Captured By Light

Captured By Light

Catherine Marshall

Stained glass is a difficult medium to make one’s living in. Even in wartime, when Wilhelmina Geddes received many commissions for memorial windows, her work was frustrated by the scarcity of lead, which was also needed for bullets and coffins.

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The Great Incendiary

The Great Incendiary

Tom Wall

A new study of James Larkin takes some of the shine off his reputation; still, plaster saints are no longer in vogue. Big Jim’s vision was fundamentally moral. His gift to workers will be remembered and he can afford to be taken down a peg or two and still tower above.

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Down Among the Dead Men

Down Among the Dead Men

John Fleming

You cannot understand an old city if you are not tuned to the cacophony of tenancy claims that greet you in stairwells as you trudge up to a fifth-floor flat. You are dead inside if you do not heed the joyous calls from beyond the grave of deceased residents.

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Kafka on Thames

Adrian Hardiman

The injustice done to British broadcaster Paul Gambaccini as part of the Yewtree investigation leads one to wonder if the presumption of innocence can survive in a legal system which permits the police and media to destroy a person’s reputation in advance of any trial.

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King Cotton

Mary Jones

Three elements - imperial expansion, expropriation, and slavery - became central to the forging of a new global economic order that eventually led to the emergence of capitalism. And the story of the development of cotton perfectly illustrates the stages of this process.

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The Thing Itself

Peter Sirr

Harvard told Helen Vendler they didn’t want her – or any woman – teaching there. Later, having established a foothold in academia, she settled on two guiding principles: first that her subject was to be poetry and second that she wanted to be a critic rather than a scholar.

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Rebellious Spirit

Mary Rose Doorly

When Charlotte Brontë looked into the mirror she saw nothing but flaws. But this sense of not being attractive was to goad her into a fierce assertion of independence and eventually to the creation of a heroine ‘as small and plain as myself’ whose name remains with us today.

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The Undead

Terence Killeen

A new study of Joyce is based on the idea that because of the retarded nature of Irish modernisation and its colonial status, communal belief in ghosts and the spirit world persisted, whereas elsewhere such beliefs were banished to the sphere of the subjective.

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A Book of Two Halves

Andy Pollak

A new history of sport in Ireland impresses with its meticulous research and its account of the historical origins and the momentous developments of the nineteenth century but somewhat runs out of steam and loses direction as we approach the present day.

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Muscular Christians

Martin Henry

The intellectualism of early Protestantism is hard to overestimate. It was bred in the universities and was a practice in which constant struggle, intellectual and spiritual, was central. A consequence was that it seemed to have little enough time for the unlettered.

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Doing The Locomotion

Iggy McGovern

Dubliner Dionysius Lardner couldn’t wangle a job at Trinity despite his remarkable gifts of clarity and exposition, but he was nevertheless a successful publisher in England and criss-crossed America, addressing huge audiences as one of the great scientific popularisers of his era.

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Mind Games

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

Oppressed by his inability to write and seeking an intense experience, John Lennon sets out, accompanied by his wise and unflappable native guide, Cornelius O’Grady, on a journey westward to Clew Bay in Kevin Barry’s brilliant, virtuoso, boundary-breaking new novel.

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Body And Soul

Kevin Stevens

Ta Nehisi Coates contends that white supremacy is a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it. Marilynne Robinson argues that moral revival, though its results are never enough, is also central to the American tradition and that we should not despair.

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The Big World Spins

Ronan Fanning

Ireland in the revolutionary and Civil War years seemed to be much taken up with its own affairs. But Dubliners flocked to a lavish new picture palace, attended a world title fight and, in spite of warnings of the moral dangers, enthusiastically danced to jazz rhythms in Dawson Street.

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The Commemoration Trap

John Swift

All political parties cannibalise the past selectively for facts and arguments deemed useful to safeguarding and advancing their future fortunes. This is normal and to be expected. But what is produced in this way is not history, which is a discipline whose goal is understanding.

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The Polish Rising

Tim Groenland

In August 1944, Germany was retreating before the Red Army while in the west the liberation of France had begun. Polish patriots thought the time was right to launch an uprising in Warsaw, but the action proved to be a political and military disaster.

