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

The View from the Tower

John Banville

Philosophers had interpreted the world, but the point was surely to change it, Marx asserted. But with socialist change seeming to lead to disappointing or even frightening results, many twentieth century intellectuals turned Marx’s dictum on its head, seeking refuge in theory.

Space to Think

Space to Think

Ten Years of the Dublin Review of Books

We are very pleased to be publishing Space to Think, a handsome book of over 500 pages celebrating some of the finest writing from the first ten years of the Dublin Review of Books. Appearing here in print for the first time are some fifty essays on Irish, European and international literature, history and culture, drawn from the drb archive. Space to Think is published in October. Pre-order now for a special reader's discount.

Glorious Luminary

Glorious Luminary

James Ward

A new study provides impressively wide-ranging commentary on William Blake’s sources, influences, and working methods, as well as his cultural afterlives. Blake was not just an eccentric but a genius and visionary who was repeatedly debilitated by paranoia and depression.


Suffering and Sanctity

Carol Taaffe

Emma Donoghue’s new novel, set in nineteenth century, post-Famine Ireland and centring on the case of a ‘fasting child’ who refuses all food, is at its most compelling in the attention it devotes to a religious culture that elevates suffering, and yet which provides consolation too.


Sins of the Advocate

Frank Callanan

The Irish-American lawyer John Quinn defended Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of the ‘Little Review’ from prosecution for publishing extracts from ‘Ulysses’. The prosecution led to the effective banning of the book in 1921. Quinn’s defence strategy left a lot to be desired.


Angry Old Man

Brian Davey

Friends of Evelyn Waugh often wondered how he could reconcile his beastly behaviour with his deep faith. Waugh was not exactly apologetic: ‘You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid, I would hardly be a human being.’



Rachel Andrews

Ed O’Loughlin’s new novel is set in the wild open spaces of the Canadian Arctic and benefits from a wealth of detailed research into the history of exploration in this remote reason. Against this pleasure, however, the outlines of the contemporary characters remain vague.


Time, Gentlemen

George O’Brien

Rounds of drinks, and rounds of various Dublin pubs, are only the most obvious instances of a more general notion of circulation in a novel whose subtitle, “another day in Dublin”, pays a downbeat homage to, as well as establishing a distance from, the book of June 16th, 1904.


Money with Morals

Seán Byrne

Ireland’s reliance on multinational investment puts it in the demeaning position of having to constantly adapt to the changing needs of multinational companies. Meanwhile, our fiercely defended low rate of corporation tax is under severe threat now that our main ally in defending it is leaving the EU.


At the Apex

Donncha O’Connell

A major new study of Ireland’s highest court brilliantly tells the story of the people ‑ judges, lawyers and litigants ‑ that shaped its institutional personality, the doctrinal battles that ended up there and the impact of its decisions on politics and society.


The Last Ditch

Anthony Roche

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.


Door Into The Dark

David Wheatley

Proponents of the ‘best are leaving’ theory of emigration deplored the losses but were wary of the suggestion that providing a basic standard of living was any business of the Irish state. Anti-materialists feared prosperity could weaken the racial stock by making life too easy.


The Wicked Uncle

Pádraig Murphy

Stalin learned from Lenin that ruthlessness in pursuit of what might appear an impossible goal could pay off. In addition, the Marxist inheritance deified the State, the bearer of the highest truth of historical progress, while within the state the party was assigned an absolute status.


The Bears and the Bees

Thomas McCarthy

Paula Meehan is an inspiring presence, the most important thinking poet of her generation. Still, it must be said that there are rogues and ruffians among poets too, persons of such low moral character that a blackthorn stick might as well be found in their hands as a pen.


Militant Agnostic

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

A short book from a veteran British philosopher and populariser of philosophy can be seen as a sustained argument against not religion nor science but the mistaken belief that defending the Enlightenment value of Reason necessitates insisting that all darkness can be explained away.


The Harp That Once

Fintan Vallely

A reprint of an important historical work on Irish music reveals that the Armagh-born collector Edward Bunting with some justice regarded Thomas Moore as having plagiarised his collected and published music and sanitised it, making himself wealthy and famous.



Terence Brown

Louis MacNeice’s career was a matter of negotiating between conflicting realities, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland North and South, Ireland and England, Europe and America, peace and war ‑ he chose London over Ireland and a then non-combatant US lest he miss history.


Not Biting Their Tongues

Adrian Paterson

An exhibition at Trinity College Dublin shows the wonderful variety and vigour of writing about the visual arts in Ireland in the 1890s and the early years of the last century, a phenomenon which the prestige of more purely literary work tends to make us forget.


