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

Remembering Bernard Loughlin

Bernard, the first director, with his wife, of the Annaghmakerrig writers' retreat, was a man to whom tranquility, the driest of humour and a down-to-earth sense of the ethereal seemed to come naturally.
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Candide in the Eternal City

A French novel of the 1950s portrayed a still pagan Rome in which cardinals were addicted to scheming, money could buy sainthood and truth was not as simple to a young priest as it had once seemed. The novel was shocking for the time and was banned in Italy.
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Yeats at Ballylee

Rarely read and barely performed, Yeats’s plays are mostly forgotten by theatre companies – despite considerable virtues of portability, adaptability and cheapness. A recent performance at Thoor Ballylee in Galway of ‘The Only Jealousy of Emer’ marvellously shows what can be done.
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Out of the Dark

The McGaherns lived in a poor, rickety house in the middle of a field. All that is left now is a rusty gate in a prickly hedge and an empty, rushy meadow. It is extraordinary to think that out of this remote and unpromising place came a great writer and literature of world renown.
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Every third thought will be my grave

Philip Roth once said of fellow writers Saul Bellow and John Updike: ‘[they] hold their flashlights out into the world, [and] reveal the world as it is now. I dig a hole and shine my flashlight into the hole.’ There is no hole that Roth digs better throughout his fiction than a grave.
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Philip Roth: 1933-2018

After Bernard Malamud (d 1986), Joseph Heller (1999), Saul Bellow (2005), John Updike (2009) and JD Salinger (2010), the death of Philip Roth removes from the scene the last of those great postwar American novelists who combined huge literary credibility with a large popular readership.
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What country, friends, is this?

All the world’s a stage, the words you are hearing may well mean more than they seem to do, and what looks like the battlefield of Agincourt in northern France in 1415 could just as well be Ireland in 1599 ‑ or even 1943.
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Art For All

In a long career as art historian and arts administrator, Kenneth Clark exhibited a constant commitment to the idea that ‘high culture’ should be available to the widest possible audience. His traditionalist approach did not please everyone, but that did not faze him in the slightest.
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The Proust of Ormiston Crescent

In 1912, EM Forster travelled to Belfast to meet Forrest Reid, whose novel ‘The Bracknels’ he had greatly admired. The two men were to become lifelong friends. On Reid’s death in 1947, Forster wrote that he was the most important man in Belfast, ‘though Belfast knew him not’.
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John Ashbery: The Syntax of Time

What marked John Ashbery out from most of his contemporaries was his extraordinary immersion in syntax as the prime organising force of his verse. Many readers noted the parallels between his mature writings and the late novels of Henry James.
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Eddy and Me

The success of a recent novel set in the depressed northern French region of Picardy reminds an Irish writer of her own novel set in the same village and focusing on the experience of a young Irish girl at the end of the 1950s. Not so much has changed in the culture in the intervening decades.
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The Law's Delays

Charles Dickens was no great admirer of the practices of the legal system. Most notably in 'Bleak House', he exposed its inefficiencies and injustices. That was then of course, but in many respects the law today is still Dickensian.
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Bright Young Things

The world of the wealthy young people who made up English high society in the middle of the last century was frequently a gay enough place. But it wasn't a great place to be gay.
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Tzvetan Todorov: 1939-2017

The Franco-Bulgarian thinker and writer had a long career as literary theorist, historian of ideas, political thinker and art historian. He retained throughout his life a deep commitment to democracy and a free and tolerant society.
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A Modest Proposal

In petitioning for a second wife, George Orwell did not oversell the goods, noting that he was quite old and a bit of a crock. Still, surely someone somewhere must have wanted to become the widow of a significant literary man.
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In the Bleak Midwinter

In the winter of 1784 in East Hampshire, it got so cold, the naturalist Gilbert White observed, that the cats became electrified.
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John Montague: 1929-2016

The New York-born poet wrote a moving poem of memory of the small place in which he was brought up by relations in a remote part of Co Tyrone.
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Ah Go On

Samuel Beckett was famous for his gloominess, but also on many occasions seemed able to express it in a way that makes us laugh. Is there a contradiction here, or not?
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Singing Schubert

There are times when interpreters should realise that explication is not needed. The composer and poet we exist to serve have told us what the message is to be. Our role is simply to deliver it.
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Under The Weather

So, it's autumn. No need to be depressed. There are apples, blackberries, damsons and bright, golden woodlands to be enjoyed for a few months yet before winter draws in.
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