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

Blighted

The disease which arrived in Ireland in the 1840s did not attack humans, yet it led to the death of one million individuals. It was politics, not natural causes, which brought about this catastrophe. A grim twelve decades of consequence followed.
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Eavan Boland 1944-2020

As editor and translator she contributed immensely to the cross-currents of poetic and intellectual exchanges between Ireland, the UK and the US. Her poetry encompasses a view and vision, precarious, troubled, yet also calm, which is also found in the numerous poets she celebrated.
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Italian Diary VIII

And so on he goes, peddling ‘cures’ like some medieval travelling salesman. Let’s not forget the man who died in March in Arizona after consuming fish tank cleaner because Trump had claimed the chloroquine that was in it could be a ‘game-changer’. It was.
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SF and violence: an exchange

John Swift argued in a review in the current issue of the drb that the IRA campaign was a failure. Philip McGarry disagrees, pointing to the current political prominence of Sinn Féin, which he sees as a clear outcome of its strategy of violence. John Swift responds.
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A Timeless Fable

Albert Camus said that Kafka obliges us to read his books twice: once for the literal narrative, and twice for the figurative or allegorical. By that token, writes Ed Vulliamy, his own La Peste cannot be read less than thrice, for it spoke, and still speaks, on three levels: literal, allegorical and universal.
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Friendly Enemies

Colum Kenny, author of a new study of Arthur Griffith, says Yeats was wrong about Lavery’s portrait of Sinn Féin’s founder, whom he described in a poem as staring with ‘hysterical pride’. When it came to personal pride, the poet indeed would have left many others standing.
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Italian Diary VII

When somebody is the president, Donald Trump has said, the authority is total. Does he really believe this? As New York governor Andrew Cuomo reminded him: ‘The president doesn’t have total authority … We don’t have a king.’ But if he were a king, might he be Macbeth?
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Recollections in Tranquillity

Today, April 7th, marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the English poet William Wordsworth. He and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with their book of poems ‘Lyrical Ballads’, were instrumental in launching the Romantic period of English literature.
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Italian Diary VI

‘Red Noses’, a play about the Black Death first performed in London in 1985, featured a team of players touring the plague-affected villages of 14th century France, offering an unusual remedy – ‘peacocks, not ravens, bright stars, not sad comets, red noses, not black death’.
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Cast a Cold Eye

In 1948, at the request of WB Yeats’s widow, George, and with support from Maud Gonne MacBride, an Irish Navy vessel was dispatched to France to bring the body of the poet back for burial in Co Sligo. And there now it lies - or perhaps it may be the body of the Englishman Alfred Hollis.
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Italian Diary V

The order in which we read news of recoveries or deaths in an article can change the tone, and consequently our mood. It is easy to be too upbeat but also to be the opposite. We are walking on very thin ice as Italy attempts to get through this emergency and eventually to exit from it.
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WT*

‘Good authors too who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose,’ was Cole Porter’s observation on falling standards back in 1934. But while they may have written such words in their manuscripts, they still found it hard to get them past their editors.
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Italian Diary IV

Unless we act together the gap between North and South in Europe and between the rich and poor countries risks becoming even wider. The result would be akin to what was inflicted on Greece during the financial crisis, but far, far worse.
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The Prememory of the Pandemic

The world has been taken entirely by surprise by the coronavirus pandemic. It appears as if nothing within living memory could have prepared us for such an unprecedented upheaval. But is that really the case?
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Italian Diary III

The beautiful city of Bergamo in northern Italy was once perhaps best known as the birthplace of opera composer Gaetano Donizetti. Now it is known as the epicentre of the corona virus, with a death registered every half-hour in recent days. Yet even here, there is some hope the tide may soon turn.
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Italian Diary II

Some ask if it is right for the State to shut down its economy because people are dying of a virus. Here in Italy #Covid-19 is killing 8 per cent of those who contract it. What kind of a state or State would we be in if we decided to just attempt business as usual in these circumstances?
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While you’re waiting

If you find you have some time on your hands over the next weeks –or even months – you might take some solace in literary works which deal with crisis and cataclysm, fears of the end of the world or ‘the end of civilisation as we know it’.
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Italian Diary

The number of deaths is increasing daily and although the vast majority of people in Italy are just staying put, working from home as best they can, there are still too many people out and about, going for walks and runs, especially in the cities.
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An Old Man’s Dreams

Whatever we have done, and perhaps even more so whatever we have failed to do, may pursue us through restless nights for many decades after our conscious minds have forgotten all about it.
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Such Beasts

Fables, Seamus Heaney has written, that corpus of tales of innocent or treacherous beasts and birds, were once part of the common oral culture of Europe, a store of folk wisdom as pervasive and unifying at vernacular level as the doctrines of Christianity were in the higher realms of scholastic culture.
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