Éadaoín Lynch writes on the British literature of the Second World War. Writers such as Roald Dahl wrote directly about the experience of killing in combat, and the godlike power of mechanised warfare. The dominant mode of writing death and killing lay in understatement, detachment and voyeurism.
It is more than a little depressing to contemplate the possibility that the old cold war narrative which restricted the potential of so many individuals and peoples over the latter half of the twentieth century has given way to a new overarching narrative ‑ equally laden with oppressive potential for anyone in the way ‑ that of multipolarity versus unipolarity.
The decision to abandon Parnell in the belief that sacrificing him would secure home rule lost Ireland a great leader and left in his place a myth of the tragic and romantic hero. Those who had made the decision overestimated the value of pragmatism for those with a weak hand.
The mid-1960s saw a relaxation of old certainties among both communities in Northern Ireland. The unionist leader Terence O’Neill was conscious that it was necessary to offer some remedy to the discrimination that Catholics suffered, but even his mild measures of reform did not win majority support within his own community.
Though he fell out with the temper of the times in the later 1960s, in the light of history Bellow will be a judged a great American novelist, and Herzog, cerebral and earthy, imbued with two thousand years of learning yet crackling with wiseass Chicago wit, will be accounted his masterpiece.
Television has been accused of dumbing down the population almost since it was invented. For TS Eliot even the word itself was ugly and foreign. Noel Coward thought it ‘hideous and horrid’, while those on the left feared it would seduce the working classes and liquidate their sense of class solidarity.