Gaelic and Catholic?

Gaelic and Catholic?

Niall Ó Ciosáin

The coincidence of an enthusiasm for Gaelic culture and devout Catholicism in many of the revolutionary generation, and later in the official ideology of the state, disguises the indifference or hostility of the church to the Irish language in the nineteenth century.

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The Others

The Others

John Swift

Edward Said can be called the father of postcolonial studies, but it could be argued that his political commentaries were as important as his theories and that, more than a decade after his death, they are still relevant to the contemporary situation in the region of his birth.

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A Vermont Yankee On the Famine Road

A Vermont Yankee On the Famine Road

Cormac Ó Gráda

Asenath Nicholson, a progressive campaigner for temperance and vegetarianism, first met the Irish in the slums of Manhattan. Visiting the country just before and during the Famine, she wrote what Frank O’Connor described as ‘a Protestant love song to a Catholic people’.

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Scholar and Gentleman

Fergus O’Ferrall

The eighteenth century manuscript collector, historian, political activist and thinker Charles O’Conor was a remarkable figure who bridged the Gaelic tradition of his family and upbringing and the most advanced thought of the European Enlightenment.

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Solitary Prowler

Gerard Smyth

Dublin has been central to Thomas Kinsella’s imagination. No other writer since Joyce has so fervently mapped the city, and few writers have known it so intimately, having repeatedly walked its streets in meditation, the onward path always leading inwards.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Bryan Fanning

Studies of the erosion of Catholic religious practice among the Irish in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s found that many emigrants very quickly melted into the non-religious atmosphere of the host country as soon as they felt they were no longer under close observation.

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Not All Fool

George O’Brien

Mervyn Wall’s satires are in a playful and sometimes whimsical tradition which resists the uplift of the gods and heroes phase of the Irish revival and which includes many of the works of James Stephens and, at a pinch, Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds and The Poor Mouth.

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Struggling for Sanctity

Frank Freeman

A biographer of Ernest Hemingway has argued that his life can be read in terms of a quest for sainthood, a struggle to be not just a good writer but also a good man. A blow by blow account of the life, however, reveals to what degree his ego got in the way, causing him to fall short.

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A Leap Into Darkness

Matt Bucher

Literary quality, Robert Bolaño said, was not just about writing well, because anybody can do that, or even writing marvellously well: anybody can do that too. It was about knowing how to thrust your head into the darkness and understanding that literature is a dangerous calling.

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Noisy as the Grave

Philip O’Leary

An English rendering of a classic modernist Irish novel has found a translator who can do justice to its playfulness, delight in puns, neologisms, scurrilities and malapropisms and its ability to create and sustain a coherent world through rolling floods of words.

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The Romantic Englishman

Enda O’Doherty

George Orwell is celebrated as the man who made political writing an art. But if he was a brilliantly gifted, and often funny, polemical writer, politically he was frequently off the mark, right about one big thing but hopelessly wrong about many small ones.

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The City Mapped

Patrick Duffy

Two new volumes from the Royal Irish Academy illustrate the enormous variety and detail of eighteenth and nineteenth century Dublin, with its fine streets and walks, alleys and stable lanes, barracks, watchhouses, infirmaries , penitentiaries and multifarious manufactories.

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The Big Picture

Sara Goek

A transnational perspective can complement national history and breathe new life into insular debates. It has the potential to both open up new research areas and to expand our understanding of topics that might otherwise seem tired and overwrought.

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The Old Order and the New

Eoin O’Malley

Fianna Fáil dominated the old three-party – or two-and-a half-party system - for so long due to political skill and its good fortune in usually being out of office when recession struck. But now the old system is changing in favour of a new one in which class and demographics count for more.

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The American Nightmare

James Wickham

A new book by Robert Putnam, whose ‘Bowling Alone’ popularised the concept of social capital, examines growing income inequality in the United States and argues that the affluent and the poor now increasingly live in worlds completely isolated from one another.

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Between Two Rooms

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

For many Irish emigrants, and particularly female ones and better educated ones, moving abroad has been less a question of exile than one of escape. For writers, however, there is frequently no escape from considering what it means to be Irish, or to be Irish abroad.

