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

The Spud’s Companion

Caroline Hurley
Ireland has of course been long associated, for both good and ill, with the potato. Its most delicious accompaniment, butter, has a long history too, much of it associated with Munster and with the sophisticated system which led to a thriving industry in Cork in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Sep 2, 2018, 08:48 AM
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One Size Fits All

Eoin Dillon

Economic history, Paul Bairoch wrote, teaches us that no rule or law in economics is valid for every period of history or every economic structure. So why are European models, based on the myth of the rational homo economicus, still so prevalent in African development economics?


Sep 2, 2018, 08:52 AM
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And Who Are Your People?

Mairéad Carew
In the 1930s American academics carried out a range of studies in European countries whose citizens had a tradition of emigration to the US. The measurement of skulls and other tests, it was felt, could determine which peoples were ‘eugenically fit’ and which were rather a bad lot.
Sep 2, 2018, 09:03 AM
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Tyrant-Time

Paul Walsh
Tyrannies, ancient and modern, depend on myths, myths which cement the leader in power and demolish any arguments against his rule (and it’s almost always a him); they promote and naturalise an identity as fixed as the North Star, bringing all minds into orbit round an idea.
Sep 2, 2018, 09:13 AM
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An Idea Madder than Usual

Martin Greene
It is well-known that Joyce drew on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs when writing the sadomasochistic scenes in Ulysses. Masoch’s name today may be chiefly linked to ‘SM’ porn, but there is more to Venus in Furs than that, and indeed more to Masoch than one book.
Sep 2, 2018, 09:19 AM
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Back to Basics

Tom Wall
Much of the gloom about European politics and society is rather overdone, particularly given the recent economic recovery, admittedly still fragile. It is undeniable, however, that social democracy has lost ground. Might its future lie in returning to the vigorous pursuit of equality?
Sep 2, 2018, 10:37 AM
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No Way Out

Síofra Pierse
Denis Diderot’s novel The Nun, posthumously published in 1796, is an indictment of the practice of locking up young women against their will in convents. It strikes an uncanny echo in Ireland, where the last punishment facility of the type known as the Magdalene laundry closed 200 years later.
Sep 2, 2018, 10:47 AM
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Endgame

John Swift
In the long Home Rule crisis of the second decade of the twentieth century, John Redmond, the leader of constitutional nationalism, counted too much on unreliable British allies. His rival, Edward Carson, was a more able tactician, more daring and decisive, and perhaps less unlucky.
Sep 2, 2018, 10:55 AM
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Where The Wild Things Live

Patricia Craig
Many books for the young, whether about animals and their habitats or children on a ‘wilderness’ adventure, contain a message which an attentive child may grasp, laying the ground for a future respect for nature, kindness to animals and aversion to environmental destruction.
Sep 2, 2018, 11:00 AM
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The Traumatic Quotidian

Paul Murphy
Conor O'Callaghan's new collection often deals with rather mundane events, the primary material of life perhaps, rather than subjects more associated with the epic, but from this he often fashions something original and valuable.
Sep 3, 2018, 11:15 AM
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Just Wade In

Jean O’Brien
Reading John O’Donnell’s poetic work, the word constant comes to mind: it is the nub of everything he writes. He has an intrinsic core of honesty, humanity and steadiness; we are in safe hands here.
Sep 2, 2018, 11:54 AM
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I Would Prefer Not To

Catherine Kelly
In Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel a young woman attempts to whittle her life back to an extreme stillness. Orphaned, disillusioned with the art world and insulated from the need to work by a large inheritance, she can find no particular reason to participate at all.
Sep 2, 2018, 12:10 PM
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Moongaze More Often

Keith Payne
Matthew Sweeney’s last collection is bright with painters: Lowry, Van Gogh, Goya, for the most part painters of possibility, or Paula Modersohn-Becker, who moved with Rilke and Rodin and whom Rilke once described as ‘half held in thrall, yet already seizing control’.
Sep 2, 2018, 12:23 PM
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Last Waltz, First Waltz

Enda Wyley
Joseph Woods’s new collection takes the reader on a tour through many exotic places ‑ the Chinese Pacific, the Irrawaddy river, the Western Cape, Chicago – but returns to the more familiar Irish Midlands and West and the persisting links through generations, from ailing parents to infant daughter.
Sep 2, 2018, 12:29 PM
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A Fire in the Brain

Declan O’Driscoll
James Joyce never wanted to believe that his daughter could not be cured of her mental illness, saying ‘whatever spark or gift I possess has been transmitted to Lucia and has kindled a fire in her brain’. The problem was, however, that the fire could not be extinguished.
Sep 3, 2018, 11:27 AM
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Gazing Heavenwards

Gerard Smyth
The challenge in our secular age for a poet engaging with the spiritual and religious is how to sound the authentic note. To this end James Harpur fetches images from the religious art and symbolism of the past, renewing and refreshing them in his language of ‘pure clear words’.
Sep 3, 2018, 11:36 AM
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In Cold Blood

John Fanning
It has been euphemistically categorised as ‘enhanced interrogation’, but Jean Améry, who suffered it at the hands of the Gestapo, called it ‘methodical violence, the equivalent of rape’, adding that ‘whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world’.
Sep 3, 2018, 11:45 AM
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