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Lord of the Flies

Seamus O’Mahony

Jerry Coyne’s shouty polemic against religion, and against the possibility of any accommodation between science and religious belief, is largely an attack on creationism and ‘ìntelligent design’. It is hard to see it being taken seriously anywhere but in the US.

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A Larkinite In Power

Barry Desmond

Frank Cluskey had some very considerable achievements to his credit as a Labour Party minister in coalition governments, but he found himself at odds with many in his party, in particular over attitudes to the violence that was then beginning to unfold in the North.

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Curation Once Again

John Fanning

The current vogue for the term curation arose in tandem with the conceptual art movement, where the idea or concept of art took precedence over the traditional aesthetic, but accelerated in the 1990s when the boundaries between big art, big business and big data began to erode.

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War in Words

Carlo Gébler

And by wars what he had in mind, Gerald Dawe went on to explain, were not only those that one might expect Irish poets to write about (“the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, and the civil war in Ireland”) but those other twentieth century wars, including the Great War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.

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The King’s Man

Graham Price

During the reign of Elizabeth, Shakespeare had concentrated on English political history, but following the accession of the Scottish King James and the Gunpowder Plot, the strife and politics of Britain as a whole would become the focus of Shakespearian drama.

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Held By The Roots

Brendan Lowe

Gerard Smyth is a poet strongly associated with his native Dublin, and in particular with the period of his childhood and youth. His new collection is marked by an impulse to record, with piety and fidelity. The tone is elegiac, yet the poems are still open to the new and exotic

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Airborne

Lucy Collins

‘The Airship Era’ one of O’Reilly’s most finely achieved poems, explores the moment in which modern technology meets the legacy of symbolic traditional cultures. In the figure of the Zeppelin the future is untethered from the earth as air and earth become as sea and sea floor.

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The Long Conversation

Ronan Sheehan

We should neither heroise nor demonise the Romans, writes leading classicist Mary Beard, but we should take them seriously and not close down our long conversation with their legacy. But has that legacy been everywhere and always the same one?

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What Next?

Ailbhe Darcy

Justin Quinn is fascinated by the inevitability that rhyme suggests: as one rhyme brings on another, so we are born, produce other lives, and die. Generation follows generation in a process that has fascinated Quinn since he wrote of the birth of his children in ‘Fuselage’.

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England Unfree

Ed Simon

A novel written entirely in an archaic version of English and without the benefit of punctuation evokes the world of the Saxons overwhelmed by the sudden and brutal invasion of the Normans in the late eleventh century. It has been a surprise bestseller.

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From War To War

William Mulligan

The celebrated German historian Heinrich August Winkler argues that it was not only the First World War but also the global economic depression after 1929 that were the twin events leading to so much catastrophe and destruction in European history in the twentieth century.

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Silent Witnesses

Fergus O’Donoghue

Bodies preserved in bogland, dating from the Iron Age or even before, are found right across northwestern Europe. It is difficult to know a great deal of their lives or beliefs or interpret their deaths, but what we do know is that their killers tried to obliterate them; and failed.

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Alex Bramwell

A new collection of two works by the Russian-Irish novelist, poet and translator Anatoly Kudryavitsky features a writer who explores contemporary political themes but whose practice is grounded in the magical realist tradition which produced Mikhail Bulgakov.

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The Risen People

Thomas Fitzgerald

The 1916 Rising can summon up more unanimity of feeling in the nation than many other events that occurred a few years before or after. Nevertheless, whatever our sympathy for the participants, we should be wary of considering it a well-planned military affair.

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Getting the Left on Track

Michael McLoughlin

A new book that argues that the way forward for social democracy is more state, more tax, more spending fails to convince. If these were recipes likely to be favoured by the electorate there would be social democratic governments thriving all over the Western world.

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The Vault of Feeling

Shane Barry

Kevin Stevens’s assured new novel explores the difficulties faced by a young immigrant of Arab and Muslim background in small-town America, difficulties which include racism and the weight of overbearing tradition, but which can be countered by friendship, love and art.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Women & the Irish Revolutionary Years

Sinead McCoole on the revolutionary women of Ireland, in Books Upstairs, Sun 21 Feb, 2.30pm.

