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

Against Pure Wool

Maurice Earls
In the midst of the January Uprising of 1863 in Poland, a Dublin grocer, Patrick McCabe Fay, donated money to a fund in support of the Polish rebels, explaining that it was only right that the “Poland of the West” come to the aid of “her sister of the East”.
Feb 5, 2018, 14:38 PM

Nicola Gordon Bowe (1948-2018)

Catherine Marshall,
Nicola Gordon Bowe, who died suddenly last month, was an expert on the work of stained glass artists Harry Clarke and Wilhelmina Geddes. She was the pioneer writer who fought to have craft and design recognised intellectually as operating on an equal footing with the fine arts.
Feb 3, 2018, 15:04 PM

Let Them Have It

Patrick Claffey
You’ve either got or you haven’t got style. AA Gill had it in spades, but he also had substance, convictions, passion and a devil-may-care attitude to the proprieties that often got him into trouble with the many people he offended.
Feb 3, 2018, 14:55 PM

Kith and Kine

Gerard Murphy
A compendious work on the ostensibly obscure and specialist subject of the origins of cattle breeds manages to incorporate a good deal of fascinating human history over several millennia, recalling in the process the literary work of Herman Melville or WG Sebald.
Feb 3, 2018, 14:37 PM

Silvery Images

Alexander Runchman
Nerys Williams’s new collection is much concerned with language, and while it disparages ‘silver tongues’ it recognises that the value of language and its ‘half-lit words’ may lie in the uncertainty of its interpretation, in its meaning different things to different audiences.
Feb 3, 2018, 13:26 PM

Death and Denial

Jon Smith
The Irish make death an occasion, surrounding it with ritual and sociability; in England funerals are private, almost furtive, affairs. But perhaps both approaches, behind the obvious differences, have something major in common, the perceived need to ‘deal with’ death, to put it in its box.
Feb 2, 2018, 18:48 PM

Strangers in a Strange Land

George O’Brien
Emigration into postwar Britain was encouraged, but the only plan was to secure bodies for no-collar jobs (Irish labourers, Punjabi foundry workers) or to maintain essential services (Barbadians for the buses, Irish women for nursing). It was bodies that were needed, not people.
Feb 2, 2018, 15:35 PM

Destined for Radicalism

Sheena Wilkinson
Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was a suffragette and a Sinn Féiner, and in that order. For her, national sovereignty did not overshadow other concerns and, unlike Constance Markievicz, she never considered female suffrage secondary to the struggle for Irish independence.
Feb 2, 2018, 15:29 PM

Van The Youth

David Blake Knox
The postwar decades in Northern Ireland were ones of modest prosperity, and the bitter conflict that had marked the birth of the state seemed on its way to becoming memory. For some – mainly Protestants ‑ the 1950s and early 60s have the innocence and charm of a lost Eden.
Feb 2, 2018, 14:57 PM

Return of the Nativist

Bryan Fanning
The new nativism claims to be based on common-sense solidarity with fellow citizens. It differs from white nationalism and seems almost to wish to promote a kind of cohesion among Britain’s current ethnically diverse population by uniting it against new immigrants. 
Feb 2, 2018, 14:43 PM

Our Stuff Good, Your Stuff Bad

Fergus O’Donoghue
The differences between Catholic and Protestant beliefs have been exploited by secular rulers for their own gain and have led to wars and much bloodshed. Perhaps the greatest problem has been the insistence of secular authorities on imposing uniformity of faith in their territories.
Feb 2, 2018, 14:28 PM

A Life Composed

Patricia Craig
Celebrated biographer Claire Tomalin tackles the subject of her own life with detachment and calm. Her concise and slightly formal prose strikes the right note to deal with sorrows and adversities, though occasionally one could wish for just a little idiosyncrasy or waywardness.
Feb 2, 2018, 14:22 PM

Gentrifying Hegel

Sean Sheehan
It is quite astonishing that there is no reference to Slavoj Žižek in a massive new volume which calls itself a handbook to Hegel. While the Slovenian philosopher can be challenging, his work reaches parts of Hegel that are not found or given a tamer inflection in most other commentaries.
Feb 2, 2018, 14:16 PM

From the Battlefield

Ronan Sheehan
Robert Lowell’s ‘For the Union Dead’ is first and foremost an American poem. It is about a nation born in courage and descending into slack and rust. It is about valour and the corruption of valour. It asks which noble acts, which right things done, enter and stay in memory.
Feb 2, 2018, 13:52 PM

Machine World

Stephen Cox
A perceptive essay on technology in the nineteenth century indicates why that era had such a bearing on the times to come in highlighting the discrepancy between our technological capabilities and what our mind is able to penetrate, between our inventiveness and our moral imagination.
Feb 2, 2018, 13:42 PM