I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Anthony Roche

Politics in the Margins

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.

Judging Fintan Judging Shaw

Most Shavians steer clear of discussing Shaw’s final decades. It is then that he starts cuddling up to dictators, of whom there was no shortage at the time. Beatrice Webb blamed his admiration for Mussolini on 'his intellectual isolation and weakness for flattery'.

Sweet and Sour

The trajectory of Molly Keane’s life was different from most other people’s and most other writers’: the tragedy – the early death of her husband ‑came early and the triumph late. But what a triumph – three sparkling and successful late novels written in her late seventies and eighties.

The Last Ditch

In 1969, as the fourth and final volume of his correspondence reveals, Samuel Beckett let it be known in a letter to his German publisher, Siegfried Unseld, that he did not wish to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He did so, however, with the usual Beckett mix of ambiguity and contradiction.

Now About All These Women

She had the requisite beauty, but what made her both unique and compelling was that this was joined to a passionate involvement in Irish nationalist politics (his one real rival for Maud, as Yeats accurately recognises). They met, after all, at the house of the Fenian leader John O’Leary; and their relationship throughout the 1890s drew Yeats into an increased involvement in nationalist politics, best incarnated when Maud played the title role in Yeats and Gregory’s Cathleen ni Houlihan of 1902. The third element Yeats was attracted to, in Hassett’s view, was her Ascendancy pedigree, as strongly emerges when he berates her for converting to Catholicism in order to marry Major John McBride.