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

    Towards the Light

    John Saunders
    A diagnosis of schizophrenia was once regarded as ‘the kiss of death’. However we now know that with effective and multiple interventions people with even the most acute condition can make a significant recovery and contribute to their community as valued citizens.
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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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    Bands of Brothers

    Marc Mulholland
    The Third International, or Comintern, maintained for many years a vast international organisation none of its left-wing rivals could match. When the purges came in the 1930s, however, its members suffered to a proportionately greater extent than any other category.
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    An Unknown Kingdom

    Joe Woods
    The Burmese poet Ko Ko Thett, now living in Belgium, has garnered high praise for his work, particularly from the high priest of American experimentalist poetry John Ashberry, who has characterised his verse as ‘brilliantly off-kilter’.
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    A Time In Between

    Éadaoín Lynch
    A Time In Between
    The writers of the 1940s were paralysed by the sense that those who had gone before them and experienced the Great War had said everything there was to say about war and the pity of war.
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    Down Under

    George O’Brien
    Down Under
    Peter Carey’s Ned Kelly is Irish not in a straightforward or obvious way but is rather a metonymy for the citizen-outlier, the alternative history, the exemplary failure, the heroic victim, the road that is not just not travelled but is not on the map.
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    Beyond Belief

    Tom Hennigan
    Beyond Belief
    Gabriel García Márquez emerged explosively as a new international name in the 1960s with a novel stuffed with the baroque and the fantastic, which sought to translate the scope of America.
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    What’s funny?

    Máirtín Coilféir
    There have been many attempts to define the essence of humour but it seems to be a little too complex and wide-ranging to be captured by any single theory.
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    Selective Memories

    Martin Maguire
    Selective Memories
    In the business of commemoration tensions are to be expected between the practices of the academy, the demands of the state and the expectations of individuals and groups on how each and every significant date is marked, or not marked.
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    Varieties of Modernity

    Paul Gillespie
    Relations between capitalism and the state have been crucial in Europe. Both, accommodating to claim-making from civil society, gave this model a distinctive concern with social solidarity.
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    The Curator of Chiaroscuro

    Sean Sheehan
    Sebastião Salgado’s latest book of photographs represents nature more as a New Age dream of harmony rather than the random mayhem and violent contingency it actually is.
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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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    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 Meaning of Ryanair

    Michael Cronin
    Orwell got it wrong. It is not governments but banks, insurance companies, pension funds and low-cost airlines, the raucous cheerleaders of deregulation, that oppress and stupefy us with a network of small and baffling rules.
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    The Gentleman Naturalist

    David Askew
    Charles Darwin’s theories of natural selection and evolution have weathered well and he cannot be held responsible for those who have developed a repugnant politics on the back of a vulgarisation of them.
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    One Book, Two Cities

    Tom Wall
    James Plunkett’s classic novel reminds us of a society in which the poorest lived in the most appalling and hopeless conditions and the middle and upper classes were barely conscious of their existence.
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    A Millionaire of Words

    Morten Høi Jensen
    Joyce’s funny, moving and infuriating masterpiece should send us, not into the cold and sterile embrace of the examination room, but out again into the warm and throbbing world.
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    Trompe l’Oeil

    Keith Payne
    All is very far from what it seems in a literary mystery novel by poet Ciaran Carson set in Belfast and Paris.
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    1916 As Spectacle

    Angus Mitchell
    In an age when martyrdom is demonised and tagged with notions of fanaticism and people are reluctant to protest for a cause let alone die for one, 1916 presents an easy target.

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    The Wild Harvest

    Cormac Ó Gráda
    Before the inexorable advance of the conifer, the picking of wild berries on Irish hillsides often provided a welcome seasonal boost in income for poorer rural families.
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    Street Smart

    Fintan Vallely
    Lyrics have been defined as short poems written to the accompaniment of a musical instrument, but should Paul Muldoon’s lyrics be judged primarily as poems or as songs?
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    Sacred Egoist

    Michael McDonald
    The Italian critic and editor Roberto Calasso enjoys a considerable reputation among the literary-critical elite, but how much substance or originality is there in his anti-rational musings?
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    Not telling

    Maureen O’Connor
    Edna O’Brien’s memoir refuses to satisfy our curiosity or submit to the demands for interpretation. She has fought others’ desire for control from childhood, and in her eighties is still fighting.
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    A Jig in the Poorhouse

    Breandán Mac Suibhne
    A quarter of a century ago it was stated that no serious academic historian takes seriously any more the claim of genocide in relation to Britain’s role in the Famine. It may be time to debate that assertion again.
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    The Big D