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A Dublin Murder Mystery

Maurice Earls examines the clues related to the murder of two Jewish men in Dublin in 1923. Books Upstairs, Sun 14 Feb, 3pm.

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Poems Upstairs: Science Meets Poetry

Poetry Ireland's monthly poetry night held at Books Upstairs, Wednesday 2 March, 7pm.

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The North Side

Willie Cumming on the story of North Dublin as the city expanded from 10,000 inhabitants in 1610 to being described as the Second City of the Empire by 1800. Books Upstairs, Sun 28 Feb, 3pm.

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Pass The Palaver

James Joyce, whose birthday we celebrate today, may not have been familiar with the term 'sexual harassment' but he knew the phenomenon. The most common victims in Edwardian Dublin were young women in service, preyed on my middle class men.

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Gie fools their silk, and knaves their wine

At the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth century many people were beginning to take the measure of the parasitical landowning classes. None put it all quite so succinctly as Robert Burns, born on this day in 1759.

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People In Glass Houses

Fingers are being pointed at Hungary and Poland, accusing them of turning their back on European values and breeding an ugly xenophobia and populism. There may be some truth in this, but are they the only places where extreme political forces are thriving?

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Love in the Afternoon

A painful case of 1926, which came to the attention of the Dublin courts, seemed to illustrate the wide gap between Irish middle class morality and the easier and more indulgent ways of the French bourgeoisie.

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Joseph Roth: The Hotel Years

Journalists, according to Frederic Raphael, are the short order chefs of the writing world. With the great Joseph Roth you got more than wedges and coleslaw.

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Can spring be far away?

When icicles hang by the wall and you stop by woods on a snowy evening, it's time for a list of the best poetic celebrations of winter.

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We Three Kings

January 6th: a day to eat king cakes, for women to sit back and put their feet up - sometimes - and for well-meaning men to get their comeuppance

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Costa Section Winners Announced

Like Floyd Mayweather Junior in boxing, Costa poetry winner Don Paterson is not just technically immaculate; he hurts, hitting hard and gifted with a true fighter's armoury of punches.

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More About Mary

Mary Pendarves was a well-connected socialite who was flattered to win the friendship of Dean Swift. Many years after her release from an unhappy marriage she married again, this time happily, to Dr Patrick Delany and the two set up home in a beautiful house on the banks of the Tolka.

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Controlling rents, ensuring supply

In the German rental model there are considerable advantages for those renting, primarily security of tenure and protection against arbitrary increases. There are long-term advantages for landlords too. But principally housing is regarded as a social asset, which ensures citizens are housed.

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Let it all hang out. Not

I was like 'rules matter, clarity matters' and this like 70-year-old professor of linguistics was like 'keep your hair on, you're so uptight, it's about expressing yourself''. Jeez!

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Upper and Not So Upper

Nancy Mitford was one of the famous Mitfords. Her sister Unity fell in love with Hitler and shot herself when war broke out. Nancy's sparkling and mildly satirical novels of class have been reissued by Penguin with new covers that can only be described as spiffing.

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The Politics of Love

Mary Granville, later Mary Pendarves and Mary Delany, was bullied into marriage with an older man aged seventeen for financial reasons: 'I was married with great pomp. Never was woe drest out in gayer colours ...

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New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring Edna O'Brien's new novel The Little Red Chairs; a debut story collection from Danielle McLoughlin; and the second poetry collection from Grace Wells.

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World Literature

Featuring a posthumous selection of short stories by American writer Lucia Berlin; and a paperback edition of Man Booker Prize Winner A Brief History of Seven Killings.

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Irish History & Politics

Featuring a political memoir Inside the Room by Eamon Gilmore, detailing Ireland's recovery from economic crisis.


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World History & Politics

Featuring The Approach of Hunger, a book looking at the issues surrounding why we have failed to address the crisis of hunger in the twenty-first century.

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Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring a book about famous Irish sculptor, John Behan.

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World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring a new memoir from American musician Neil Young.

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Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring an updated edition of No Ordinary Women about the female rebels of 1916; as well as a history of the Abbey Theatre's involvement in the Easter Rising.

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More New Books ...