Let’s Shop

Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin

An historical study of consumer culture across several centuries provides fascinating insights, but its desire to be value-free and non-judgmental leaves unresolved many important questions about the sometimes appalling human costs of global capitalism.


Holding Out

Joseph O’Connor

Mary O’Malley’s poems have seen a thing or two, but the light has not gone out. They are honest, tough, tender, beautiful, alive to the redemptive possibilities of Ireland’s languages, tuned into popular speech and ready to walk into the world and find something worth loving.


Cat Menagerie

Clíona Ní Ríordáin

Afric McGlinchey’s second collection revolves around a central conceit – the fisher cat, familiar of the fifteenth century alchemist Dom Perlet. Drowned by ‘vigilantes’ in the Seine, the animal reappeared with its master some time later when they took up their old pursuits anew.


Suffer Little Children

Liza Costello

A collection of poems by Connie Roberts, who grew up in an institution after being removed from a violent home in rural Ireland, portrays her horrific childhood world both inspiringly and artistically, while refusing to ‘tell it slant’ or to ‘gussy it up / in Sunday-best similes’.


After the Catechism

Carmel Heaney

Morality and moral behaviour, based on informed choices, lead to good laws and good policy. There is a concern that, if religious education disappears from schools, society could bankrupt the moral capital accumulated through centuries of Christian faith – unless we have something strong to replace it.


The Malevolence of Occupation

David Lloyd

Palestine was once the hub of ideas, goods and people circulating through West Asia and North Africa: as a Bethlehem professor reminded us, the ancient caravan route used to pass nearby. Now he cannot even travel the twenty minutes to his former family home in Jerusalem without a special permit.


A Bird Pipes Up

Billy Mills

There is always some question around the best, or perhaps the least-worst, way of translating poetry. One view is that translating verse into prose leaves out almost everything that makes the original worth reading in the first instance.


Father of the Artist

Barry Sheils

Mike McCormack’s new novel is a successful and moving work, not least because it contains a public reckoning at its centre – a plea for accountability not typical in Irish writing, which remains overly impressed by its grim array of scapegrace dandies, scouring matriarchs and domesticated Oedipuses.


Back to the Future

Niall Crowley

Ireland’s experience of nation-building, which in reality was a far from adventurous one, was first driven by Catholicism and cultural nationalism and then by economic development and human capital.


The Long Note

Brendan Lowe

The opening poem in Paddy Bushe’s new collection gives a sense of an art emerging from a relationship with the natural processes occurring constantly in a particular place, processes which transcend time, while the music played is a different phenomenon from the songs ringing in the New Year down in the village.


Sad in the Suburbs

Brendan Mac Evilly

Our image of Maeve Brennan is most often of an elegant and sophisticated woman looking very at home in a New York apartment. Her Dublin stories, however, portray frustrated lives in a respectable but constricted world, the middle class suburban world in which she grew up.


Opening Out

Afric McGlinchey

In a collection of almost sublime purity, Vona Groarke moves from a youthful confidence inspired by love, to a state of ‘chassis’, and finally to a point where she looks outward from the confines of the symbolic house which has served her so often as an image.


Landscapes of Displaced Desire

Tom Tracey

A debut collection of short stories is fraught in mood, yet maintains a composed tone alongside meticulous description. At times it feels like a contemporary ‘Dubliners’ written for the People’s Republic of Cork, shot through with its author’s impressive ‘descriptive lust’.


Watching the Moods

Gerard Smyth

Coming just a few years after his ‘Collected Poems’, Macdara Woods’s new collection demonstrates the progression towards a lifelong unitary project; poem adds to poem, book to book. Because of that consistency poems from forty years ago still wear well.


Getting to Grey

Liam Hennessy

Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.


Astonished at Everything

Peter Sirr

Generosity and largeness of vision seem to meet happily in the poems of Uruguayan-French writer Jules Supervielle, which seem to cover great distances in short spaces.


All or Nothing

Joschka Fischer

Those Germans who argue so vehemently against a so-called transfer union should realise that the EU has always been such a union. France got the CAP for its large rural economy and Germany the common market for its strong industry. Little has changed since.


Birds, beasts and flowers

Gerald Dawe

DH Lawrence’s poetry offers a record of the powerful current of physical pleasure, the elusive joy of witnessing that which is different, and the kind of opinionated prickliness when things are not what they seem to be or should be.


The Stilled World

Nicola Gordon Bowe

Unsentimental, sparing and unspecific, the painter Patrick Pye has sought figurative images to represent symbolically “the archetypes of our humanity” depicted in an alternative universe where expiation has been achieved.


