"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Thinking Machines

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
Transhumanists want us to merge with machines and upload our minds, promising immortality and total freedom. Like millenarians through the ages, they believe we will soon bear witness to the raising of the dead and the life of the world to come.
May 6, 2017, 18:03 PM

Liberal Among the Revolutionaries

Hugh Gough
Germaine de Staël was no democrat, but the issues that she raised - the relationship between public opinion and power, the destabilising impact of street politics, the ruthlessness of power struggles and the corrosive effect of personal ambition – remain pressing today.
May 6, 2017, 17:57 PM

It’s Only Me

Enda O’Doherty
Michel de Montaigne lived through the French wars of religion and was involved in many attempts on behalf of his king to broker a peace. On the whole, however, he preferred to be occupied with his books, which he insisted he read not to improve but to amuse himself.
May 6, 2017, 17:44 PM

Ireland’s Adventure in Spain

John Minahane
During the first few years of the seventeenth century there was a remarkable Irish migration to Spain. The migrants came principally from southwest Cork and south Kerry. Both sexes were well-represented, and all ages, rich and poor, higher classes and low – possibly 10,000 people.
May 6, 2017, 17:36 PM

The Fish and the Water

Thomas Fitzgerald
A study of the IRA’s relations with the people during the War of Independence reveals that while there was sometimes intimidation, its level can easily be exaggerated. Nor should one forget that the greater intimidation of the population came from the Crown forces.
May 6, 2017, 17:18 PM

Making History in Ireland

Liam Kennedy
Studying and writing history within the academy is an iterative process that admits of progress, regression and deviation but at its best it is a truth-seeking quest, and one without end. The fruits of inquiry are always subject to revision, at least outside of totalitarian and theocratic societies.
May 6, 2017, 16:55 PM

Subaltern Songs

Fintan Vallely
A new collection of Cork songs assembled by Jimmy Crowley achieves a model standard in the genre – setting the work in its place, establishing the relevant voices and according the lyrics their historical period and purpose, adding value for singer, listener - and even reader - alike.
May 6, 2017, 16:52 PM

The Forgotten Frontier

Darach MacDonald
A border can be a bridge on which to meet, wrote Claudio Magris, or it can be a barrier of rejection. Both Dublin and Belfast have tended to try to forget the people who live around Ireland’s border, but this looking the other way may not be sustainable for much longer.
May 6, 2017, 16:23 PM

Genesis to Apocalypse

Alan Crilly
In a new short collection, the young Bolivian writer Liliana Colanzi touches on themes of domestic oppression and the cultural extinction of indigenous peoples in stories that offer an extraordinary density of ideas, transmitted in shape-shifting and affecting prose.
May 6, 2017, 14:20 PM

The Call of the Fields

Gerard Smyth
Francis Ledwidge was a poet who went to war, but he did not become a war poet in the normal sense. Mostly he adhered to his natural terrain - rapture before nature - and the fixities of home in what he wrote in surroundings of horrendous conflict, remaining content to imaginatively ‘walk the old frequented ways’ of his memories of his native Co Meath.
May 6, 2017, 14:14 PM


Afric McGlinchey
In a new novel by Conor O’Callaghan, which is reminiscent of Clare Louise Bennett’s experimental ‘Pond’, it’s as if the narrator – and the reader over his shoulder – is looking through a spyhole, gleaning fragments as told by the girl, and having to jigsaw the story together.
May 6, 2017, 14:02 PM

Crossing the Boundaries

Máirín Nic Eoin
A feature of recent Irish-language periodical history has been the appearance of quality literary journals in which academic research is presented side by side with examples of creative writing and works of cultural and political analysis and commentary.
May 6, 2017, 13:34 PM

Love and Other Questions

Deirdre Serjeantson
Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher. (This essay from the drb archive was originally published in April 2016.)
May 6, 2017, 13:27 PM

I made a posy.

Florence Impens
The young George grew up surrounded by intellectuals and artists who would have a profound influence on his work, not least John Donne, a regular visitor to his mother’s salon, and a lifelong friend of hers. At Westminster School, he would also briefly meet Lancelot Andrewes, the famous linguist and one of the translators of the King James Bible. (This review essay from the drb archive was originally published in April 2014)
May 6, 2017, 13:20 PM