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

Poisoned Apple

Martin O’Malloney

Claims that the European Commission is picking on little Ireland in the Apple taxation case fail to take into account that we are talking about the richest company in the world. Ireland will also ignore at its peril the rising tide of popular indignation over wholesale tax avoidance by multinationals.

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The Backward Look

The Backward Look

Pádraig Murphy

The Russians, according to Svetlana Alexievich, are a people of misfortune and suffering whose best moments have come with war. Following the failed experiment to drive an entire nation ‘with an iron hand to happiness’, the people no longer have the culture of happiness or the taste for a joyful life.

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The New Souperism

The New Souperism

John Horgan

Irish parents are often forced to have their children participate in a form of religious observance in which they themselves do not believe in exchange for educational and social benefits. We once called this souperism. And the current shabby compromise designed to confuse the unwary could best be described as souperism lite.

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A Postmodern Disease

Seamus O’Mahony

Up to 1 per cent of the population may have coeliac disease but many more have self-diagnosed themselves as gluten-sensitive. Is gluten sensitivity based on any scientific evidence or is it the product of a misalliance between academic medicine and commerce?

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Storied Women

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado

A companion volume to Sinéad Gleeson’s ‘The Long Gaze Back’ charts the unique tradition of short fiction by women from the North of Ireland. Gleeson traces its historical arc from the turn of the century to the present and includes fifteen new stories by contemporary authors.

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A Necessary Restitution

Billy Mills

The English poets of the 1940s, sandwiched between Auden, Spender, MacNeice and the main poets of the 1930s and the later development of ‘the Movement’, tend to be overlooked today. The publication of  a collected poems of one important figure, Terence Tiller, is very welcome.

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The Truth and Colonel McGrath

Tom Wall

By the closing stages of World War Two, the Germans had assembled a substantial number of hostages, ranging from Allied army intelligence officers to rebels against Nazism, to politicians from defeated countries or former allies. Among them was an Irishman from Co Roscommon.

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The Past Remains

Piotr Florczyk

Visitors to Ukrainian Lviv, once Polish Lwów, once Austro-Hungarian Lemberg, will find that while cultures and peoples and languages can be overwritten by others, often violently, they may reappear years later, to stand as evidence to the fact that complete erasure is never possible.

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Private Places

Kelly E Sullivan

A study of the idea of domestic space in Northern Irish poetry offers fresh perspectives on poems long in the public eye, finding new meaning in key works by Heaney, Longley, Mahon and McGuckian. One of its great virtues is its perfectly tuned affinity with the poets it deals with.

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Not So Very Different

Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke

There can at times be an attention-seeking particularism about Irish writing - look at us, and at how unique and how very interesting we are. But in terms of our post-independence economic history we are much like many comparable peripheral European states, with similar failures and similar successes.


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Descent into Darkness

Magdalena Kay

Heaney’s Virgil certainly contains some of the verbal exuberance we associate with him, but some may wonder why there is not more. But Virgil’s Latin is known for its poetic decorum, which Heaney wishes to preserve rather than challenge. His aim is not to confound but to celebrate.

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Philosophy on the Boulevard

Manus Charleton

The bloom of Existentialism may have faded today - though its presence is still felt in literary work - but fifty years ago every fashionable person wanted to learn about it, the Establishment fretted about it, and almost every journalist seemed to be using it to make a living.

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Steady As She Goes

John Mulqueen

From 1987 to the intoxicating highs of the Celtic Tiger, peaking in 2008, then crashing, there would be one political certainty in Ireland: most voters would choose a mainstream party in a general election. Even in 2011, the three established parties still dominated the scene.

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Sign Language

John Fleming

In his celebrated 1959 work ‘Mythologies’, Roland Barthes handed the reader a torch with which to illuminate for himself the semantic corners of his personal world. Peter Conrad, in his ‘tales for our times’, walks in the steps of the master and proves himself an entirely worthy successor.

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Knock, knock

John Bradley

Politicians sometimes consider that facing up to the consequences of their mistakes entitles them to be regarded as brave. But in the case of the Irish crash the warnings were there long before 2008. Hell was at the gates and the banging getting louder, but no one was listening.

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Ghost Frequencies

Bryan Fanning

Immediately a man dies for what he believes, Robert Lynd wrote after the death of Pearse, everything he has said or written assumes a new value and his words seem mysteriously laden with meaning, a ghostly bequest in regard to which we do not feel quite free to play the critic.

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The Critic as Colleague

John Swift

The exemplary career of Irish broadcaster Andy O’Mahony illustrates the role that can be played by the critic in the public sphere. Standing beside the novelist and the poet, he or she illuminates experience through texts, as the others do through plot and character or rhythm and metaphor.

