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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Derek Mahon: 1941-2020

Derek’s was a life characterised by a certain turbulence, dedication to his craft, a disputatious impulse and an inner reserve sometimes bordering on the stand-offish. But when the mood took him he was uproarious company.
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John Hume 1937-2020

Two years ago, Michael Lillis published a review of two books about the former SDLP leader, enriched by his personal experience as an official of the Irish government in working with Hume in the diplomatic process which preceded the Belfast Agreement. We are republishing part of it here.
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Foclóir or Folklore?

Darach Ó Séaghdha’s bestselling book ‘Motherfoclóir’ developed from his successful Twitter project ‘The Irish For’. In the book he has been willing, keen even, to lay into scholarly lexicographers past and present. But the number of mistakes in his own work does not inspire confidence.
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This England

While it cannot be ruled out that Boris Johnson will execute a U-turn at the last minute and throw Gove and Cummings under the bus, hard Brexit talk has taken on a dynamic that will be difficult to stop. If this is the course that is taken, Britain is heading for a harsh collision with reality.
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That’s far enough!

The Dutch were told they could have a ‘sex buddy’ during lockdown but Boris Johnson appears to have ruled that sex can only take place between cohabiting couples. Fear of infection in fact has had a long history of affecting romantic relationships.
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James Dalton – ‘an innocent man’?

IRA intelligence-gathering was highly functional during the War of Independence, but the threshold of guilt and the criteria for punishment could be capricious. Instances of putative informing could be shrouded in spite and the designations ‘spy’ or ‘informer’ sometimes no more than a label of convenience.
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Sunningdale: Trundling On

Was the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973 undermined by the fundamental opposition of many unionists to sharing power with nationalists? Or was it the threat that the Council of Ireland might be a slippery slope towards a united Ireland that was decisive?
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Italian Diary X

As Italy enters a new phase of its response to the coronavirus crisis, John McCourt has decided to park his diary and return to his Joyce book. Meanwhile, medics and scientists, the very people who are trying to save our lives, are being increasingly portrayed by a noisy minority as the enemy.
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Truth Above Everything

He was a champion sprinter, a member of the Irish Volunteers and a gun-runner, a supreme court judge, a translator of Immanuel Kant, a playwright and the author of a whimsical novel in which a group of intellectuals discuss philosophy and Irish politics and communicate by radio with Mars.
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Italian Diary IX

What we are all missing at this time is not so much the extraordinary ‑ those occasional escapes from the rhythms and habits of our daily lives ‑ but the ordinary and the everyday. When, for example, will we next sit down with friends in a pub and make a hole in a pint of stout?
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Blighted

The disease which arrived in Ireland in the 1840s did not attack humans, yet it led to the death of one million individuals. It was politics, not natural causes, which brought about this catastrophe. A grim twelve decades of consequence followed.
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Italian Diary VIII

And so on he goes, peddling ‘cures’ like some medieval travelling salesman. Let’s not forget the man who died in March in Arizona after consuming fish tank cleaner because Trump had claimed the chloroquine that was in it could be a ‘game-changer’. It was.
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SF and violence: an exchange

John Swift argued in a review in the current issue of the drb that the IRA campaign was a failure. Philip McGarry disagrees, pointing to the current political prominence of Sinn Féin, which he sees as a clear outcome of its strategy of violence. John Swift responds.
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Friendly Enemies

Colum Kenny, author of a new study of Arthur Griffith, says Yeats was wrong about Lavery’s portrait of Sinn Féin’s founder, whom he described in a poem as staring with ‘hysterical pride’. When it came to personal pride, the poet indeed would have left many others standing.
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Italian Diary VII

When somebody is the president, Donald Trump has said, the authority is total. Does he really believe this? As New York governor Andrew Cuomo reminded him: ‘The president doesn’t have total authority … We don’t have a king.’ But if he were a king, might he be Macbeth?
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Italian Diary VI

‘Red Noses’, a play about the Black Death first performed in London in 1985, featured a team of players touring the plague-affected villages of 14th century France, offering an unusual remedy – ‘peacocks, not ravens, bright stars, not sad comets, red noses, not black death’.
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Italian Diary V

The order in which we read news of recoveries or deaths in an article can change the tone, and consequently our mood. It is easy to be too upbeat but also to be the opposite. We are walking on very thin ice as Italy attempts to get through this emergency and eventually to exit from it.
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Italian Diary IV

Unless we act together the gap between North and South in Europe and between the rich and poor countries risks becoming even wider. The result would be akin to what was inflicted on Greece during the financial crisis, but far, far worse.
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The Prememory of the Pandemic

The world has been taken entirely by surprise by the coronavirus pandemic. It appears as if nothing within living memory could have prepared us for such an unprecedented upheaval. But is that really the case?
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Italian Diary III

The beautiful city of Bergamo in northern Italy was once perhaps best known as the birthplace of opera composer Gaetano Donizetti. Now it is known as the epicentre of the corona virus, with a death registered every half-hour in recent days. Yet even here, there is some hope the tide may soon turn.
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