"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

The Harvest In

Barra Ó Seaghdha
Seamus Heaney’s conception of poetry meant he had to trust that his disciplined tending of the ground would lead to harvest, that if the writing self was kept open the poems would come through.
Feb 11, 2013, 07:01 AM

My Words, Your Words

Tim Groenland
It seems simplistic, though, to view the work simply as the act of a bullying editor taking advantage of a struggling writer; the evidence suggests that Carver actively sought Lish’s input throughout his early career and considered much of his work to have been improved as a result. Editing itself is hardly a new phenomenon and has a noble place in literary history – Max Perkins’s paternalistic assistance was crucial to the careers of both Hemingway and Fitzgerald, for example (were it not for Perkins’s insistence, The Great Gatsby could have been called Trimalchio in West Egg), and the many fierce but friendly tussles between Frank O’Connor and New Yorker editor William Maxwell over the former’s short stories are recorded in the pair’s published letters. This kind of back-and-forth is not unusual in publishing, and is an accepted (and by many writers, valued) part of the creative process.
Sep 6, 2011, 16:33 PM

God as Poem and the Poem of God

Enda McDonagh
A good poem renews the language in restoring its truthfulness, its honesty of expression, avoiding the false and honeyed words of the courtier and the exploitation of the advertiser or lobbyist. It restores it further in re-exposing its beauty in combinations, vibrant and fresh, at times reviving words too long ignored or inventing new and true words.
Sep 6, 2009, 20:14 PM

Fighting With Shadows

Brian Earls
This equation of the county with mindless violence and chaos has long since been forgotten, and Tipperary has become one of the most respectable of Irish counties, because qualities which Victorian commentators asserted were intrinsic to the Irish character were not but had their origin in the landlord-tenant relationship and faded with the waning of landlord power.
Jun 22, 2012, 10:03 AM

It’s Diston Wot Done It

Terry Eagleton
Like Evelyn Waugh, Amis knows how to sharpen his comedy by a deadpan delivery. Like Waugh too, he is adept at pressing the narrative towards the monstrous, surreal and grotesque while remaining just on this side of the border between realism and fantasy. It is a vein of satire to which the faintest whiff of genuine human sentiment or moral attitudinising is fatal.
Jun 22, 2012, 13:10 PM

Reversing The Conquest

Pádraig Lenihan
Post-Good Friday Agreement rhetoric about the historic “symbiotic bond” between Ireland and England presupposes that both parties were equal beneficiaries of this supposed symbiosis and can lead imperceptibly to a blurring of the conflict, violence, trauma and catastrophe involved in this long relationship.
Mar 1, 2011, 18:08 PM

Losing It

Tom Hennigan
Yet one measure of just how disorientating the global financial crisis has been for the world’s bien pensant elite is that Argentina’s economic history no longer just serves as a warning but simultaneously as an example for those countries in the developed world seeking to escape the wreckage left by of the crash of September 2008. For every commentator who finds toxic fallout from the South American country’s unprecedented sovereign default in December 2001 there is another ready to ignore it and laud strong economic growth since then as proof that there is indeed life after burning your bondholders.
Sep 3, 2011, 16:17 PM

The Truth Teller

Carol Taaffe
Casement’s achievement was to observe and to testify, proving that the gross myths and exaggerations reaching Europe about these places were not gross myths and exaggerations at all. There is some irony in that. The cruelty which this novel underlines is that the life of Roger Casement -  a great documentarian, a man who exposed atrocious truths -   was to become forever synonymous with myth and distortion.
Jun 22, 2012, 09:28 AM

Fail, Fall, Far Flounder Down

Norman White
Like his Oxford tutor Jowett’s, the real Hopkins’s sexual impulses were almost exclusively concerned with his own sex. His mid-1860s adolescent list of sins, recorded for confessional purposes to Canon Liddon and Dr Pusey, his High Church Oxford mentors, with fastidious self-disgust in that puritanical era, nowadays often looks comic (“folly about a sugar-plum”). He looks at “tempting pictures” in Once a Week, sections of the wrong kind of novel, suggestive words in a dictionary and medical diagrams.
Jun 8, 2011, 14:05 PM

