Love as a principle, order as its base

In advance of the first round of Brazil’s presidential election, Tom Hennigan reflects on the significance of the country’s unusual ‘retro-futurist’ national flag and in particular of its famous motto celebrating order and progress.
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Fighting over the flag

Some sections of unionist opinion fought a rearguard action after Irish independence, though harassed by Sinn Fein in particular. God Save The Queen was sung at the horse show at the RDS even in the late 1940s.
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The thickness of books

Books are a different class of object, argues Toby Munday, profoundly unlike magazines, newspapers, blogs, games or social media sites. They will be damaged if they are treated as if they are the same.
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Are you dancin'? Are you askin'?

You put your right leg in, your right leg out. In, out, in, out. You shake it all about. You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around. That's what it's all about.
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Look at the birds of the air

Gilbert White, an 18th century country parson and naturalist, wrote in sumptuous detail of the animal and bird life he observed around him. Here he is on the varieties of birdsong.
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The Literary Racket

Edgar Allan Poe was resolutely unimpressed by the modus operandi of the press, and in particular those sections of it in which literary opinions were offered and books reviewed.
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Flattering the people

If, as politicians like to assert, the people aren't stupid, why do we have a word for it? Surely it wasn't coined just for Afghan hounds.
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Monkey Business

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu met the divil on the bus. Very freaky.
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Le Fanu's dark imagination

Less well known, but probably a better writer than Bram Stoker, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was born two hundred years ago today.
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More gin for the editor

William Maginn, who died 170 years ago today, was a child prodigy from Cork who became a brilliant newspaper editor in London. But sadly, the drink got to him.
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The birth of Irish democracy

Did Irish democracy develop in the 1920s in the early years of the new state or were it seeds sown a long time before?
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Home is a sad place

With his fortieth birthday the realisation came to Philip Larkin that he had done nothing with the `fat fillet-steak' part of life.
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The sentences in my head

László Krasnahorkai talks to George Szirtes about how he writes and what he reads.
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Why they went to war

Why did the soldiers join up and go to be slaughtered in France, Belgium or Gallipoli? Sometimes because the misery of their lives made them think that anything would be better.
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Paxman in Meath

The popular television presenter and historian will be lecturing next week at the Hay Festival Kells on the Great War, an event about which he has a very clear and simple idea.
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Forty days of sunshine

The Book of Kells will be joined by some other outstanding Irish manuscripts on display in Trinity College Dublin in 2016.
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A bookselling institution

The famous Foyle's bookshop in central London is moving to a spectacularly beautiful new premises just down the road from its traditional Charing Cross Road pitch.
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Something for everybody - one hopes

A hugely impressive list of guests has been put together for the Edinburgh international books festival, which runs in mid-August.
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Cruel, cruel Margaret Stackpoole

James Clarence Mangan, a lad from the Liberties, went courting a posh girl up in Ranelagh. At first things seemed to be going well ...
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If you gotta go ...

Former French prime minister Michel Rocard, in a resounding 'J'accuse!', tells the British that if they want to leave the EU they should just do that, and quickly too. Really, they've done quite enough damage inside.
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