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Fintan O’Toole on John le Carré’s final twist: dying as an Irishman

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/10/2021 - 7:45pm in

He was the greatest English novelist of his generation, yet just before his death he became an Irish citizen of the EU. The reasons were both political and deeply personal, but at their heart lay one thing: betrayal

An exclusive extract from his new novel

Writers reveal their favourite le Carré

I’m looking at one of the last photographs of John le Carré. It was taken by his son Nick in October 2020. There is a mostly empty bottle of good beaujolais in front of him and a glimpse through the window behind of the Cornish landscape that he inhabited with such delight. His beloved wife and most important collaborator, Jane, is seated next to him, laughing heartily.

The man in the picture seems at home in the world, comfortable with who – and where – he is. Written over the last years of his life and completed by Nick, his final novel Silverview is now about to be published posthumously. The book is shot through with an elegiac kind of Englishness: beach huts in an out of season seaside town, greasy spoon cafes, net curtains.

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Book at Lunchtime: Born to Write

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/06/2021 - 3:39pm in

A TORCH Book at Lunchtime webinar on ‘Born to Write: Literary Families and Social Hierarchy in Early Modern France’ by Professor Neil Kenny. Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held weekly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. The events are free to attend and open to all.

About the book:

It is easy to forget how deeply embedded in social hierarchy was the literature and learning that has come down to us from the early modern European world. From fiction to philosophy, from poetry to history, works of all kinds emerged from and through the social hierarchy that was a fundamental fact of everyday life. Paying attention to it changes how we might understand and interpret the works themselves, whether canonical and familiar or largely forgotten. But a second, related fact is much overlooked too: works also often emanated from families, not just from individuals.

Speakers:

Professor Neil Kenny is a Professor of French at Oxford University, a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College and Lead Fellow for Languages at the British Academy. He specialises in early modern French literature and thought, especially from the early sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century. Professor Kenny’s current focus is on the relation of literature and learning to social hierarchy and previous projects have investigated different kinds of knowledge and belief.

Professor Caroline Warman is a Professor of French Literature and Thought at Oxford University, and President of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She specialises in the circulation of ideas and materialist thought and has recently completed a book on Diderot called The Atheist’s Bible: Diderot and the ‘Eléments de physiologie’.

Professor Ceri Sullivan is a Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University and the author of five books on the literary features that structure early modern texts about religion, trade, bureaucracy, and rhetoric. She is the general editor of the English Association's series Essays and Studies and her most recent publication is Shakespeare and the Play Scripts of Private Prayer.

The Infamous Class 3 School Illustration (1976-1979)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/07/2020 - 6:30pm in


On 10 September, 1976, dozens of children, including every single pupil from class 3, Scarfolk High School, vanished on their way to school. A police operation was launched but no clues were ever found. The children were pronounced dead the following Monday, a mere three days later.
Every year thereafter, the police commissioned their sketch artist to draw, in the style of a school photograph, how the missing children might have looked (albeit with their faces removed) had they not disappeared in mysterious circumstances. This was sent to the bereaved parents of class 3 at an exorbitant cost of £31.25.
In the 1979 class sketch, one parent noticed a small label on one of the faceless figure's clothes that contained a code word only their child could have known. 
Under mounting pressure from parents, the police eventually raided their artist's studio and found 347 children in his cellar where many had been held captive for several years. The police immediately seized and confined the children as evidence in a crime investigation, which, after much dithering, ultimately never went to court leaving the families no choice but to pursue a private prosecution against the kidnapper. 
As the children had already been pronounced dead and the cost of amending the relevant paperwork was high, they were given away as prizes in the Scarfolk police raffle, which helped pay the legal fees of their sketch artist, who, it turns out, was the son of Scarfolk's police commissioner.

In search of the Phoenicians

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/05/2018 - 6:17pm in

Tags 

history, Family

Book at Lunchtime, In search of the Phoenicians The Phoenicians traveled the Mediterranean long before the Greeks and Romans, trading, establishing settlements, and refining the art of navigation. But who these legendary sailors really were has long remained a mystery. In Search of the Phoenicians makes the startling claim that the “Phoenicians” never actually existed. Taking readers from the ancient world to today, this monumental book argues that the notion of these sailors as a coherent people with a shared identity, history, and culture is a product of modern nationalist ideologies—and a notion very much at odds with the ancient sources.

Aus Charity is Global Finalist in IT Comp

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/12/2014 - 11:10am in

Want to silence a two-year-old? Try teaching it to ride a motorbike | Charlie Brooker

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/08/2014 - 5:00am in

I decided to introduce my son to video games. We soon found one he liked … and I mean really, really liked

So I decided to introduce my two-year-old son to the world of video games. Before you accuse me of hobbling my offspring's mind, I'd like to point out that a) television is 2,000 times worse, so shove that up your Night Garden and b) I also decided to counterbalance the gaming with exposure to high culture. For every 10 minutes of Fruit Ninja during daylight hours, he'd get 10 pages of a critically acclaimed novel at bedtime. We're currently halfway through The Magus by John Fowles, which he's enjoying immensely. He finds some passages so moving that his protracted sobs drown out my reading completely, and when I return to the beginning of the chapter to start again, he leaps up screaming, trying to snatch the book out of my hands with delight.

Like any self-respecting 2014 toddler, he can swipe, pat and jab at games on a smartphone or tablet, but smartphone games aren't real games. They're interactive dumbshows designed to sedate suicidal commuters. And they're not just basic but insulting, often introducing themselves as free-to-play simply so they can extort money from you later in exchange for more levels or less terrible gameplay. Either that or they fund themselves with pop-up adverts that defile the screen like streaks on a toilet bowl.

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