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

A Bit Of Stick

Tadhg Foley
Macaulay was as appreciative as Michael McDowell of the blessings of inequality ... He would doubtless have agreed with Archbishop Whately’s view, in his textbook on political economy for Irish children, that if there were no rich people there would be nobody to give alms to the poor. He commended himself on his own charity after the fashion of wealthy lawyers justifying outrageous fees on the basis of pro bono work.
Sep 7, 2010, 19:38 PM

Synge’s Violin

Adrian Paterson
In requiring “regular metrical pulses” of “folk” music White is surely smarting from an overexposure to the regular grumbling of the bodhran, which indeed the great and grumbling uilleann player Seamus Ennis suggested was best played with a knife. Ennis’s point of course was that folk music lives in the gaps of strict “metre”, and of course the uillean pipes themselves may be played far from the bounds of absolute regularity, to say nothing of the wilds of sean-nós singing.
Feb 4, 2010, 18:12 PM

Small State, Big World

John Bradley
Sep 6, 2007, 19:44 PM

Getting To The Triangle

Liam Hennessy
Citing mostly late nineteenth century and early/mid-twentieth century clinicians, he argues that there are only three mutually exclusive pathological mental structures: neurosis, psychosis and perversion. The difference between neurosis and psychosis lies in the degree of certainty with which beliefs are held by the patient. Neurotics tend to doubt, psychotics are more certain.
Jun 22, 2012, 13:42 PM

Sifting And Winnowing

Guy Beiner
Many self-proclaimed radicals choose to exercise their freedom in order to tell students what to think, rather than take the slower, truly academic (and ultimately more subversive) path of teaching them how to think. As such they bear an uncanny resemblance to their sworn opponents ... the difference being in their preference of ideological content and not on the grounds of an ethical principle.
Dec 7, 2011, 15:40 PM

Keepable Sentences

Kevin Stevens
An interview with American novelist Kent Haruf, whose stories of the high plains of Colorado, with their plain but perfectly crafted style and exacting verisimilitude, achieve a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction
Mar 25, 2013, 14:33 PM


Enda O'Doherty

Jane Austen inherited a tradition in which the novel was expected to teach good behaviour. But that was not what interested her. Her fictions are less moral examples than celebrations of wit and intelligence.

Nov 13, 2012, 15:04 PM

The Big D

Seamus O’Mahony
Christopher Hitchens was famously sceptical of the claims of religious thinkers, yet faced with dying he exhibited a defiant faith in the capacities of medical science to block the course of nature, a faith not sustained by much evidence.
Apr 8, 2013, 19:21 PM

Oral Culture and Popular Autonomy

Brian Earls
William Carleton stood on the border between orality and typographically-based literacy, and his fiction can be seen as embodying the imperatives of both. It was a relationship of huge uneasiness and immense fascination, whose tensions were never resolved and perhaps were not resolvable.
Mar 1, 2007, 17:35 PM

The Modernist Volcano

Stephen Wilson
Dec 6, 2007, 21:46 PM

Into The Mainstream

George O’Brien
According to ethnic fade theory, with the days of “No Irish Need Apply” having been, as it were, officially declared over, there was no longer any need for “Irish” as a social or civic marker any more. Ethnicity became a matter of harmless cultural practices – singing and dancing and observing saints’ days,
Feb 5, 2010, 18:17 PM

Working in the Dark

Carol Taaffe
European literature has a long history of casting Africa as a disturbing enigma; the image of “the dark continent” lingered long beyond its time. But while Not Untrue and Not Unkind is yet another European novel with an enigma at its heart, for once it is not an African one. 
Jun 5, 2009, 18:39 PM

Battling the Beast of Brussels

Tony Brown
Mar 6, 2008, 11:44 AM

A Murky Business

John Gibney
Dec 5, 2007, 21:41 PM

From The Green Island

Fergal Lenehan
One of the more unofficial Irish representatives in Germany, the Irish-American gunrunner John T Ryan, may have come into direct contact with Hitler in May 1923 when he was running guns for the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War. Hitler was, at this time, apparently known to have pro-Irish sympathies and to be, of course, heavily involved in ex-military, far-right circles that would have had easy access to arms.
May 7, 2010, 17:35 PM

Losing Our Cool

John Fanning
After the Gold Rush, after the slump, perhaps Ireland could just learn to relax, and regain its creativity and its cool.
Dec 4, 2012, 14:08 PM

Augmenting Memory, Dispelling Amnesia

Lillis Ó Laoire
Clearly these iconic books resulted from intervention on the part of outsiders, who convinced islanders they had something of importance to say. This was consonant with the ideals of cultural romantic nationalism, whose impulse to recognise the richness and depth of the vernacular culture of the “people”, and the Irish-speaking people above all, achieved material expression in these works.
Mar 7, 2011, 18:39 PM

The Birth of Frankenstein

Ronán M Conroy
Both irrationalism and rationalism have fallen out of favour as modes of scientific knowledge – though rationalism has resurfaced as qualitative research, and the debates about the scientific status of qualitative research are lively reminders about the uncertainty within science as to what sorts of shared knowledge constitute science anyway. However, it is precisely during the period that Holmes chronicles that science began to ask this very question. Linnaean science was concerned with ordering and cataloguing. It was founded on an unproblematic view of the nature of knowledge which suffered badly at the hands of the British empiricists. It was left to André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836) to formulate a response which summed up the new science: that science does not study things but relationships.
Jun 6, 2009, 18:47 PM

Genius For Erasure

Michael Hinds
Cary Grant’s raised eyebrows were admittedly an awesome spectacle, but you wonder how they might have been harnessed to hasten the building of the Hoover Dam. At least in the 1930s they had Cary Grant. We have Lady Gaga.
Sep 10, 2010, 17:10 PM

A Gift of Tongues

Barra Ó Seaghdha
With so little available for the general reader on Irish literary culture between 600 and 1600, in either Irish or English, we have to wonder at the failure of most of the few dozen relevant academic Columbuses to report back to us on their explorations. To how many of them has it ever occurred that the occasional act of public communication would not be a sin against the integrity of their trade?
Dec 1, 2010, 19:01 PM