The Hyacinth Girl: T.S. Eliot’s Hidden Muse, by Lyndall Gordon, Norton, 496 pp, 2023, $47, ISBN: 978-1324002802 British edition: Virago, 512 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-0349012117 From its very first sentence, this book gives a jolt to Eliot studies. The poet is a master of disguise, writes Lyndall Gordon, who has proven herself more than capable […]
Oscar Wilde on Trial: The Criminal Proceedings from Arrest to Imprisonment, by Joseph Bristow, Yale University Press, 672 pp, £65, ISBN: 978-0300222722 This is certainly not the first book to be devoted to the trials of Oscar Wilde. As early as 1912 there was Christopher Sclater Millard’s Oscar Wilde: Three Times Tried. The word has […]
1 ‘How do I become a good person?’ is a boring question, because we already know the answer (be kind; don’t make other people responsible for your suffering; don’t be responsible for other people’s suffering), and because […]
Confessions: A Life of Failed Promises, by AN Wilson, Bloomsbury Continuum, 312 pp, £20, ISBN: 978-1472994806 Schooldays are seldom recalled as a particularly happy experience by the children of the English upper middle class. One need only think of ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’, George Orwell’s essay about his prep school, St Cyprian’s, a perhaps […]
James Joyce and the Irish Revolution: The Easter Rising as Modern Event, by Luke Gibbons. University of Chicago Press, xix + 317 pp, €35, ISBN: 978-0226824475 ‘James Joyce and Paul L. Léon: The Story of a Friendship’ Revisited, Alexis Léon, Anna Maria Léon and Luca Crispi (eds), Bloomsbury Academic, 244 pp, £130, ISBN: 978-13501333839 The […]
How am I? If I was any better, I couldn’t stick it. Brendan Behan A personal reflection on Brendan Behan and his family in post-independence Ireland A few bars of ‘The Auld Triangle’, the prison ballad made famous by Brendan Behan, will always go down well in Dublin. For many, including myself, the song evokes […]
Books drawn on in this essay include: Bard of Erin, The Life of Thomas Moore, by Ronan Kelly, Penguin Ireland, 624 pp, £25.00, ISBN: 978-1844881437 Memoirs of Captain Rock, by Thomas Moore, Longman 1824, Field Day 2008, 328 pp, €25.00, ISBN: 978-0946755370 Captain Rock Detected, by Mortimer O’Sullivan, T Cadell, 1824, 450 pp, With […]
Frank McGuinness is a writer of openness and adventure. Openness to form: while best known as a playwright, while highly regarded as a poet since the 1990s, he has made forays into other genres, writing short fiction in the early 1980s and publishing two novels in the last decade; openness to varying manner and textures, which can range from tightly focused social realism to fantasy. The list of his stage and film adaptations suggests a keen literary appetite, eager to try anything.
As might be expected, the immediate response to the Rising of those that were or would soon become the leading Irish writers was probably as complex as that of the Irish public more generally. If a generalisation might be risked, the letters and other early writings of 1916 suggest a sense of stunned incomprehension, this sooner or later modulating in some cases into a grudging respect for the executed leaders.
The troubadour who mangled ‘Moore’s Melodies’ and inspired Joyce