, Queen of Scots is generally presented as a tragedy. It could equally be regarded as a comedy, if a somewhat grisly one. Her story is at once a curious succession of mishaps and a series of grotesque misjudgements. It may ultimately be viewed as an extended misadventure. Whether all...

Close But No Cigar

October 19, 2009
by George Rosie

IT’S ALWAYS THE STUFF we didn’t know about that makes a senior politician’s memoir worth reading. The less the politician has to lose the more beans he’s likely to spill. And in his autobiography Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell, the recently-deposed leader of Lib Dems, spills quite a few. Here’s...

Mad About the Boy

October 19, 2009
by Ian Bell

WHEN ALAIN ROBBE-GRILLET bid a definitive adieu to his devotees recently, the London obituarists achieved a tentative consensus. Formal French brilliance, they conceded; and high seriousness on every page. Foremost among the nouveaux romanciers, they said, this was a man who really thought about the...

Volume 4 – Issue 3 – Reviews

October 19, 2009

Selected Poems Bernard O’Donoghue FABER, £12.99 pp117 ISBN 9780571236381 Reviewer: HAYDEN MURPHY There is an air of disturbed memories rather than expressed distress throughout this Selected Poems from the Irish born, English based poet and academic Bernard O’Donoghue. It is largely drawn from...

A Critics’ Orgy

October 19, 2009
by Patrick Crotty

The first of the three volumes of The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, EUP’s magisterial survey of Scottish writing, uses as the opening part of its title the name of a sixth century Irish saint who wrote poems about the pain of exile from his native Derry; the title of the third refers...

Peace Work

October 19, 2009
by John D Brewer

EVERY WAR IS the defining moment in the history of those who fought them, the instant when everything changed. But if their war was the one to end all wars, peacemakers undergoing the same life-changing transition tend to universalize their peace process as the one that promotes all others. Both end...

Volume 4 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

October 19, 2009
by Gerald Daw

Netherland Joseph O’Neill FOURTH ESTATE, £14.99 pp256 ISBN 9780007269068 Cork-born O’Neill’s Netherland is a complex and meditative work of fiction. The title refers to the protagonist’s childhood recollections of The Hague; it also demarcates the psychological and geographic aftermath of...

A Tale of Two Unions

October 19, 2009
by Patrick Geoghegan

HOW DID THEY pass the Union? By perjury and fraud. By slaves who sold their land for gold, as Judas sold his God”. These lines were written in the late-nineteenth century about the Irish Act of Union of 1800, but they could just as easily have been written at any time over the past three hundred years...

From Hume to Bloom

October 19, 2009
by Cairns Craig

IN 1822 WALTER Scott was the organising genius behind the famous visit of George IV to Edinburgh, turning the tartan-bedecked city and the tartan-clad King into a celebration not only of Scotland’s military virtues, as evidenced on the battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars, and of the Highland traditions...

Boosters and Begrudgers

October 19, 2009
by Graham Walker

INTRODUCING Luck And The Irish, his study of the recent remarkable economic and cultural transformation of the Republic of Ireland, Roy Foster refers in passing to the “intriguing parallels” presented by “new-look Scotland”. Foster goes on to write of “the alteration and expansion of the...