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 10, Summer 2009

Issue 10, Summer 2009

Reconstruction and Collapse

Not so fortunate was his great rival, the correspondent (and now editor) of the New York Times, Bill Keller, who left Moscow a few months before the end and, having received a large advance to write the definitive account of perestroika and glasnost, retreated to a friend’s cottage in Tipperary to work in tranquil surroundings, only to find events moving too swiftly for him: in the end he abandoned the effort.

For Ireland and the Crown

Whigs like William Monsell were blackguarded by nationalists as corrupt place-seekers and toadies and Whig became a dirty word in the Irish lexicon – one thinks, not without a feeling of irony, of Francis Cruise O’Brien, father of Conor, berating Father Delaney, the Jesuit head of university college Dublin as “a decayed old Whig”. This spread to a general denigration of all who accepted official posts under the union, be they policemen, civil servants, judges or politicians. Yet such preferment was necessary if one was to meet the grievance of Irish Catholics that they were denied their fair share in the governance of their country. Ireland did not have to go a different way from Scotland and Wales.

Over In England

Sean MacStiofáin, whose Irish ethnicity was according to Harte “based on a lone great-grandparent”, became a prominent leader of the IRA in the 1960s and early 1970s. Cathal Goulding, once a brother-in-arms and later an opponent, said of him that he was “continually trying to prove that he is as much an Irishman as anyone else”.

Three Presences

At this point in his review, Eliot moves toward thinking that to make sense of Yeats you have first to remember that he is an Irishman. To be an Irishman, he thinks, is to be deprived of certain attributes of sensibility, notably of wit, a quality he defined in his essay on Andrew Marvell as featuring “a tough reasonableness beneath the slight lyric grace”.

The Birth of Frankenstein

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.

Working in the Dark

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.

The Border Campaign

Salandra instructed Italy’s regional governors to prepare reports for him on people’s attitudes to the coming conflict. The findings were that most people thought going to war could be justified only if the homeland was under attack. Business leaders, with the exception of the large northern industrialists, were against fighting. The governor of Naples reckoned that ninety per cent of all social classes were anti-war. Peasants, whose sons were most susceptible to the draft, regarded it as a calamity, like famine or plague; only the intelligentsia was in favour.

That Clinking Clanking Sound

The reason for the shortage of books on financial crises could be that in recent years many economic writers lost interest in such matters because first, some of them believed that the keys to controlling crises had been discovered through Friedman and Schwartz’s work on the causes of the Great Depression and therefore there was no real need to worry; second, other economists, those belonging to the new classical macroeconomics approach, did not believe in the possibility of financial bubbles.

One Damn Thing After Another

Burrow includes a particularly bizarre quote from Eric Hobsbawn’s history of the twentieth century, The Age of Extremes, where he argues that nothing vindicated the Marxist economic analysis more than the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989: “[r]arely has there been a clearer example of Marx’s forces of production coming into conflict with the social, institutional and ideological superstructure which had transformed backward agrarian economies into advanced industrial ones, up to the point where they turned from forces into fetters of production.” So this is what finally exposed the chaos inherent in the century’s most powerful Marxist state: Marxism.

Posted in France

It’s not difficult to imagine periodic cries of “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on” from the editors and their understandably large team (including associate editors Dan Gunn and George Craig), particularly since we’re told the path to publication was not smooth.