History In A Hurry

David Fitzpatrick
Murphy shows little interest in or awareness of previous studies of the social context of the revolution, accepts the reality of the probably imaginary “Cairo Gang”, and utterly misrepresents the level of confidence of IRA leaders at the time of the truce. Far from “almost universally” claiming “that victory had been snatched from their grasp by the Truce”, leaders such as Collins, Mulcahy and MacEoin all emphasised the extreme military weakness of the organisation when contributing to the Treaty debates.
Mar 11, 2011, 18:52 PM


Paul O’Mahony
It is important to distinguish the harms intrinsically connected to drug use from the many harms   in addition to the creation of a lucrative criminal black market in drugs   that are actually caused by prohibition. Prohibition-induced ignorance, confusion and rashness are lethal, as is prohibition’s blocking of an effective system of quality control. The latter is an ongoing disaster since most drug-related deaths are caused by contaminants in drugs or ignorance about the actual strength of doses bought on the black market.
Dec 9, 2010, 19:00 PM

This is my Letter to the World

Maurice Earls
Emily’s self-seclusion was in the family tradition, as was her feeling of superiority, which she expressed in her inimitable manner. At a dinner during her visit to Boston, when presented with a flambé dessert she enquired from the judge sitting beside her, with characteristic poise, whether it was permissible in the capital of Unitarianism to eat hell fire. First published Spring 2011
Mar 10, 2011, 18:48 PM

Top People

Niall Meehan
De Valera’s policies protected and promoted indigenous economic activity, which was often under the control of a Protestant business class who quickly reconciled themselves to life in the new state, as did most of their co-religionists, who were never persecuted on the basis of their religion or perceived nationality. Sectarianism in Ireland has to be seen in its political and economic context. It is not merely an isolated or mystical aspect of religious “culture”.
May 2, 2010, 17:16 PM

Beyond The Bel Paese

Niamh Cullen
Italians are famous for their campanilismo, a word which literally means “attachment to one’s own bell tower”, and is a lyrical way of describing provincialism or localism in a nation with hundreds of medieval towns and cities, each with its own highly developed urban culture and distinct local customs. They are also notorious for their lack of understanding and blatant stereotyping of each other.
Jun 4, 2011, 13:38 PM

To Aran or Isfahan

Paul O'Brien
Sep 4, 2007, 19:31 PM

A Queer Sort

Kristin Anderson
Sep 4, 2007, 12:01 PM

New Light On Dissent

Marianne Elliott
They were popular and fiery field-preachers, but they had also retained an equally fiery anti-popery. Their millenarian tendencies and interpretation of the French Revolution as prefacing the downfall of the Antichrist finds rather strange echoes in Tone’s apparently rational writings. As with the equally sectarian millenarianism of the Catholic Defenders, one might wonder how such extremes would have been kept in check had the 1798 rebellion succeeded.
Jun 12, 2011, 18:01 PM

The History of the Last Atrocity

John M Regan
In 1920, as again in 1970, the British constitution shattered in Ireland, where servants of the Crown resorted to extra-legal means –torture, reprisal, murder   to restore order. It is only by understanding those contexts that we begin to make sense of, as opposed to describing, the terrors accompanying collapses. The victims’ stories are always heartrending and should be explored. But devoid of context, biographies say little that is historical, as opposed to newsworthy.
Jun 22, 2012, 12:00 PM

Different Because Worse

Sakis Gekas
A political response that would disengage from the demands of financial markets that are by definition volatile and oriented towards short-term profit is urgently needed from EU leaders. Their historical failure to react decisively, with clarity as well as vision, renders them a caricature of the founders of the European integration project, which was, after all, inherently political, even if it originated in the coal and steel sectors.
Dec 7, 2010, 18:52 PM

Stop The Lights

Enda O’Doherty
Todorov’s version of secularism, however, is a sane and balanced one, where the state does not encroach on the church and the church does not encroach on the state. Though one suspects he is not personally religious, his writing is free of that waspish animus so characteristic of the public statements of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the Laurel and Hardy of militant, missionary atheism. In contrast to many of our contemporary secularist propagandists he requires tolerance and respect for himself – and so he extends it to others.
May 3, 2010, 17:20 PM