I made a posy.
The young George grew up surrounded by intellectuals and artists who would have a profound influence on his work, not least John Donne, a regular visitor to his mother’s salon, and a lifelong friend of hers. At Westminster School, he would also briefly meet Lancelot Andrewes, the famous linguist and one of the translators of the King James Bible. (This review essay from the drb archive was originally published in April 2014)
Love and Other Questions
Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher. (This essay from the drb archive was originally published in April 2016.)
Crossing the Boundaries
A feature of recent Irish-language periodical history has been the appearance of quality literary journals in which academic research is presented side by side with examples of creative writing and works of cultural and political analysis and commentary.
In a new novel by Conor O’Callaghan, which is reminiscent of Clare Louise Bennett’s experimental ‘Pond’, it’s as if the narrator – and the reader over his shoulder – is looking through a spyhole, gleaning fragments as told by the girl, and having to jigsaw the story together.
The Call of the Fields
Francis Ledwidge was a poet who went to war, but he did not become a war poet in the normal sense. Mostly he adhered to his natural terrain – rapture before nature – and the fixities of home in what he wrote in surroundings of horrendous conflict, remaining content to imaginatively ‘walk the old frequented ways’ of his memories of his native Co Meath.
Genesis to Apocalypse
In a new short collection, the young Bolivian writer Liliana Colanzi touches on themes of domestic oppression and the cultural extinction of indigenous peoples in stories that offer an extraordinary density of ideas, transmitted in shape-shifting and affecting prose.
The Forgotten Frontier
A border can be a bridge on which to meet, wrote Claudio Magris, or it can be a barrier of rejection. Both Dublin and Belfast have tended to try to forget the people who live around Ireland’s border, but this looking the other way may not be sustainable for much longer.
A new collection of Cork songs assembled by Jimmy Crowley achieves a model standard in the genre – setting the work in its place, establishing the relevant voices and according the lyrics their historical period and purpose, adding value for singer, listener – and even reader – alike.
Making History in Ireland
Studying and writing history within the academy is an iterative process that admits of progress, regression and deviation but at its best it is a truth-seeking quest, and one without end. The fruits of inquiry are always subject to revision, at least outside of totalitarian and theocratic societies.
The Fish and the Water
A study of the IRA’s relations with the people during the War of Independence reveals that while there was sometimes intimidation, its level can easily be exaggerated. Nor should one forget that the greater intimidation of the population came from the Crown forces.