Eat the frail

New Labour and others enthusiastically embraced a model of society which relegated many people to the margins while embracing and celebrating the buccaneer virtues. We have seen where that got us. Is it too late for the left to think again?
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Not yet heaven, not quite hell

First of all you knew you were going to one place or the other. Then along came purgatory. Why it was required is a complex matter, but for heavy work under ground they knew they were going to need the Irish.
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Galway celebrates the book

The West's biggest literary festival kicks off this week with leading Irish and international figures due to come to read.
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The writer cast out

Adam Thirlwell wishes us to contemplate the writer as great soul, cast out of bourgeois society for his compulsion for truth-telling. But the examples he chooses seem a little strange.
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Jacques Le Goff 1924-2014

France's greatest medievalist, and one of Europe's leading historians, has died after a life filled with achievement, aged ninety.
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A Greek sacrifice

The Greeks have been asked to liberalise book prices, a move which publishing and cultural interests in both Germany and France see as inimical to the long-term health of the book sector.
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She wore short shorts

Ireland was backward way back then, or so the story goes, but a capital city is always a capital city and who knows what you might get away with?
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Le livre est mort. Vive le livre

It would be naive to think that new media do not have an eroding effect on old, but traditional forms of reading are not dead yet.
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Dublin Gossip

Dublin's Stoneybatter was a happening place well before the hipsters started moving in five years ago. The alleged doings of Doyle the publican and the delectable Miss Devine were trending back in the 1830s.
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First Catch Your Fairy Godmother

The London Review of Books is a marvel. Cool design, sharp opinion, cosmopolitan style, intellectual depth. How does it do it? Money.
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Auden on good and evil

Doing good is all very well, but best to keep it to one's self. Being good is a more slippery matter still, and the good man often shares a bed with the bad one.
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Homes for the Blind and Deaf

There was perfect cleanliness and order in all parts of the establishment, and a large allowance of fresh air. We took leave of the kind and courteous Brother and left the Home for Deaf-mutes, heartily wishing that the blind boys could enjoy the privilege of being under the care of the excellent and intelligent Christian Brothers.
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Filthy Lucre

Money makes the world go round, but I think sensitive people like you and I can leave that to others.
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A Fair Price

Classical and medieval thinkers had a great deal of difficulty coming to terms with the practices of merchants, shopkeepers and stallholders. 'Five obols, guv, and I'll throw in the amphora. Can't say fairer than that.'
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The City in Song and Verse

The new One City One Book choice, in succession to 2013's Strumpet City, is to be launched early next month.
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The Trouble With Concessions

When nineteenth century Ireland received the benefits of British political reform the effect was the opposite of what it had been in England. Far from it being a case of being bought off, bringing the Catholic middle classes into the tent in Ireland actually resulted in greater pressure.
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A New Novel from Mr Joyce

A hundred years ago Joyce's Portrait first appeared in the magazine The Egoist.
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A Grand Moan

The English know that nothing is really ever going to change, so, well, you have to larf, innit? But they are missing out on the far superior feelings of satisfaction and self-righteousness to be gleaned from denunciation.
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Montaigne in Rome

Michel de Montaigne set out from France in the summer of 1580 on a long journey which was to take him through Switzerland, Germany and Austria, over the Alps and into Italy. Many things interested him in the life of the Rome of Gregory XIII, but he was struck by how little of the ancient city remained.
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Seamus Heaney in Denmark

Bruce Clunies-Ross remembers a festive meeting of the poet, a Danish expert on sheela-na-gigs and PV Glob, the royal antiquary who wrote of Tollund Man, the natural warmth of the gathering further enhanced by glasses of a Danish spirit flavoured with bog myrtle and a variety of Tuborg made specially for the Danish court.
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