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Sound, from Top to Toe

Carlo Gébler

The work of the Fermanagh poet and editor Frank Ormsby is notable for its quietness, its lucidity, its scrupulous particularity and specificity, its modesty (there is no showing off – ever), its respect for the reader, and – hold onto your hats – its accessibility.

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Eternal Ephemera

Anthony K Campbell

A new study of evolution features a fascinating autobiographical voyage through the development of the author’s own ideas. Too often scientific teaching in the university relies too much on what are presumed to be facts. Yet many such “facts” turn out later to be ephemeral.

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Singing the Body Electric

Nessa O’Mahony

Many fine poets writing in the Irish language stay beneath the general radar unless their work is translated or if, more rarely, they venture into English-language publication. Not so Doireann Ni Ghríofa, who arrives well-garlanded with awards and recommendations.

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Douze Points

Carol McKeogh

A study of the Eurovision Song Contest and Ireland’s participation in it over the years explores the personnel, the formats and lyrics, the staging, the voting systems and the emotional rollercoaster of being involved in the longest-running entertainment contest in the world.

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Investigating the ‘Irish’ Family

In spite of changes, most Irish people’s sense of self, the way they see and understand themselves, is developed and maintained in terms of relations with parents and siblings. Linda Connolly introduces a new study of the subject she has edited.

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Strangely (un)Christian

Emily Holman

The central characters in Michael Faber’s new novel seem to be made of Christian ingredients, yet to speak and think in ways incompatible with who they profess to be. And though the novel improves, this tonal blip tends to make for an erratic reading experience.

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Signs of the Times

Keith Payne

A new Dublin history book is more than just a roll-call of past businesses in the city. It is what much poetry attempts to be, a version of the city that stops you and makes you turn again on your wander through the city centre, tilt your head upwards and take notice.

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Eating Crow

George O’Brien

An arresting debut novel is a notable contribution to the genre of Irish populist gothic and is dark enough to make one wonder if it might not be the last word on broken-family, ruined-child tropes of betrayal and inadequacy.

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The Canon in Irish Language Fiction

Brian Ó Conchubhair and Philip O’Leary

A conference held in Dublin earlier this year set itself the difficult task of identifying the fifteen leading Irish language novels published in the twentieth century. Much debate was occasioned, and will no doubt continue, but a list of (in fact sixteen) works was arrived at.

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Necessary Things

Richard Hayes

There are no pyrotechnics in Gerald Dawe’s new collection; the poems go about their business quietly, presenting the reader, it seems, with cases to be considered, never forcing ‑ neither in formal terms nor in argument ‑ the reader towards certain ends.

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Church Militant

Jeffrey Burwell

A collection of narratives of the lives of eleven Jesuit priests who served as chaplains in the British army during the First World War offers an analysis of the complex situations Irish chaplains faced and the sometimes unexpected pastoral needs encountered on the battlefield.

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An Unknown Kingdom

Joe Woods

The Burmese poet Ko Ko Thett, now living in Belgium, has garnered high praise for his work, particularly from the high priest of American experimentalist poetry John Ashberry, who has characterised his verse as ‘brilliantly off-kilter’.

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Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

Pauline Hall

The first of a series of essays on fictions inspired by the 1916 Easter Rising looks at a work by Raymond Queneau, a French disciple of Joyce whose total experience of Ireland, he has admitted was a short stopover at Shannon Airport on the way to the United States.

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Echoes from the Cistern

Thomas McCarthy

There is nothing tentative, or merely suggestive, in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s new collection. Her academic training is outraged by vagueness, so that the poems grab a firm hold of their subject-matter; the work is pre-meditated, never a pen shuffling in the hope of inspiration.

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James McFadden

James McFadden grew up in Donegal, the son of a travelling salesman. He himself operated a touring picture show and then a cinema in the town of Falcarragh, while also learning the trade of a tailor. But the business, eventually, failed to prosper and the family moved to Coventry to seek work.

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Rousing the Reader

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

It is language itself ‑ its multiplicity, its straining after meaning, the assumptions buried within it ‑ that are illuminated by Paul Muldoon’s work, with the best poems, in his words, giving the alert reader the answers ‘to questions that only they have raised’.

