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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Labour's Scottish Woes

This week's UK election is one of the most uncertain for decades. But one thing is sure: Labour will do disastrously in Scotland. And the likelihood is that that situation will persist until such time as the Scottish party can effectively assert its independence from the English one.
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Cheap and Cheerful

George Orwell thought that paperbacks were a good idea, particularly for the reader. But he also thought publishers and booksellers should combine to suppress them.
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Trollope and Ireland: A Talk

John McCourt, Joycean scholar and chronicler of the Trieste years, will be talking about Anthony Trollope's Irish novels in Books Upstairs, D'Olier Street on Sunday, April 19th.
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Eduardo Galeano: 1940-2015

The Uruguayan writer, journalist and political essayist, who had died aged 74, was an inspirational figure for generations of the Latin American left.
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