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.

Home Issue 04, Winter 2007-08

Issue 04, Winter 2007-08

The First Egoist

How to Read Montaigne, by Terence Cave, Granta, 133 pp, £6.99, ISBN: 978-1862079441 On the last day of November 1580, the French landowner and writer Michel de Montaigne arrived with his company and servants in Rome, the ultimate goal of a journey on which he had set out, from his family estate in southwestern France, […]

Not All Roses

Reality Check, by Dennis O’Driscoll, Anvil, 80 pp, £7.95, ISBN: 978-0856464027 Dennis O’Driscoll has given us a lot to read and a lot to think about over the past decade. An extraordinary five books of his poetry have appeared during this period. Quality Time (1997) and Weather Permitting (1999) were followed by Exemplary Damages in […]

Cruelty, Grievance, Denial

The Highland Clearances: The People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil, by Eric Richards, Birlin, Edinburgh, 377 pp, £9.99, ISBN: 978-1841580401. Clearances and Improvement: Land, Power and People in Scotland 1700-1900, by TM Devine, John Donald, Edinburgh, 284 pp, £16.99, ISBN: 978-0859766951 The drama of Highland history since 1700 has attracted the interest of many historians and […]

English Eggheads

Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain, by Stefan Collini, Oxford University Press, 544 pp, £16.99, ISBN: 978-0199216659 Culture is always something that was Something pedants can measure, Skull of bard, thigh of chief, depth of dried up river, Shall we be thus forever? Shall we be thus forever? Patrick Kavanagh, “In Memory of Brother Michael”   […]

Lifting the Boats

Saving the Future: How Social Partnership Shaped Ireland’s Economic Success By Tim Hastings, Brian Sheehan & Padraig Yeates, Blackhall Publishing, 200 pp, €25, ISBN: 978-1842181355 The economic boom in Ireland since the early 1990s has seen the economy grow by over 140 per cent and Irish standards of living rise from 70 per cent of […]

Voices of the Dispossessed

Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory, by Guy Beiner, University of Wisconsin Press, 488 pp, £28.95, ISBN: 978-0299218201 Leabhar Mhaidhc Dháith: Scéalta agus Seanchas ón Rinn, ed Máirtín Verling, An Sagart An Díseart An Daingean , ISBN: 978-1903896320 In her survey of Hungarian folklore genres Linda Dégh remarked, with […]

The Modernist Volcano

Ezra Pound: Poet (A Portrait of the Man and his Work) I: The Young Genius 1885-1920, by A David Moody, Oxford University Press, 544 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-0199215577 In a poem, “Monumentum Aere, Etc.”, first published in 1914 in Blast, a short-lived but highly influential magazine edited by Wyndham Lewis that styled itself the “Review of the […]

Fencing Ireland’s Poets

Irish Bardic Poetry and Rhetorical Reality, by Michelle O’Riordan, Cork University Press, 455 pp, €55.00, ISBN: 978-1859184141 There’s an odd European country which loves to make a fuss about its writers and has brought the commercial exploitation of six or eight of them to a peak of perfection. But strange to say, that self-same country […]

Parsing Irish Paralysis

Outrageous Fortune, by Joe Cleary, Field Day Publications, 320 pp, €25, ISBN: 978-0946755356 In the final chapter of his Irish Classics (Granta Books, 2000), Declan Kiberd describes and decries the intellectual stagnation and somnolence of literature departments in Irish universities, as far as Irish literature was concerned, from the foundation of the state until at least the late […]

Northern Miniaturist

It is not love, it is hope that saves. To hope is perhaps weariness, but in the desert where there is no other coolness than death, the shadow of the future is all that remains. This short poem is typical of the work of Gösta Agren, one of Europe’s finest and yet least known poets. […]