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

Richard Murphy 1927-2018

Benjamin Keatinge
With the death of Richard Murphy on January 30th, 2018, Ireland lost one of its greatest poets, the creator, in the words of fellow practitioner Peter Sirr, of ‘unforgettable music’.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:56 PM

Becoming the Stranger

Julia O’Mahony
As an editor, Toni Morrison resisted the dictum that one cannot “sell books on both sides of the street”. As a novelist, she attempts to write non-colourist literature about black people, to resist the dehumanising effect of the fetishisation of race.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:52 PM

An Eye for the Gewgaws

Harry Clifton
Dennis O’Driscoll was his generation’s leading man of letters. He assimilated the mode and manner of translated Eastern European poetry and applied it to the domestic and professional realities of Ireland. In his finest poems, the decadence and morbidity of the age is lifted beyond itself.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:45 PM

Facts, After-facts and Fakes

Mary O’Donnell
Tara Bergin’s second collection displays an intellectually adroit interplay between disciplines not often evident in Anglophone poetry. Bergin excels at seeing patterns and connections; her poems challenge us to reconsider everything, trust nothing, and treat the past as a series of riddles.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:30 PM

Life As It Flees

Gerard Dawe
A sense of pleasure and ‘revels’ plays through much of Thom Gunn’s poetry, from the famous image of the motorcyclist in ‘On the Move’ to Elvis Presley’s sexuality. While sex, drugs and rock and roll all feature in Selected Poems, there really isn’t a sense of excess.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:20 PM

An Easy Conscience

Aidan O’Malley
Religion, Hubert Butler believed, should be a place of truth-telling rather than a mere symbol of decorousness and respectability. Croatia’s Cardinal Stepinac felt he had nothing to be ashamed of in his record on the forcible conversion of orthodox Serbs during World War Two. Butler disagreed.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:05 PM

Rediscovered Territory

Tim Groenland
In a reimagined continuation of the Huckleberry Finn story, Huck is a reluctant witness to the march of ‘sivilization’ as it rampages across America. His relentlessly unheroic perspective and humanitarian pragmatism offer a partial antidote to the warlike machinations of his compatriots.
Mar 5, 2018, 13:00 PM

Instead of Blood

Ian Doherty
In Northern Ireland in 1972, 470 people were killed, 1,853 bombs were planted and 18,819 kilos of explosives found. Some thought a United Ireland was close, others a civil war. At the same time the Dublin and London governments were working diligently with moderate politicians for a settlement.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:51 PM


Seamus Deane
Two figures dominate in Breandán Mac Suibhne’s history of a Donegal community, one an informer, the other one of the hard-faced men who did well out of the Famine. Together they help ruin the community, transforming it into a world stripped of people and of communal ethics.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:43 PM

Fortune’s Fools

Tom Hennigan
Romans thought the bounty the goddess Fortuna had provided would last forever, that their empire was the natural culmination of human civilisation. But their world, built on shifting climatic and epidemiological foundations, was to become a victim of its own success.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:29 PM

Fíon Spáinneach

Vincent Morley
The animosity between the smuggler Murtaí Óg Ó Súilleabháin and John Puxley, both of whom died violently in the 1750s, was once seen as symptomatic of wider societal divisions. But in fact Puxley, though employed as a revenue officer, had had a notable career in smuggling too.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:23 PM

Between Memory and Hope

Andreas Hess
America’s founding generation, it has been said, was divided between the party of memory and that of hope, between those who saw the need for periodic revolution to start the world anew and those who wished to avoid the cruelty and violence of the Old World that had been left behind.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:10 PM

A Gift of Cleverness

Michael Hinds
In 1931 William Empson arrived to teach at the Imperial University of Tokyo. Unable to speak Japanese and undoubtedly intimidated by officialdom, he turned inward instead, remarking all sorts of new energies in language, life and art and finding things to live by and live for.
Mar 5, 2018, 12:03 PM

Crème de la Crème

Mary Jones
A third of Britain’s land still belongs to her aristocracy, nearly half of Scotland is in the hands of 432 individuals and companies and more than a quarter of large Scottish estates are held by aristocratic families. As an impressive new polemic shows, it has always been this way.
Mar 5, 2018, 11:56 AM