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

    Let It Go

    John Banville
    Let It Go
    To forget history, in particular the history of great crimes, can seem both an offence against the dead and an abdication of our duty to ensure that such crimes are not repeated. But if forgetting does an injustice to the past, remembering may well do one to the present.

    Free Long Looking

    Thomas Berenato
    Free Long Looking
    As a Jesuit novice, Gerard Manley Hopkins once enclosed a feather in a letter to his mother, noting that ‘no one is ever so poor that he is not … owner of the skies and stars and everything wild that is to be found on the earth’. A look costs nothing, even a long look.

    The Usual Terror

    Kevin Stevens
    Don De Lillo seems to suggest in his new novel that literature has failed us, failed to correct the inadequacy of language or interrupt the downward curve of history. Yet that implication is denied by the work, not just by the consolation of philosophy but by the joy of his near faultless craft.

    The End

    Bridget English
    We may well, at bottom, be just ‘frail and vulnerable animals’, but we are more complex than other animals in our approaches to death. We must accept our physical mortality, but as humans we cannot rid ourselves of the desire for consolation or meaning.

    Hadn’t we the Gaiety?

    Caitriona Clear
    One writer has claimed that the singing of Percy French’s comic songs was once considered by some to be offensive, yet the best-known collection of his work, the ‘Prose, Poems and Parodies’, went into fourteen editions between 1929 and 1962 in a very nationalist Ireland.

    Small is Beautiful

    Siniša Malešević
    Much of the rhetoric of Irish nationalism focused on the idea of a small nation, oppressed by a larger one. The nationalism of the Balkan states, in contrast, tended to emphasise the idea of ‘greatness’, though in many important senses these were smaller polities than Ireland.

    Which Doll is the Nice One?

    Thomas Christie Williams
    Empirical research has been employed in pursuit of moral goals, by demonstrating that a cultural practice is harmful to its victims. But should scientific evidence by accorded more weight than moral principles, for example the principle of the equality of all before the law?

    Havens for the Riff-raff

    Pádraig Yeates
    In the early years of the state, the poor, widowed, orphaned and illegitimate were seen as problem groups that were a drain on scarce resources, a threat to the social order and a disgrace to the nation. They needed policing and, where necessary, confinement.

    Batting for the Other Side

    Jim Smyth
    The Establishment recruited its members from Eton, Harrow and Winchester and from the ancient universities, Oxford and Cambridge. Its high-flyers staffed the Foreign Office, royal commissions, boards of trustees, the BBC and MI6. And some spied for the Soviet Union.

    Not a Woman’s Place

    Bryan Fanning
    A classic study of the figures who made independent Ireland has been reprised after more than fifty years. Taken together, the books illustrate the main currents in Irish historiography, while the new volume corrects the earlier one’s hagiographic tone and neglect of women.

    An Obstinate People

    Enda O’Doherty
    The greatest Jewish crime, for early modern Christians, was the rejection and killing of Christ. But they also had a long list of other faults they found, from physical marks, ugliness and proneness to illness to moral failings such as greed, clannishness and lack of manly courage.

    Sad in the Suburbs

    Brendan Mac Evilly
    Our image of Maeve Brennan is most often of an elegant and sophisticated woman looking very at home in a New York apartment. Her Dublin stories, however, portray frustrated lives in a respectable but constricted world, the middle class suburban world in which she grew up.

    Opening Out

    Afric McGlinchey
    In a collection of almost sublime purity, Vona Groarke moves from a youthful confidence inspired by love, to a state of ‘chassis’, and finally to a point where she looks outward from the confines of the symbolic house which has served her so often as an image.

    Landscapes of Displaced Desire

    Tom Tracey
    A debut collection of short stories is fraught in mood, yet maintains a composed tone alongside meticulous description. At times it feels like a contemporary ‘Dubliners’ written for the People’s Republic of Cork, shot through with its author’s impressive ‘descriptive lust’.

    Watching the Moods

    Gerard Smyth
    Coming just a few years after his ‘Collected Poems’, Macdara Woods’s new collection demonstrates the progression towards a lifelong unitary project; poem adds to poem, book to book. Because of that consistency poems from forty years ago still wear well.

    A Room of her Own

    Brenna Katz Clarke
    In the Hogarth Press’s series of modern adaptations of Shakespeare, Anne Tyler takes on ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, giving us a twenty-first century fairy tale involving not the defeat of a woman but her acceptance of the different roles and temperaments of men and women.