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Against Liberalism

Gordon Warren

In the newly independent Ireland of the 1920s, the Jesuit social theorist Edward Cahill argued strongly for the adoption of specifically Catholic principles in government, as well as resistance to what he saw as the corrosive effects of an unwanted legacy of British liberalism.

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When All Our Gold Was Gorse

Gerard Smyth

Thomas McCarthy, as poet and thinker, is a defender of the past against the more crass aspects of modernity. He speaks from a wise understanding of the Ireland that has evolved from de Valera’s country of long summers to one where we try to read the runes from Berlin or Brussels. 

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Ronan Fanning: 1941-2017

Michael Lillis

Ronan Fanning was of course known as one of the most distinguished historians of his generation. But he also played an important part behind the scenes in preparing the ground diplomatically for the peace process in Ireland.

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The Myths of Brexit

James Harpur

The political battle in Britain was fought at a mythic level, and the image of the golden age, with its appeal to the restoration of national identity, triumphed. But only just. The Remainers foolishly failed to paint their vision in mythic oils, preferring the pointillism of practical details.

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Into Their Own

Caroline Hurley

A substantial bilingual English-Irish anthology that breaks new ground with its critical survey of modern Irish poetry takes up where Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella left off with their pioneering 1981 selection ‘An Dunaire 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed’.

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The Mad Muse

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

An eccentric comic novel by a promising young Irish writer is stylistically ambitious, difficult and truly original. It’s a wonder it got published at all.

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The View from the Hill

Michael Halpenny

Based on an array of Irish and British contemporary sources, including papers and photographs from private collections, a new study of the revolutionary years in Howth and neighbouring communities combines academic rigour with the pace of an adventure story.

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The Kingdom of Water

Enda Wyley

A new collection from Noel Duffy sees his verse branch off from the more lyrical and autobiographical work of previous volumes to exhibit greater experimentation in form and theme, with subject matter ranging from physics and thermodynamics, to nature to individual lives.

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Proof or Imagination?

Frank MacGabhann

A new book on Casement’s Black Diaries refuses to consider the possibility that these were a forgery. One sad consequence of the focus on whether Casement was or was not a homosexual and engaged in predatory acts is that it detracts from his hugely important work as a humanitarian.

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That’s It, Folks

John Fanning

The last book from the late German sociologist Ulrich Beck offers a grim prognosis for our future as a society, with traditional political institutions helpless before the power of capital and the reactions of right and left devoid of intellectual content, functioning only to let off steam.

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Webs of Meaning

Mary P Corcoran

We manage our existence largely by conferring meaning on the world around us. World views play a significant role in motivating humans to engage in purposeful actions and our beliefs and dispositions have a shaping role in the constitution of society, broadly defined.

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There Shall Be Blood

Mary O’Doherty

Mentions of blood across the millennia are cited in a new medical history and the role of the microscope in the study of blood is recounted from the discovery of the lens itself through to early developments in its manufacture.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The Way We Die

Seamus O'Mahony, a gastroenterologist based in Cork, is one of the most prolific of contributors to this review. His well-received study of the medicalisation of death has just been published in paperback.

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Tzvetan Todorov: 1939-2017

The Franco-Bulgarian thinker and writer had a long career as literary theorist, historian of ideas, political thinker and art historian. He retained throughout his life a deep commitment to democracy and a free and tolerant society.

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A Modest Proposal

In petitioning for a second wife, George Orwell did not oversell the goods, noting that he was quite old and a bit of a crock. Still, surely someone somewhere must have wanted to become the widow of a significant literary man.

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You Have To Laugh

In Stalin's Russia an ill-judged joke could land you in the Gulag. Later on jokes could still be dangerous but were also in a sense a safety valve, a relatively harmless way for the downtrodden to let off steam.

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In the Bleak Midwinter

In the winter of 1784 in East Hampshire, it got so cold, the naturalist Gilbert White observed, that the cats became electrified.

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Right to the Bitter End

Asked what books he read, Donald Trump replied that he read chapters - chapters of what is not recorded. But should we feel guilty if we don't finish every book we start?

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The Revolution Eats Its Children

When you play with men, some of them get eaten, Napoleon said. The French leftist Régis Debray was convinced that some of his revolutionary friends got eaten by the Cuban revolution – for reasons of state.

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John Montague: 1929-2016

The New York-born poet wrote a moving poem of memory of the small place in which he was brought up by relations in a remote part of Co Tyrone.

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A Painful Case

In 1941, German Jewish mother and daughter refugees Margarete and Irene Brann decided to end their lives in London. The mother died but the daughter survived, and was charged with her mother's murder. On this day 75 years ago she was sentenced to hang.

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Ah Go On

Samuel Beckett was famous for his gloominess, but also on many occasions seemed able to express it in a way that makes us laugh. Is there a contradiction here, or not?

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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.

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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.

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The Bully

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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World Literature

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

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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.

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World History & Politics

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

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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More New Books ...