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.
What emerges clearly is a sense of Friel’s international importance. A chapter comparing him to Osborne and Storey liberates his plays from some of the confines that Irish scholarship restricts him to, showing clearly the universal significance of his work.
With the slow death of God and religion, and the unsatisfactory nature of philosophy or what postmodernists call grand narratives, the beauty and pleasure of everyday life may be the only thing people can hold onto.
A hoard of letters written by Germans to Hitler show a people keen to abdicate their responsibility and infantilise themselves, but they do not indicate any great enthusiasm for either Nazi ideology or territorial aggression.
From Phil Chevron of the Radiators to Stompin’ George Verschoyle spinning rockabilly hits at the Magnet Bar, it is the evocations of the Dublin music scene that stand out in a new miscellany of pieces on the city’s social and cultural history.
The pragmatism associated with JM Keynes derives from a sustained optimism in the capacity of intelligence to inform and influence correct responses to a crisis. Hayek’s market morality reflects an altogether more pessimistic view of human behaviour.