I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

ANARCHISM

Spanish Sketches

Orwell and the Spanish anarchists: not judging murder too severely
George Orwell, whose own socialism did not envisage abolishing the state, tended to be indulgent of the violence of the Spanish anarchists. In Republican-held Barcelona in 1937, he noted that many middle class citizens had either fled or been killed. Blink and you’ll miss it, but there it is: ‘been killed’. No big deal, it seems, for Orwell, who was usually more perturbed by the abuse of power than by any amount of revolutionary bloodletting.

LITERATURE

Priest of the Phallus

Lawrence’s skewed sexual politics and its legacy in the porn industry In the 1960s he was a hero of the ‘sexual revolution’, but DH Lawrence’s misogyny, cloaked in high literary style, was to have disastrous effects. Repurposed in full colour and dropped into mainstream culture, it became porn, male violence masquerading as sexual prowess. Its ‘values’ – woman as inferior, woman as thing to be subdued, penetrated, violated ‑ formed the blueprint for today’s multi-billion-dollar pornography industry, devoted to the eroticisation of violence against women and poured into male ears and eyes 24/7.

Dublin Review of Books

Barefoot Kings?

John Minahane
Sifting the evidence on civilisation in Gaelic Ulster

Boss Cupid

John McAuliffe
The warm, human despatches of a gay poet from Reagan’s America

A Vanished Bohemia

Gerald Dawe
A compelling memoir of Aidan Higgins and a mode of literary life now gone

Haunted Houses

Elizabeth Bowen’s love letters recall her first extramarital affair

Can history save us?

Eoin O’Brien
The need for global preparedness before the next pandemic arrives

Beyond the Ordinary

Dick Edelstein
Can a woman living an ordinary life be a Renaissance Man?

Ulster Will Fight

Brian M Walker
Inter-communal violence in the early years of Northern Ireland

HISTORY

Reds under the Bed

John Mulqueen
How the secret police bedded in communism in postwar Central Europe

CITY LIFE

Apple Concentrate

Maura O’Kiely
Weirdness, greatness and everything in between: New Yorkers talk the talk

US POLITICS

From Ronald to Donald

Rory Montgomery
US Republican Party strategy and the irresistible populist temptation

SEXUAL POLITICS

Poor White Trash

David Blake Knox
How liberals in the US treated Bill Clinton’s accuser Paula Jones

MEMOIR

Before the Deluge

Barra Ó Seaghdha
A classic account of the life of a working class Parisian street

LITERATURE

Priest of the Phallus

Rosita Sweetman
Lawrence’s skewed sexual politics and its legacy in the porn industry

ANARCHISM

Spanish Sketches

Martin Tyrrell
Orwell and the Spanish anarchists: not judging murder too severely

MEMOIR

Before the Deluge

A classic account of the life of a working class Parisian street News of corruption and scandal among the elites filters through to this narrow Parisian street and is variously interpreted by the regulars in the Caveau bar. The author outlines briefly how ‘the jackal Pierre Laval’ got himself elected prime minister, how the political veteran Aristide Briand was sucked into the morass, how France made a huge loan to Romania and how the Verdun forts were restored: ‘A hen with her head cut off could not have behaved more erratically than the French Government did.’

SEXUAL POLITICS

Poor White Trash

How liberals in the US treated Bill Clinton’s accuser Paula Jones
The racial slurs once used to stigmatise black people have rightly become unacceptable, but it seems similar libels – concerning violent impulses, sexual incontinence, innate stupidity – can be applied without inhibition to poor whites. Here was Jay Leno, a multi-millionaire who boasts that he owns more than 150 cars, using his show to demean a young woman, to make her poverty and apparent lack of education the butt of his humour. 

US POLITICS

From Ronald to Donald

US Republican Party strategy and the irresistible populist temptation
Long before Trump, John Boehner lamented that many of the Republicans elected in 2010 gave priority to ‘how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night’ and were fixated on conspiracies. Indeed the emergence of Sarah Palin in 2008 had already shown that ill-informed populism could be a mobilising ‑ if not yet winning ‑ formula.

CITY LIFE

Apple Concentrate

Weirdness, greatness and everything in between: New Yorkers talk the talk
Sal Leone, a subway conductor and one of life’s good eggs, speaks of passengers telling him their life story. ‘They don’t have people,’ he says. ‘So you have to listen. You’re a civil servant and you do as much as you can. You’re a psychiatrist, a bartender, a protector.’ His subterranean workplace can also be dangerous: ‘You never know when a nut’s gonna get on the train.’

FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES

A Gratuitous Assault

Maureen O’Connor
The ignorance behind The New Yorker’s attack on Edna O’Brien

The Tigress in Winter

Rory Montgomery
Your race is run: the last days of Margaret Thatcher

A Lick of Red Paint

Henry Patterson
The silence of British Marxists on the long conflict in Ireland

Talk about a Revolution

Kevin Power
Smash the system or read books: the tough academic choice

HISTORY

Reds under the Bed

How the secret police bedded in communism in postwar Central Europe
Following the Rajk trial in Hungary in 1949, the Czechs set up a new secret police department to uncover ‘enemies’ within their own communist party. They were looking for ‘Trotskyites’, ‘Zionists’, ‘bourgeois nationalists’ and Spanish Civil War veterans. But often security personnel only had the vaguest idea what these categories meant. The Russians had to explain to them that their enemies were, literally, everywhere.

Blogs et cetera

DUBLIN

A Quare One

And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? … And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them. A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. Matthew 13: 53-57 Enda O’Doherty writes: It is not just a prophet who often fails to impress the neighbours. It can happen to a poet too, as Patrick Kavanagh... Patrick Kavanagh left behind the stony grey soil of Monaghan and his unappreciative neighbours in 1939 to stake out a new parish in a small patch of southside Dublin. Baggotonia is just one of the city territories explored by Peter Sirr in a hugely impressive collection of meditations prompted by his wanderings around the capital.

EUROPE

Down on the Street

This article is adapted from the introduction to Reclaiming the European Street: Speeches on Europe and the European Union, 2016-2020, by Michael D Higgins, published by Lilliput Press. The streets of Europe, from Berlin to Bucharest but also including Dublin, have regularly been pounded during the ongoing pandemic by demonstrators of often very diverse kinds. While protesting is of course a legitimate act and a degree of frustration is undoubtedly understandable in this difficult time, many pandemic protests upon European streets have been fuelled by an intermingled vision that draws upon both an anti-science and an ethno-nationalist discourse, and which...
Many protests on European streets over the last year have been fuelled by a vision that draws on both an anti-science and an ethno-nationalist discourse. President Higgins argues for the need to re-engage with the street more thoroughly, to argue forcefully for the merits of effective transnational action, particularly in relation to climate change, which, post-pandemic, will again be our most vital concern.