Filed under General

talking French

understanding the secret art of French conversation What is the secret of communicating with the French? Because I spent two of the most formative years of my youth in France and have kept up a close interest in French culture and society ever since, I thought I knew this terrain But two French-Canadians, Jean-Benoit Nadeau … Continue reading

“Babies are box-office…”

“…so we won’t be seeing a movie on ‘Bridget Jones’ Abortion’ any time soon. The ultrasound scanner has magnified the drama of pregnancy… Everyone seems to love Bridget Jones. The cinema was full – 98 per cent female – and the audience laughed, clapped and empathised with Bridget (the fabulous Renee Zellweger) and her zany … Continue reading

Why does “Irish Writer” always mean “novelist?”

Books Ireland: November 2016 There was a pleasing exhibition – at the National Gallery in Dublin last year – of favourite paintings chosen by twelve “Irish writers”. This was an engaging idea – to bring a literary eye to a visual medium. But predictably, all these “Irish writers” were novelists – and indeed, fine novelists … Continue reading

Mary Kenny: Book Reviews. From the Literary Review

Fascist in the Family: The Tragedy of John Beckett MP. By Francis Beckett. Abingdon: Routledge. 388 pages. £16.99 Searching for Lord Haw-Haw: The Political Life of William Joyce. By Colin Holmes. Routledge. 494 pages. £14.99 A partnership between Joyce and Beckett might suggest an alliance between two epic Irish writers, but this Joyce and Beckett … Continue reading

The Dentist as Hero

Standfirst: without modern dentistry, we’d be toothless crones by the age of 60 When older feminists get together they will sometimes discuss “what development was the greatest benefit to women in our lifetime”. Some name the Pill, some the motor car, some choose better education and career opportunities, some nominate equal pay: I would like … Continue reading

What Do People Pray For?

Standfirst: the universality of human hopes and worries are expressed in prayer requests The doors of the old church were open, and you could see, even from outside, a blaze of candles by a side altar. I’d been told about the prayers and candles offered before the statue of St Rita, an Italian woman of … Continue reading

how I failed to get into Birkbeck… essay on Rattigan

Terence Rattigan, Edward Carson and a campaign for justice. A playwright may go out of fashion almost overnight, and that happened with Terence Rattigan in 1956. He had been, for twenty years, London’s most successful playwright: at one point, three of his plays were running concurrently in three adjoining theatres in Shaftesbury Avenue. His first … Continue reading

Can a rapist be a great man?

Can a man be both a rapist and a person of acknowledged greatness? The question has been asked about the film director Roman Polanski, who stands accused of being both a paedophile (in the technical sense) and a rapist, since the young girl in question was only 12 years old at the time.             But … Continue reading