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

Inventing the Working Class

Marc Mulholland
Karl Marx, born 200 years ago this month, was ‘a true and loyal friend, but a vehement and hateful enemy’. To be in his small circle was to feel part of something historic, but also to be exposed to constant critical scrutiny. Once he feared for his political reputation, Marx let no politesse hold him back. His correspondence with Friedrich Engels is full of unedifying abuse of almost everyone they knew.
Jun 16, 2013, 21:35 PM
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Vorsprung in the Free State

Catherine Marshall
When the Shannon hydroelectric scheme was built in the 1920s it rapidly became a major tourist attraction, even a new national monument. But it was a monument that offered a future in contrast to the thousands of historic sites that sang of what had been lost in the past.
May 4, 2018, 11:39 AM
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Not Quite at Home

James Moran
Dark-skinned people have lived in Britain for a very long time, according to some researchers from the Mesolithic era. Nevertheless, today’s black population remains disadvantaged and is not universally accepted. What is called ‘The Question’ – where are you from? – is never far away.
May 4, 2018, 11:46 AM
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He Meant Well

Maurice Walsh
In 1949, the US’s chief strategic thinkers believed themselves to be ‘for all our shortcomings not only great but good, and therefore a dynamic force in the mind of the world’. In such a spirit the CIA sent Colonel Edward Lansdale to Vietnam in 1954. The goodness, such as it was, proved to be not enough.
May 4, 2018, 13:00 PM
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No Easy Answers

Sean Sheehan
Wittgenstein’s talks in Cambridge in the 1930s were creative acts, works of art one might say, that came into existence in the process of their delivery. There were no notes, no script, but ‘he thought before the class. The impression was of a tremendous concentration.’
May 4, 2018, 13:07 PM
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John Hume’s Legacy

Michael Lillis
John Hume, though acting with the co-operation of other political figures, was the main force in Ireland’s move from war in the 1970s and 1980s to peace from the 1990s onwards. His legacy is a considerable one, but it is under threat today as it has not been for some time.
May 4, 2018, 16:30 PM
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Their Own Medicine

Pauline Hall
Matthew Pearl’s 2003 bestseller ‘The Dante Club’ is set at the close of the American Civil War when Boston is shaken by a series of gruesome murders which seem to replicate the ‘contrapasso’ punishments of Dante’s ‘Inferno’. A group of eminent scholars must track down the killer.
May 4, 2018, 16:44 PM
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Politics in the Margins

Anthony Roche
Though he was long perceived as an apolitical writer, Samuel Beckett’s three main publishers, in Paris, London and New York, were known for works with an overt politics and a dedication to civil liberties. This context mattered to Beckett in terms of where his work appeared.
May 4, 2018, 17:01 PM
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Before The Fall

Andy Pollak
In 1945 a new housing authority in Northern Ireland set itself the target of building 30,000 houses over ten years, houses that would be allocated on the basis of need, not religious affiliation. In Belfast, some religiously integrated estates lasted, and thrived, until the start of the Troubles.
May 4, 2018, 17:09 PM
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Manderley, Again

Lia Mills
Daphne du Maurier’s classic story ‘Rebecca’ is more an anti-romantic than a romantic novel. It is also a study of jealousy, a portrait of the imbalance of power in a marriage, a psychological thriller, and a crime drama with its conventions turned inside out.
May 4, 2018, 18:11 PM
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Channelling God

Kevin Power
In 1954 Norman Mailer discovered marijuana. It gave him an insight into the mind of the Almighty, which it turned out was quite a lot like his own. He began to formulate the ideas that would shape his literary work over the next decade. Unfortunately they were not very good ideas.
May 4, 2018, 18:44 PM
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Puttin’ On the Ritz

Patricia Craig
Zadie Smith is an opponent of dullness, mediocrity, pusillanimity and taking yourself too seriously; she is a champion, and in her work an embodiment, of position, attitude, rhythm and style, like her favourite dancers, Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson. Her essays afford not just pleasure but joy.
May 4, 2018, 18:52 PM
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Humanism Comes to Town

Toby Barnard
Many of the features of other European Renaissance cities were missing from Dublin: no vibrant centre of learning, only an attenuated court, little local printing. Yet traders, administrators, soldiers and clerics arrived from overseas, as did manuscripts and books.
May 5, 2018, 10:44 AM
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Inventing the Working Class

Marc Mulholland.
Karl Marx, born 200 years ago this month, was ‘a true and loyal friend, but a vehement and hateful enemy’. To be in his small circle was to feel part of something historic, but also to be exposed to constant critical scrutiny. Once he feared for his political reputation, Marx let no politesse hold him back. His correspondence with Friedrich Engels is full of unedifying abuse of almost everyone they knew.
May 5, 2018, 11:29 AM
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Talking Heads

Deirdre Serjeantson.
As recently as 1996, an English editor of an edition of a seventeenth century play wrote in a footnote to explain to students a puzzling reference that “the Irish were notoriously cruel and bloodthirsty”. This of course is very much a matter of perspective. Both sides in the sixteenth and seventeenth century conflict in Ireland used extreme violence. The Elizabethan English tended to see Irish beheadings as savagery; their own decapitations were simply an expression of due process.
May 5, 2018, 11:44 AM
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Giant Step

Dick Edelstein
While Geraldine Mitchell’s two preceding volumes of poetry were notably cohesive, in her new collection she constructs a more all-embracing context while maintaining an easily identifiable stylistic continuity. The result represents a considerable leap forward in her work.
May 5, 2018, 11:55 AM
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A Time In Between

Éadaoín Lynch
Éadaoín Lynch writes on the British literature of the Second World War. Writers such as Roald Dahl wrote directly about the experience of killing in combat, and the godlike power of mechanised warfare. The dominant mode of writing death and killing lay in understatement, detachment and voyeurism.
May 5, 2018, 12:02 PM
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Folks Like Us

Carlo Gébler
The central characters in Bernard MacLaverty’s ‘Midwinter Break’ are frail, contrary, inadequate, self-serving, self-destructive, hopeless, hopeful, desperate, kindly, thoughtless, and all the other things that make people people. No wonder their story is so fascinating.
May 5, 2018, 12:28 PM
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Oral Culture and Popular Autonomy

Brian Earls
William Carleton at times conceived of his great narrative enterprise as a form of naive ethnography, asserting that his stories contained more “facts” about Ireland than any previously published work. His sources were multiple, his sea of story extending from refracted folktales, via Victorian melodrama, to the most commonplace clichés of commercial fiction and, indeed, improving tales. At its heart are the narratives and other oral forms of the pre-famine Irish countryside. 
May 5, 2018, 12:35 PM
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Noises from Beneath

Angela Nagle
Cyberutopians promised us the Internet would bring the end of hierarchies, industry, nationalism and gender oppression. But its political claims have proven largely empty while it has continued to spawn a particularly vicious male geek culture of obscenity and misogyny. Nagle’s essay, published in 2013, introduced themes which were later to be developed in her very successful book Kill All Normies (2017).
May 5, 2018, 12:44 PM
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