Singing Schubert

There are times when interpreters should realise that explication is not needed. The composer and poet we exist to serve have told us what the message is to be. Our role is simply to deliver it.


Uphill Battles

Sometimes in politics you lose, and then sometimes ... you lose again. But there is no alternative other than to learn some lessons and come back for more.


The Bully

They have outlawed bullying in schools in Maine, but unfortunately have not outlawed bullies running for the presidency.


Aspects of Solidarity

It is relatively easy perhaps to create a sense of coherence and common purpose in a group which sees itself as culturally, socially or politically uniform. But how can we create feelings of solidarity with outsiders?


Posh Spice

Speaking clearly and enunciating one's vowels may not always gain one admission to a tennis club in which one is not welcome, but the experience of trying to learn how to do so can still be an enjoyable and memorable one.


The Year Without Summer

The eruption of a volcano on an Indonesian island in April 1815 - the most explosive such event in history - had long-lasting and devastating effects across the globe. It is the subject of a conference in Galway this weekend.


Kathmandu Letter

Public interest defender ‘LB Thapa’ can no longer practise the law. Subjected to death threats, he now lives anonymously with his family in poor conditions, but this is scarcely unusual, he says, for Nepalese lawyers who won’t lie.


Under The Weather

So, it's autumn. No need to be depressed. There are apples, blackberries, damsons and bright, golden woodlands to be enjoyed for a few months yet before winter draws in.


A Personal Vendetta

Thomas Dickson, one of three men murdered in 1916 by the possibly deranged Captain John Bowen-Colthurst, has been accused of editing an anti-Semitic Irish newspaper. The paper, ‘The Eye-Opener’, may have been scurrilous, but it is doubtful if it was anti-Semitic.


The Fog Persists

A week has passed and we are no wiser about who exactly was behind Turkey’s attempted coup. This is scarcely surprising as we still don’t know who was behind the country’s previous coups either. One thing, however, is certain: President Erdoğan will use it to further entrench his power.



Many of the prescriptions and proscriptions of the Catholic church - in the days when it was able to lay down the law - appeared to make some kind of sense, while others were more mysterious. None more so than the disapproval of long engagements.


If You Liked This ...

The digital revolution has undoubtedly brought us many benefits and made a lot of things easier, but that does not mean that we should welcome what it has delivered in its more recent phases, or what it might have in store for us in the future.


Lost without eu

One can strike off on one's own of course, off into the North Atlantic if one wants, but what is one leaving behind? And will it eventually appear that there are a few bits missing here and there?


Flattering the People

Many British and Irish commentators have commented on the rancorous and perhaps deluded mood of large sections the British electorate. But some prefer to turn their fire on the educated and the cosmopolitan, guilty, it seems, of gross sins of contempt and condescension.


Au Revoir, Europe

Internationalist British journalist, sixtysomething but not a bad catch, seeks Polish, Italian, French or Irish woman with intellectual interests for quick marriage and happiness ever after in the European dolce vita.


I do I do I do

A number of cases of bigamy which came before the courts in Edwardian Dublin demonstrate that the crime could be entered upon for a variety of motives, not all ignoble.


Poems Upstairs: New Poets from the North of Ireland

Readings from poets featured in New Poets from the North of Ireland, edited by Sinéad Morrissey and Stephen Connolly. Wed 1 June, 7pm.

New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring a full chapter extract from The Abode of Fancy by Sam Coll and a poem from Paula Meehan's new collection, Geomantic.


World Literature

Featuring 2016 Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty's The Sellout.


Irish History & Politics

Featuring Hell at the Gates, in which Brian Cowen, the late Brian Lenihan, Eamon Ryan, Micheál Martin, Mary Harney and many others recount in their own words the inside story behind the government's infamous bailout.


World History & Politics

Featuring Final Solution, David Cesarani's sweeping reappraisal challenging the accepted explanations for the anti-Jewish politics of Nazi Germany.


Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Paul Howard's I Read the News Today, Oh Boy, the extraordinary story of the young Irishman who was immortalized for ever in the opening lines of the Beatles' 'A Day in the Life'.


World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Loose Canon: The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin, an exploration of the lyrics and tunes that have won Clive James and his musical partner, Pete Atkin, a fanatical cult following.


Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring Wherever the Firing Line Extends, Ronan McGreevey's study of the places where the Irish made their mark in World War I and are remembered in the monuments, cemeteries and landscapes of France and Flanders.


More New Books ...