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Hope Springs Eternal

In 1983 the British Labour Party campaigned on a radical left-wing manifesto that delivered it its worst general election result since 1918. Now, it seems, it wants to do it all over again.

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Yellow socks and guacamole

Is an apparent lack of intellectual or cultural sophistication an essentially English trait? It is certainly one that can bear fruit for the populist politician.

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Democracy and Numbers

Does democracy mean that everyone has the right to have their will implemented? What if it clashes with everyone else's will?

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The Tories, Europe and Scotland

If the UK votes to leave the European Union could Scotland be dragged out against its will? And in those circumstances could another independence referendum be resisted?

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Death and Life of the Bookshop

Adam Gopnik laments the recent closure of a famous Parisian bookshop. Elsewhere, however, la lutte continue, the fight continues.

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An Awful Lot of Catholics

A venerable British intellectual publication is celebrating a significant birthday with a conference that brings together some very well-regarded names.

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A city frozen in time

The prevailing culture in Dublin is one of conservation: we don't like the new or the modern, preferring the old and crumbling. So why then has there been such sentiment about the Poolbeg chimneys, symbols of an industrial era we seem to be happy to turn our backs on?

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Don't understand, just be afraid

After graduating from Columbia, John Berryman headed to Cambridge. 'Yeats, Yeats, I'm coming! It's me!' a later poem has him exclaiming from the ship.

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Britain Brought To Book

Back in 1988, in a speech in Bruges, Margaret Thatcher laid down the law to the Europeans as to how they should run their show. She did at least acknowledge, however, that Europe was something with which Britain was connected.

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In Praise Of Ali Smith

Alex Clark pays tribute to novelist Ali Smith for her generous work on behalf of other literary practitioners, and in particular her championing of first-time authors.

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Misunderstanding Orwell

'Nineteen-Eighty Four' was first published sixty-six years ago today. Some people seemed to think that Big Brother was based on the unlikely figure of Clement Attlee.

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If the Brits had won ...

If Tom Barry and Winston Churchill had succeeded in reigniting the Anglo-Irish War, who would have emerged victorious? And would Ireland now enjoy a system of universal health care?

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Jeering the men of 1916

It is fairly well known that volunteers captured in 1916 were sometimes jeered at by crowds of working class Dubliners on their way to imprisonment. What exactly can we read into this and what does it tell us about the legitimacy of the rising?

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If at first you don't succeed ...

Ingeborg Rapoport was a recent medical graduate when she finished her doctoral thesis on diphtheria in Hamburg in 1938. But she was not allowed to submit it as her mother was of Jewish origin.

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Saul Bellow Brought To Book

Saul Bellow was not the first, but he was one of the earlier and most dominant of the Jewish writers who played such a big part in 20th-century American literature.

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Peter Gay: 1923 - 2015

Peter Gay, who fled Berlin with his family as a schoolboy, settling in the United States, was one of the most eminent historians of the Enlightenment. He was also a biographer of Freud and wrote other books on modern German and Austrian history.

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Slugging It Out

A new group, Historians for Britain, argues that Britain's 'special' historical path means it should tell the EU to bog off. A rival group, Historians for History, argues that there is no such special path. There will be blood.

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New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring Paul Murray's new novel The Mark and the Void; Belinda McKeon's new novel Tender; and Gerald Dawe's retrospective on the Northern Ireland society he grew up in, The Stoic Man.

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World Literature

Featuring David Shafer's psychological novel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Nina Stibbe's Man at the Helm.

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Irish History & Politics

Including the Abbey Theatre's Handbook of the Irish Revival edited by Declan Kiberd and PJ Mathews.


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World History & Politics

Including The Sociology of Unemployment, an analysis of the experience and governance of unemployment.

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Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Culture, Northern Ireland, and the Second World War and The Best are Leaving, a study of post-war Irish emigrant culture.

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World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Jonathan Sacks' work of biblical analysis Not in God's Name.

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Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring Padraig Yeates’s A City in Civil War Dublin; Maurice Walsh's Bitter Freedom; and Gavin M. Foster's The Irish Civil War and Society.

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More New Books ...