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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Apocalypse No

Predictions of apocalypse tend to situate the ultimate hour within the lifetime of the predicter. Unsurprisingly, since the notion is essentially a metaphorical transference of our individual mortality. And in both biblical and secular versions it is profoundly anti-political, distracting us from what we must do.
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Leopold Locked Down

Had he set it in March or April 2020, Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ would probably have been a much shorter novel. Some of the episodes would have been ruled out by confinement measures, while others simply couldn’t be allowed to have happened, being quite politically incorrect.
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On the Make

A major book prize has been won by David Hayton for his biographical study of the historian Lewis Namier, who believed that in the 18th century a man never entered parliament to benefit humanity any more than a child would dream of a birthday cake so that others might eat it.
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Escaping Lockdown with WB Yeats

From his Galway tower, amid the bitterness of civil war, Yeats looked out his window at an empty starling’s nest and imagined that bees might come to settle there. A timely image, for replacing bitter dissension with bee-like co-operation is surely the path to sweetness and light.
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Sunningdale: Trundling On

Was the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973 undermined by the fundamental opposition of many unionists to sharing power with nationalists? Or was it the threat that the Council of Ireland might be a slippery slope towards a united Ireland that was decisive?
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Memories of Eavan Boland

Richard Bourke recalls meetings with Eavan Boland as a young man in the 1980s. Being in her company opened a window on intellectual life, albeit one with a quite narrow view. The culture she esteemed was exclusively literary, with pursuits like history or philosophy relegated to the margins.
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Italian Diary X

As Italy enters a new phase of its response to the coronavirus crisis, John McCourt has decided to park his diary and return to his Joyce book. Meanwhile, medics and scientists, the very people who are trying to save our lives, are being increasingly portrayed by a noisy minority as the enemy.
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Truth Above Everything

He was a champion sprinter, a member of the Irish Volunteers and a gun-runner, a supreme court judge, a translator of Immanuel Kant, a playwright and the author of a whimsical novel in which a group of intellectuals discuss philosophy and Irish politics and communicate by radio with Mars.
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Sunningdale and the Council of Ireland: an Exchange

Hugh Logue takes issue with a recent review by John Swift which he says misrepresents his views, as a prominent SDLP representative at the time, on the function of the Council of Ireland, part of the Sunningdale settlement of 1973. John Swift responds.
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Italian Diary IX

What we are all missing at this time is not so much the extraordinary ‑ those occasional escapes from the rhythms and habits of our daily lives ‑ but the ordinary and the everyday. When, for example, will we next sit down with friends in a pub and make a hole in a pint of stout?
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Blighted

The disease which arrived in Ireland in the 1840s did not attack humans, yet it led to the death of one million individuals. It was politics, not natural causes, which brought about this catastrophe. A grim twelve decades of consequence followed.
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Eavan Boland 1944-2020

As editor and translator she contributed immensely to the cross-currents of poetic and intellectual exchanges between Ireland, the UK and the US. Her poetry encompasses a view and vision, precarious, troubled, yet also calm, which is also found in the numerous poets she celebrated.
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Italian Diary VIII

And so on he goes, peddling ‘cures’ like some medieval travelling salesman. Let’s not forget the man who died in March in Arizona after consuming fish tank cleaner because Trump had claimed the chloroquine that was in it could be a ‘game-changer’. It was.
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SF and violence: an exchange

John Swift argued in a review in the current issue of the drb that the IRA campaign was a failure. Philip McGarry disagrees, pointing to the current political prominence of Sinn Féin, which he sees as a clear outcome of its strategy of violence. John Swift responds.
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A Timeless Fable

Albert Camus said that Kafka obliges us to read his books twice: once for the literal narrative, and twice for the figurative or allegorical. By that token, writes Ed Vulliamy, his own La Peste cannot be read less than thrice, for it spoke, and still speaks, on three levels: literal, allegorical and universal.
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Friendly Enemies

Colum Kenny, author of a new study of Arthur Griffith, says Yeats was wrong about Lavery’s portrait of Sinn Féin’s founder, whom he described in a poem as staring with ‘hysterical pride’. When it came to personal pride, the poet indeed would have left many others standing.
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Italian Diary VII

When somebody is the president, Donald Trump has said, the authority is total. Does he really believe this? As New York governor Andrew Cuomo reminded him: ‘The president doesn’t have total authority … We don’t have a king.’ But if he were a king, might he be Macbeth?
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Recollections in Tranquillity

Today, April 7th, marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the English poet William Wordsworth. He and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with their book of poems ‘Lyrical Ballads’, were instrumental in launching the Romantic period of English literature.
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Italian Diary VI

‘Red Noses’, a play about the Black Death first performed in London in 1985, featured a team of players touring the plague-affected villages of 14th century France, offering an unusual remedy – ‘peacocks, not ravens, bright stars, not sad comets, red noses, not black death’.
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Cast a Cold Eye

In 1948, at the request of WB Yeats’s widow, George, and with support from Maud Gonne MacBride, an Irish Navy vessel was dispatched to France to bring the body of the poet back for burial in Co Sligo. And there now it lies - or perhaps it may be the body of the Englishman Alfred Hollis.
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