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

On not being reached

It is more than twenty years since the mobile phone first burst - or brrred – its way into our lives. Initially, in Dublin at any rate, it was not regarded as a marvel. Rather it was customary for everyone else in the pub to stare coldly at the recipient of the call, who if he had any decency would blush and hurry towards the exit.
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Elephant? What elephant?

Jeremy Corbyn does not recognise the nature of the Brexit national division, nor does he see that it cannot be understood in the language of class division. This failure is hardly surprising, as he comes from a tradition where pretty much everything can be explained in that language.
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First catch your hare

Strangely bored on a weekend in the country in the late 1940s with an old lover rediscovered, Elizabeth David’s thoughts turned to apricots and olives, lemons, oil and almonds. In grey, rainy, puritanical England one didn’t mention such things. Hell, they were dirty words!
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The French Are Different

In Ireland we like to have a good bunch of Independents, on top of the usual political parties, to choose from. In France they like having a huge variety of parties, and behind them any number of political clubs, currents, think tanks and factions. It’s the ideas, you see: they’re mad for the ideas.
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The Politics of Good Intentions

The ‘shared community’ that Alliance champions in Northern Ireland is unlikely to come into being, but the existence of divisions provides a fertile ground for a politics of good intentions that, while it cannot alter fundamental political differences, provides the basis for a third form of identity politics.
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LP Curtis Jnr: 1932-2019

Lewis Perry Curtis, one of the leading twentieth century historians of modern Ireland, taught at Princeton, Berkeley and Brown universities and published important books on land reform, landlordism and eviction and racial stereotyping of the Irish, both in Britain and the United States.
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Who are the Irish?

In the nineteenth century many Irish Protestants, like Barack Obama’s ancestor Fulmouth Kearney, a shoemaker from Co Offaly, continued to emigrate to America. Others with a Catholic background became Protestant, such as Ronald Reagan, brought up in the faith of his Presbyterian mother.
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Sleeping with the Enemy

The party system of European states, George Soros argues, continues to reflect the capital-labour divisions that mattered in the 19th and 20th centuries. But the cleavage that matters most today is the one between pro- and anti-European forces. Well up to a point, Mr Soros.
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Sharp Right Ahead

European social democracy has lost ground in recent years, in spite of a notable success in Spain last month. Social democrats in Denmark, which goes to the polls next month, are offering ‘muscular’ policies on immigration and integration, making them sound very like the populist far right.
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Can Spring be far behind?

Percy Shelley felt, in winter’s grip, a presentiment of coming spring. It’s true there is a certain inevitability to these things and the leaves have never failed to return to the trees yet. But the wait can sometimes be a bit tedious.
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Jane Austen and IVF

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of the $800 needed to buy a vial of pre-screened sperm will wish to be informed of the heritable characteristics of its donor. A man of parts will certainly be favoured, yet even more so one of amiable and ductile temper.
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Karol Modzelewski 1937-2019

The distinguished Polish historian spent eight years in prison for his activism in favour of free trade unions and political democracy. He was also the man who came up with the name by which the movement he was engaged in building would become known, Solidarność.
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No Pizza. No Lasagne. No Directions.

There are a number of places in Europe where no one, except for some not very numerous sellers of tourist tat, wants any more visitors. In fact they’d prefer to be without the ones they have. So will we be staying away? No, no, let the others stay away. I need my culture.
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The Left holds the line in Spain

Sunday’s general election saw a disastrous drop in the votes of the main right-wing party, the Popular Party, a qualified success for the centre-left PSOE and a smaller than forecast breakthrough for the new, ultra-nationalist party of the Spanish right, Vox.
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No More Mr Nice Guy

There is a widespread belief in the US that not only must China be contained but that the traditional American style of conducting international politics through alliances no longer serves the interests of the US. A radical change of approach is required. This is where Trump, the great disrupter, comes in.
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Response to a Review

Lucy E Salyer responds to comments by Breandan Mac Suibhne in his review of her book 'Under the Starry Flag'.
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Stockholm or Silicon Valley?

Childcare costs in Ireland absorb 28 per cent of disposable income; the European average is 12 per cent. We seem to be modelling our economy on the US, where there is no paid maternity leave. As increasing numbers of Irish people feel the squeeze, something is likely to give politically.
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The Politics of English Nostalgia

Ireland has a tradition of seeking help from the Continent, in the form of soldiers, swords, cannon - generically fíon Spainneach. It’s not surprising that we are comfortable in the Union. For the British, where sovereignty has been long attested by ‘divers sundry old authentic histories’, it’s a different matter.
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You can keep your Gucci loafers

A fifteenth century English treatise loudly complained of the tricky trade practices of foreigners and argued for a protectionist regime under which home industry would thrive. The future would be bright, since England dealt in solid goods everyone wanted while the foreigners sold only ‘fripperies, niffles and trifles’.
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Anderlecht, Nine More

They say that keeping a pet and learning to look after it ‑ even experiencing its death ‑ can teach a child valuable lessons. So too can following a football team. It teaches you that though sometimes in life you can win you can just as easily lose. Oh how you can lose.
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