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TomGriffin
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Former SDLP leader John Hume died in the early hours of this morning, his family has announced. Here are some of the tributes to the architect of the Good Friday Agreement. "John Hume, through his words, his astute diplomacy and... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Green Ribbon
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Thatcher's Spy: My Life as an MI5 agent inside Sinn Féin, by Willie Carlin. Merrion Press, 2019. Amazon/Bookshop/Hive This autobiography of Willie Carlin, a former British intelligence agent inside Sinn Fein, garnered significant press attention on publication last year. That's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2020 at The Green Ribbon
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Robinson Crusoe is a 1719 novel by Daniel Defoe. Like several of Defoe's works, it purported to be a genuine autobiography, in this case that of an English seaman, shipwrecked for many years on a desert island off the coast of South America, who nevertheless manages to maintain a civilised existence with the help of a native servant, Friday. Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders is a novel by Daniel Defoe. The eponymous heroine recounts a life story that was presented as a genuine autobiography on first publication in 1722. Her picaresque adventures encompass several husbands, numerous children, and a criminal career in the London underworld before her ultimate reform. Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady, is a 1748 novel by Samuel Richardson. Composed as a series of letters, it portrays the young heroine's attempt to maintain her virtue and independence in the face of a domineering family, and of the villainous attentions of the libertine Robert Lovelace. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the last novel by Charles Dickens, left unfinished at his death in 1870, after six of a planned twelve parts had been published in serialization. The story is set in Cloisterham, a thinly-veiled version of the Kent cathedral town of Rochester, the setting for a murder to which the title refers. A number of adaptations have attempted to provide a resolution to the story. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Our Mutual Friend is Charles Dickens' last completed novel, originally serialized in 1864-5. It's complex plot centres on a legacy left to John Harmon, on condition that he marry Bella Wilfer, a woman, he has never met. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Little Dorrit is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialized from 1855 to 1857. The title character, Amy Dorrit, begins the novel in Marshalsea Prison where her father is held as a debtor, as Dickens' own father had been in the 1820s. The subsequent vicissitudes of the Dorrit family enable to Dickens to examine a wide range of British institutions. Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Martin Chuzzlewit is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialized from 1842 to 1844. In outline the plot is typically Dickensian, with a young protagonist's progress in the face of miserly and hypocritical villains, though in practice, Mr Pecksniff is one of the best-realised of the latter. Poor sales prompted to a diversion of the story, introducing Martin's attempt to settle in America. The satirical portrayal of the United States, based on Dickens' 1842 visit, embroiled Dickens in a notorious transatlantic literary spat. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised from 1860 to 1861, when it was published in two volumes. In this tale of a young man's unexpected fortune, Dickens returns to some of the autobiographical themes of his earlier work, but employs them in the service of a famously suspenseful plot, producing perhaps the best-loved of his later novels. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is the third novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised in 1838-9. The story of a young man's progress in the face of hypocritical antagonists set the pattern for Dickens' mature novels, while retaining elements of broad comedy which have earned more popular success than critical praise. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Hard Times is an 1852 novel by Charles Dickens. Set in the fictional Coketown in the North of England, it is Dickens' most sustained engagement with the world created by the industrial revolution. His portrayals of the characters of Thomas Gradgrind and Stephen Bounderby are a forceful satire of utilitarian ideas. Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Bleak House is a novel by Charles Dickens originally serialized between 1852 and 1853. The story's central thread is the long-running legal case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, a pointed satire of the nineteenth century Court of Chancery which had a significant impact in promoting legal reform. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Dombey and Son is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised between 1846 and 1848. The plot centres on businessman Paul Dombey and his desire for an heir to continue his firm, giving Dickens the occasion for a critical occasion of arranged marriages and related institutions. Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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A Tale of Two Cities is an 1859 novel by Charles Dickens, his second on a historical subject, after Barnaby Rudge. Its famous opening lines encapsulate the Nineteenth Century's ambiguous view of the French Revolution. Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Personal History of David Copperfield is the eighth novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised from 1849, and published as a book on completion in 1850. It was Dickens' favourite among his novels, in part because it was the most autobiographical. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Oliver Twist, or the Parish Boy's Progress is the second novel by Charles Dickens. Originally published in serial form between 1837 and 1839, it caused a sensation with sharp satire of early Victorian social attitudes, and its unsparing portrayal of a young orphan's encounter with a world of poverty and crime. Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, or The Pickwick Papers, was the first novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised from 1836 to 1837, when it was published in book form. Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Phenomenology of Mind or Phenomenology of Spirit (German: Phänomenologie des Geistes), originally published in 1807, was the first major philosophical work by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and still the most influential. Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Harvard Classics is a 51 volume collection of classic texts published in 1909. It is also known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf after the original editor and compiler, Harvard President Charles W. Eliot. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published by Scottish philosopher Adam Smith in 1776, is the foundational work in the tradition of classical political economy, the precursor of the modern discipline of economics. Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2020 at Tom's Learning Notes
If you're following the Irish general election count today, I recommend Newstalk for discussion and RTE for results. Sinn Féin look to have won the popular vote, but a lack of candidates means they may not overtake Fianna Fail and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2020 at The Green Ribbon
After a massively consequential election on 12 December, the UK is now pretty certain to leave the EU within two months. Yet huge uncertainty remains about the UK's future outside the bloc. The lack of debate over Brexit during the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2019 at The Green Ribbon
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The Social Contract (French: Du Contrat Social) is a 1762 treatise by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, outlining a theory of political rights based on unlimited popular sovereignty. Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
The DUP could talk to Labour in a hung Parliament, but only if it was led by someone other than Jeremy Corbyn, Arlene Foster suggested at the weekend. However, there are signs that some in the DUP take a more... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2019 at The Green Ribbon