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

The Opening to Others

Manus Charleton
Believers make use of  supernatural stories to give detailed content to and make more tangible the sense of openness to the transcendent, openness to strangers.
Jan 27, 2013, 12:53 PM

The Art of Concealment

Margaret Kelleher
Gaps in personal biography are more than compensated for by O’Sullivan’s reassembly of the social and political networks inhabited by the O’Kelly brothers which, in their early years in Dublin and London, included John Devoy, James Clancy and Joe Clarke. The insights into 1870s and 1880s Paris as “satellite city of radical Irish nationalists” are especially compelling and provide a lively parallel to the narrative of O’Kelly’s tutelage in ethnographic realism by Gérôme and Bonnat.
Dec 6, 2010, 18:47 PM

In Whose Interest?

Paul Hunt
Ironically, in a referendum the people rejected a recently proposed reform – the so-called “Abbeylara” amendment   which would have enhanced the power of the Oireachtas relative to government. A recent study of the reasons why people voted as they did finds that a plurality of voters couldn’t recall why they voted Yes or No.
Mar 6, 2012, 12:53 PM

Increments of Uncertainty

Kevin Stevens
As Updike’s word count mounted, so did the rancour. The New York Times’s Michiko Kakutani, considered by many the most powerful literary critic in America, regularly savaged his work. Over the last decade she accused successive novels of being “bogus in every respect”, “shopworn”, “cringe-making” and “claustrophobic”. Indeed the regularity of her vitriol was such that that when she gave the posthumously published My Father’s Tears a favourable notice, literary blogger Shane Barry commented: “We now know what Updike had to do to get a good review out of Kakutani.”
Sep 11, 2009, 18:18 PM

Or So I Was Told

Robert Looby
Poland is making rapid strides in catching up on the West but there remain areas where there is still much progress to be made. For example, it is perfectly possible – accepted even – for twenty-eight-year-old footballers to have no published biographies. Biographies are much scarcer in Poland than in the English-speaking world and no one, it seems, is quite sure what the procedure is for dealing with delicate subjects.
Sep 9, 2010, 16:59 PM

The School of Cool

George O’Brien
Tin Pan Alley’s imaginative impoverishment, its slack tempi and banal lyrics, were nothing but expressions of limits and control, as ersatz as they were dispassionate. This kind of thing might be Big Brother’s idea of a good time, but it was pretty obviously just another of the many mind games he practised back in the good old days, when he wasn’t the family member he’s since become. One thing about progressive music was that it came across as self-consciously averse to being commercial. This greatly helped its sales.
Dec 9, 2008, 17:23 PM

Fugitive Pleasures

David Askew
These then are the lives Hastings tackles – those of playwright, short story virtuoso and novelist, traveller, millionaire art collector, exile, homosexual, secret agent and unhinged old man. Maugham had a long life – he published his first books while Queen Victoria was on the throne, and at least one of his lovers, David Posner, lived long enough to die of AIDS in 1985.
Nov 3, 2009, 20:58 PM

The Kids Are Alright

Maurice Earls
The story of Minnie with her heart “as big as a whale” is the old story of the beautiful and somewhat innocent young woman who falls for a useless cad, one who gives her things that she ain’t needin’ and by whom she is thereby destroyed, or, as in the popular Betty Boop animated version, severely chastened. The Betty Boop version dealt metaphorically and indirectly with the issues the song disguised behind hepster slang. As a result both were huge successes and the gifted Calloway was the first artist to break the colour bar of the major broadcasters.
Sep 13, 2011, 17:21 PM

That Sweet Ironic Smile

Belinda McKeon
Jun 8, 2007, 19:21 PM

Minding The Language

Rachel Andrews
Nor is good prose necessarily something that is found only in fiction: in an essay commemorating Irish Times journalist Dick Walsh, McGahern notes that “the style he forged is highly individual. Mixing the language of the street and field and public house with clear English, it is immediately engaging.” Recalling Orwell, Walsh saw how “slovenliness of language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts”.
Feb 10, 2010, 20:34 PM

Eyes On Ireland

Eunan O'Halpin
McMahon makes an incontestable case that London’s profound lack of understanding of de Valera’s methods, agenda and electoral prospects was itself partly the result of a failure to produce a dispassionate examination of all evidence – most of it in the public domain. Instead, the most far-fetched yarns, usually the work of hyper-imaginative Irish loyalists or gullible British journalists, passed unchallenged from the clubs of Pall Mall into the corridors of Whitehall.
Dec 10, 2008, 17:25 PM

The First Egoist

Enda O’Doherty
Dec 12, 2007, 17:35 PM

An All-Seeing Eye

Paddy Gillan
Mar 6, 2007, 17:49 PM

States and Nations

Bill Kissane
Yet differences also stand out. In Northern Ireland Catholic political disaffection was reinforced by material inequality. Protestant alienation from the southern state’s Catholic ethos was mitigated by a relatively strong position in commercial and professional life.
Jun 22, 2012, 13:48 PM


David Blake Knox
Throughout their captivity, the Irish seamen consistently refused to sign an agreement to become freie Arbeiter – voluntary workers ‑ for the German Reich. In early 1943 they were again segregated, and thirty-two of them ‑ including William ‑ were moved by the Gestapo to Bremen Farge ....
According to the survivors, they were beaten by SS guards when they arrived at Farge. They were told that, since they were civilians, they were not protected by the Geneva Convention, or the International Red Cross.
Sep 5, 2011, 16:28 PM

Give a Thing and Take it Back

Éilís ní Dhuibhne
Mar 6, 2008, 22:19 PM

Hard Landing

John Sweeney
Good, old-fashioned speculation on rising asset values did for the Irish banks. Quite traditional regulatory tools should have been sufficient to prevent them getting into deep trouble if they had been vigorously and rigorously used. But they were not. The will to do so was, undoubtedly, also weakened by the traditionally influential role of the construction sector in Ireland’s political culture.
Dec 8, 2008, 17:20 PM

No Tomorrow

Dara McHugh
The environmentalist James Lovelock has argued that climate change is a threat, like war, where political process must adapt to the moment, that it may be necessary to “put democracy on hold for a while”. Though it would be hard to endorse Lovelock’s contention that the problems at Copenhagen were due to a surfeit of democracy, McEwan’s hero, Michael Beard, offers only affirmation of the pessimistic reflection that the inertia of humans “is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful”.
May 5, 2010, 17:27 PM

The King of Lost Causes

Peter Brooke
Sep 1, 2007, 18:11 PM

Edging Towards Peace

Michael Lillis and David Goodall
Although Mrs Thatcher professes to have found Mr Haughey easier to deal with than Dr FitzGerald, at the time ... she had a high regard for his honesty of purpose and indeed (so it seemed to me) even a degree of personal affection for him. Although she found him unduly loquacious and tended to call him “Gareth” (“She seems to think I’m Welsh,” he observed ruefully), he was a man (like Gorbachev) she “could do business with”.
Dec 5, 2010, 18:47 PM