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 153, Autumn 2023

Issue 153, Autumn 2023

Double Exposure

The images have a true aim: direct and unpretentious, yet atmospheric. Their texture and visual sonority are honest: expressive monochrome, confident perspective, calibrations of grey and no tricks or tints, as characterised some early photography from the nineteenth Century. Some pictures are documentary of the time, showing an excitement at modernity as the industrial revolution […]

Endgame in Paris

On February 13th 1936, the French socialist leader Léon Blum left the Palais Bourbon in Paris, the site of the lower house of parliament, to travel the relatively short distance to his home on the île Saint-Louis. He was driven by Georges Monnet, a friend and colleague, and they were accompanied by Monnet’s wife, Germaine. […]

The First of a New Genus

Dinner with Joseph Johnson: Books and Friendship in a Revolutionary Age, by Daisy Hay, Vintage, 528 pp, £10.99, ISBN: 978-1784701079 The Garrick Club in the West End of London was founded in 1831, making it one of the oldest gentlemen’s clubs in the world; for almost two hundred years women have been allowed in only […]

Big House to Little House

Ireland, Revolution and the English Modernist Imagination, by Eve Patten, Oxford University Press, 228 pp, £65, ISBN: 978-0198869160 When Karl Marx looked to the militancy of the Fenian movement, and the émigré Irish in industrial centres, to awaken the English labour movement from its political slumbers, he could hardly have foreseen the parodic turn this […]

The Conditions of Liberty

  He is most powerful who is in his own power. Seneca The strength of our nation must be the strength of the whole people. Michael Collins                                                        i […]

Whole Lotta Shakin’

One thing that endeared my in-laws to me was that they held on to my wife’s collection of 45s – her records, I mean, not her (non-existent) collection of other revolvers. True, they were buried in a box under crumpled high-school decals, spineless paperbacks and ratty college notebooks. But there they were: originals of ‘Please […]

A Life of Journeys

Journeys of the Mind: A Life in History, by Peter Brown, Princeton University Press, 736 pp, £38, ISBN: 978-0691242286 As a young boy growing up in the 1930s in a Dublin Protestant family, Peter Brown could have been personally acquainted with the unblessed coupling of politics with religion long before he wrote about its presence […]

There Will Be Blood

End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites and the Path of Political Disintegration, by Peter Turchin, Allen Lane, 240 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-0241553480 Peter Turchin is the founder of the discipline of ‘cliodynamics’ (Clio being the ancient Greek muse of history), a big-data-enabled approach to the study of history over the very long term. He is frank in […]

The Two Milan Kunderas

There have for a while now been two Milan Kunderas, characters so different as to suggest Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. There is Kundera the good European, celebrated as an eminent writer, a defender of freedom of speech, a voice of remembering against the politics of forgetting, and a spokesman for a mythical entity called […]

Up Mount Improbable

Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality, by David Edmonds, Princeton University Press, The subtitle of David Edmonds’s biography of the English philosopher Derek Parfit (1942-2017) is liable to raise more than a few eyebrows. Surely a mission to save morality is something only a God-like being could take on. And since God […]