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.

Issue 65, March 2015

James McFadden

James McFadden grew up in Donegal, the son of a travelling salesman. He himself operated a touring picture show and then a cinema in the town of Falcarragh, while also learning the trade of a tailor. But the business, eventually, failed to prosper and the family moved to Coventry to seek work.

The Persuaders

There seems to be a dearth of evidence that political ad campaigns actually work. Nevertheless, politicians are always open to the advice of advertising professionals on how to simplify their message and get it across to the public in a way they will find palatable.

Rousing the Reader

It is language itself ‑ its multiplicity, its straining after meaning, the assumptions buried within it ‑ that are illuminated by Paul Muldoon’s work, with the best poems, in his words, giving the alert reader the answers ‘to questions that only they have raised’.

Invitation to the Dance

Over twenty-four years, starting in 1951, Anthony Powell wrote a remarkable series of a dozen novels exploring English upper class and bohemian life from soon after the First World War to the 1970s through the themes of war, love, art, class, family, politics and death.

Reason of Past History

While sympathy for Poland, as the recurring victim of Tsarist repression, was widespread in nineteenth century Europe, in Ireland this assumed an intensity and duration which seems to have been unparalleled elsewhere.

On Not Being Smart Enough

Philosophy remains one of the least diverse disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. While great strides have been made in other subject areas, certainly in the European and North American context, university philosophy still includes woefully few women.

A Fierce Eye

At the heart of Derek Mahon’s new prose collection there is a lot of truth-telling going on about the artist’s life. It is a far cry from the showy, silly lifestyle version we are offered daily from media-hungry celebs, asking the reader to feel their pain.

Florence O’Donoghue

Born in Killarney in 1928, the son of a former RIC man, Florence O’Donoghue had an eminent career in the law in England and spent much of his life trying to make sense of his dual, and sometimes conflicting, sense of allegiance to both Ireland and Britain.

Shadow Poems

Brought up speaking Irish by a Belfast father who was also immersed in Esperanto, Ciaran Carson has translated the poems of a French writer who said he loved his language so much he could learn no other – yet he appeared familiar with the verse of English peasant poet John Clare.

The Astonishment of Insight

A major new anthology of war poetry covers a range of conflicts including the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Vietnam War and Ireland’s ‘Troubles’, in both their twentieth century phases.