Byron in Venice

The great romantic poet found the Adriatic city to be a place where he could indulge both his spiritual and intellectual longings and his more carnal ones.
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Statue-breaking

When an empire ends and a country becomes independent the imperial soldiers leave - but the visible heritage they have left behind is sometimes found to be disturbing or unacceptable.
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Wandering Jews

The late historian Tony Judt rose from a poor London Jewish background to become a world-renowned scholar and political thinker. Would he have achieved the same had he been born in Ireland, where his father shipped up in the 1930s?
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It's the real thing

Colm Toibin's new novel, Nora Webster, has been garnering some very high praise from the critics.
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Speaka Da Eengleesh

Why is it that so much 'excellence' is to be found in the university sector in the English-speaking world, and so little elsewhere?
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A Pot of Gold

Paul Laurence Dunbar was considered the most promising African American writer at the turn of the twentieth century. A musical for which he wrote the lyrics was performed in Dublin 110 years ago.
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Give us your ould Lingo

A spoken word festival, a first for Dublin, comes to the city later this month.
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Siegfried Lenz: 1926-2014

German novelist Siegfried Lenz, who has died aged 88, was a political collaborator of Günter Grass and a champion of reconciliation between Germany and the countries it had devastated in the Second World War.
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It's Poetry: Read it Out Loud

A new anthology of poetry for young people with links to through smartphone or tablet to recordings will make the best Christmas present - evvah.
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Please Mister Postman

The British knew quite a bit in advance about the intentions of the IRB before 1916. One of their most valuable informants was a man called 'Redmond'.
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Love as a principle, order as its base

In advance of the first round of Brazil’s presidential election, Tom Hennigan reflects on the significance of the country’s unusual ‘retro-futurist’ national flag and in particular of its famous motto celebrating order and progress.
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Fighting over the flag

Some sections of unionist opinion fought a rearguard action after Irish independence, though harassed by Sinn Fein in particular. God Save The Queen was sung at the horse show at the RDS even in the late 1940s.
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The thickness of books

Books are a different class of object, argues Toby Munday, profoundly unlike magazines, newspapers, blogs, games or social media sites. They will be damaged if they are treated as if they are the same.
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Are you dancin'? Are you askin'?

You put your right leg in, your right leg out. In, out, in, out. You shake it all about. You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around. That's what it's all about.
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Look at the birds of the air

Gilbert White, an 18th century country parson and naturalist, wrote in sumptuous detail of the animal and bird life he observed around him. Here he is on the varieties of birdsong.
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The Literary Racket

Edgar Allan Poe was resolutely unimpressed by the modus operandi of the press, and in particular those sections of it in which literary opinions were offered and books reviewed.
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Flattering the people

If, as politicians like to assert, the people aren't stupid, why do we have a word for it? Surely it wasn't coined just for Afghan hounds.
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Monkey Business

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu met the divil on the bus. Very freaky.
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Le Fanu's dark imagination

Less well known, but probably a better writer than Bram Stoker, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was born two hundred years ago today.
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More gin for the editor please

William Maginn, who died 170 years ago today, was a child prodigy from Cork who became a brilliant newspaper editor in London. But sadly, the drink got to him.
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