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 72, November 2015

Issue 72, November 2015

Bad Blood

The ‘blood libel’, the notion that Jews were kidnapping and murdering Christian children for ritual purposes, was not created by poor and ignorant people but rather by rich and powerful ones, who found the persecution and murder of Jews sometimes suited their interests.

Philosophy in UCD

What kind of place was Dublin’s main university for Catholic students at a time when Ireland was just beginning to be affected by the youth and other revolutions and when the Catholic Church was at the very beginning of a process of relaxing control? Extracts from an interview.

The Vault of Feeling

Kevin Stevens’s assured new novel explores the difficulties faced by a young immigrant of Arab and Muslim background in small-town America, difficulties which include racism and the weight of overbearing tradition, but which can be countered by friendship, love and art.

Home From Cyberia

In a world in which we are offered so much instant gratification by technology, in which we have become hooked to it to an unprecedented degree, the self is not augmented but depleted. And we are so distracted that we don’t even notice that happening.

If You Liked This …

The eminent Milanese writer and publisher Roberto Calasso, chairman of Adelphi Edizioni, has an unusual recipe for commercial success: publish only books that you think are of the highest quality, and become known for publishing only books of the highest quality.

Really, I’m Stuffed

The drive for material goods may well be too deeply entrenched in human beings to be eliminated but perhaps a consciousness that we now have material prosperity beyond our spiritual competence to deal with could lead to more considered patterns of consumption.

Awkward Voices

A new biographical study focuses on four nationalist intellectuals who at first seemed to support the Easter Rising and the War of Independence but afterwards questioned if it had been worthwhile: Eimar O’Duffy, PS O’Hegarty, George Russell (AE) and Desmond Ryan.

Truculent Priest

In a series of radical critiques published in the 1970s Ivan Illich questioned educational practice, managerialism and the medical profession. Though he could be arrogant, inconsistent and even plain silly, Illich had important things to say about modernity.

No Homes To Go To

Dorothy Macardle was a friend of de Valera, an historian of the idea of the Irish Republic and a novelist. Her story ‘The Uninvited’, memorably filmed in 1944 with Ray Milland, is a haunted house tale set in Cornwall but with Irish undertones. It is reprinted this month.

An End to Smiting

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks argues that it is in a literal interpretation of ‘holy books’ that fundamentalism thrives. He calls for the training of a generation of religious leaders and educators who embrace the world in its diversity and sacred texts in their maximal generosity.