When the Shannon hydroelectric scheme was built in the 1920s it rapidly became a major tourist attraction, even a new national monument. But it was a monument that offered a future in contrast to the thousands of historic sites that sang of what had been lost in the past.
Dark-skinned people have lived in Britain for a very long time, according to some researchers from the Mesolithic era. Nevertheless, today’s black population remains disadvantaged and is not universally accepted. What is called ‘The Question’ – where are you from? – is never far away.
In 1949, the US’s chief strategic thinkers believed themselves to be ‘for all our shortcomings not only great but good, and therefore a dynamic force in the mind of the world’. In such a spirit the CIA sent Colonel Edward Lansdale to Vietnam in 1954. The goodness, such as it was, proved to be not enough.
Wittgenstein’s talks in Cambridge in the 1930s were creative acts, works of art one might say, that came into existence in the process of their delivery. There were no notes, no script, but ‘he thought before the class. The impression was of a tremendous concentration.’
Matthew Pearl’s 2003 bestseller ‘The Dante Club’ is set at the close of the American Civil War when Boston is shaken by a series of gruesome murders which seem to replicate the ‘contrapasso’ punishments of Dante’s ‘Inferno’. A group of eminent scholars must track down the killer.
John Hume, though acting with the co-operation of other political figures, was the main force in Ireland’s move from war in the 1970s and 1980s to peace from the 1990s onwards. His legacy is a considerable one, but it is under threat today as it has not been for some time.
Donald Trump may appear to thrive on antagonism – and indeed he has no trouble finding it – but he is also a man who is desperate for approbation. A populist with a totalitarian mindset, he is that strangest of creatures – a political confidence man with no confidence.
An exciting new bilingual anthology of Ukrainian poetry might remind us of a row of Soviet-era apartment blocks, with multiple kitchen windows open at the same time and different voices coming from inside. Put together, it is a melting pot of voices and cultures.
A third of Britain’s land still belongs to her aristocracy, nearly half of Scotland is in the hands of 432 individuals and companies and more than a quarter of large Scottish estates are held by aristocratic families. As an impressive new polemic shows, it has always been this way.