Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s reputation suffered after attacks on him in a contemporary satirical journal, and his response to those attacks. But were the attacks fair or accurate in the first instance? And have we now been left with the caricature rather than the man?
The late Peter Sutherland was ‘among the most influential powerbrokers of the last thirty years or so’. Unfortunately, his biographer’s inability to seriously grapple with his exercise of that power causes the reader to veer between exasperation and, too often, frustrated laughter.
‘Game of Thrones’ is ubiquitous in our culture, yet two-thirds of millennial Americans do not know what Auschwitz is. A new study of Josef Mengele reminds us that we do not live in a world of sorcerers and dragons but one in which ordinary people are capable of unimaginable evil.
Mary Ann McCracken, sister of the executed 1798 leader Henry Joy, was an advanced thinker, a dedicated philanthropist and a model of composure, dignity and firmness. Long surviving her brother, she could be seen on Belfast docks aged 88 handing out anti-slavery pamphlets.
A few years ago the injunction to ‘Fail again. Fail better’ emerged as a mantra for the Silicon Valley types, ‘upfailing’ being, in inspirationalist thinking, just a stage of growth and self-enrichment. One shouldn’t need to say that this is all very remote from Samuel Beckett’s philosophy.
Mary Noonan’s descriptive powers recall, in their meticulous detail, Elizabeth Bishop. She is a poet of the senses – this collection is drenched in colour, from the blue of her father’s eyes to the dreamy greens of the swamps, but of all the senses, sound is perhaps the most prominent.