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.

World Literature

The Modernist Volcano

Ezra Pound: Poet (A Portrait of the Man and his Work) I: The Young Genius 1885-1920, by A David Moody, Oxford University Press, 544 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-0199215577 In a poem, “Monumentum Aere, Etc.”, first published in 1914 in Blast, a short-lived but highly influential magazine edited by Wyndham Lewis that styled itself the “Review of the […]

Northern Miniaturist

It is not love, it is hope that saves. To hope is perhaps weariness, but in the desert where there is no other coolness than death, the shadow of the future is all that remains. This short poem is typical of the work of Gösta Agren, one of Europe’s finest and yet least known poets. […]

To Aran or Isfahan

Nomad’s Hotel: Travels in Time and Space, by Cees Nooteboom, Vintage Books, 240 pp, £7.99, ISBN 978-0099453789 It may be something of a miracle that the Dutch travel writer and novelist Cees Nooteboom has come to understand himself as a nomad. Many years ago, he claims, he presented himself to the abbot of a monastery […]

Never Say Die

Everyman, by Philip Roth, Jonathan Cape, 192 pp, £10, ISBN: 0224078690 Philip Roth once claimed, in his collection of reflective and self-evaluating essays Reading Myself and Others (1975), that his critics saw him as an “irresponsible, conscienceless, unserious” writer, bereft of morals and seeking merely to outrage and shock ‑ a Howard Stern of the literary scene. […]

Man of Constant Sorrow

Brian Lynch’s subtle first novel, The Winner of Sorrow, is based on the life of William Cowper, a hugely acclaimed poet in late eighteenth century England whose work has gone into neglect in the last hundred years.