The Word as Trampoline
James Finnegan is a poet concerned with ideas and with ecological matters. His observant eye can zoom in to pick up details about birds, dogs, cats, horses, reindeer and even penguins. There is some dark humour at work too, as in an imagined reversal of the human-pet relationship.
The Integrity of the Past
A US library association has removed a classic children’s author’s name from a prestigious award. The move derives from an ideology that rejects the essential otherness of the past, instead demanding compliance and the burial of ‘outdated attitudes’ so deeply we will never know they existed.
An Irish Impresario
Augustin Daly was for thirty years the proprietor-manager of one of New York’s most successful theatre companies. Shaw castigated Daly for his failure to embrace the Ibsenite problem play in the 1890s but recognised that the plays he did produce were advanced for their time.
Once Upon a Space
One of the main concerns of Brian O’Doherty’s collected essays is to raise questions about the retreat into subjectivity responsible for the cult of the personality in the art world. In an interview, O’Doherty confessed that he ‘never wished to make art from the degraded slums of my inner life’.
Counsel for Humanity
Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin, two of the fathers of modern international law, spent significant time in what is now the Ukrainian city of Lviv. A cultured oasis of Habsburg culture before the First World War, the city would change hands eight times between 1914 and 1944.
Starving Them Out
The naval blockade of Germany during the First World War is a subject that is little treated today. Yet estimates of civilian deaths caused by it range from around 400,000 to more than three-quarters of a million. Not until there were German signatures on the Treaty of Versailles was it fully lifted.
The Return to Helicon
There has been a long tradition of classical rewritings in Ireland, with a significant surge from about 1970, when the last generation to undergo compulsory Classics at school found in Greek myth a valuable resource to consider the troubles and conflicts of their own era.
The Sorry Earthmen of Bohemia
Three recently published Czech science fiction novels – all representations of worlds that by definition do not exist –are nevertheless best understood as a more or less realistic reflection of recent Czech history and politics with a collectivist moral, albeit not a straightforward one.
Paris Destroyed, Paris Surviving
Paris has always been a moveable feast. There are many people, Parisians and others, who think the city was destroyed long before Hitler ordered it to be burned in 1944 and others who think it has been repeatedly destroyed since, in the name of renovation, development, restoration.
Flying the Net
Wilde, Yeats and Joyce were important to each other, and the importance of their fathers was not lost on the sons either. Yeats later wrote that Wilde ‘knew how to keep our elders in their place’. For all three writers, the appropriate place, if one wanted to breathe, was somewhere else.