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Christopher Hitchens was famously sceptical of the claims of religious thinkers, yet faced with dying he exhibited a defiant faith in the capacities of medical science to block the course of nature, a faith not sustained by much evidence.
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    Three Presences

    Denis Donoghue
    Yeats, Eliot and Pound were the three dominant figures in the remaking of early twentieth century English poetry. Though they managed to maintain friendships, each of them was, to a significant degree, deaf to rhythms other than their own.
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    A Famine Document

    Laurence M Geary
    In April 1847 a vessel departed from Charlestown naval yard with eight hundred tons of relief supplies for the people of the city and county of Cork, paid for by the people of Boston and other towns in Massachusetts.
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    Neither Here Nor There

    Amy Wilson Sheldon
    Sherman Alexie writes of the lives of Washington state’s native Americans, who frequently do not feel quite at home either in Seattle or in the Indian reservations where many of them have roots.
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    Catholic Truth

    Brian Trench
    The teaching of science was often a difficult matter in Irish Catholic educational institutions and respected thinkers could sometimes be met by flawed, incoherent and ignorant polemic.
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    Keepable Sentences

    Kevin Stevens
    An interview with American novelist Kent Haruf, whose stories of the high plains of Colorado, with their plain but perfectly crafted style and exacting verisimilitude, achieve a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction
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    HIDING IRELAND

    John Minahane
    A new history of the English-approved aristocracy of Ireland in the seventeenth century shows remarkable command of official sources but reads as if the other Ireland, that is the vast majority, scarcely existed.
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    Casement’s War

    Jeff Dudgeon
    Roger Casement’s sojourn in Germany is hugely significant for Ireland and England, and especially apposite now the 1914-16 centenary years are approaching.
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    The Inishowen Oracle

    Tom Wall
    John Toland, born into Gaelic-speaking north Donegal in the late seventeenth century, became an important controversialist, deist, pantheist and passionate anti-cleric.
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    Debating the Nation

    John Swift

    An anthology of the most important Dáil debates of the last sixty years covers vital economic matters, Northern Ireland and the nation’s ongoing difficulties with matters of sexual morality and their consequences.
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    Made in China

    Luna Dolezal
    Dave Eggers’s beautifully written new novel offers a melancholy and dreamlike portrait of America in decline.
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    Getting Beyond No

    Connal Parr

    There are stirrings in Ulster Loyalist groupings which may, if they mature, disprove the old cliché that Northern Protestants have no culture other than the Orange Order and Rangers football club.
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    To the Manor Born

    Terry Eagleton
    Big Houses may mean culture and civility, but they are also at the nub of a whole system of property, labour and production and engage the hard-headed qualities of the gentry as well as its more high-minded impulses.
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    Power and the People

    Tom Hennigan
    A new book on the Latin American left asks profound questions about the quality of societies being constructed and comes up with a fascinating portrait of left-wing administrations seeking to balance their supporters’ demands with the dictates of market orthodoxy.
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    Interrupted Lives

    Gerald Dawe
    Fate dealt harshly with both JG Farrell and Stewart Parker, two hugely gifted Irish writers who died in their forties

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    Oscar Wilde and the Irish

    Brian Earls
    Far from being a marginal figure in independent Ireland, Wilde was viewed with considerable interest and good will.
    This is the second of a two-part series tracking Oscar Wilde’s reputation in Ireland from his “disgrace” in 1895 to the present.
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    Oscar and the Irish

    Brian Earls
    A history of Oscar Wilde’s reputation in Ireland is uplifting and rhetorically adroit. But perhaps we should also ask if it is true.
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    War, Death and Hubris

    Edward Burke
    The British are good at remembering their history in Afghanistan, but then so are the Afghans. The two versions are irreconcilable.
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    Sharp Mind, Sharp Tongue

    Éamon Ó Cléirigh
    Hugh Trevor-Roper was an historian of exceptional gifts, but some wondered why he needed to spend so much time hating people.
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    Theories of Everything

    Paschal Donohoe
    Markets on their own will neither guarantee their own continuation nor broader societal prosperity. They rely on inclusive and adaptable political institutions, which in turn are created by political choices.
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    The Opening to Others

    Manus Charleton
    Believers make use of  supernatural stories to give detailed content to and make more tangible the sense of openness to the transcendent, openness to strangers.
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    Soundtrack to the Century

    Kevin Stevens

    For fifty years, Duke Ellington was America’s most important and innovative musical figure, achieving distinction as a composer, arranger, songwriter, bandleader and pianist, and writing and producing timeless music of every kind.
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    Exuberantly Pluralist

    Paul Delaney
    George O’Brien’s impressive survey of fifty years of the Irish novel is inclusive, eclectic and insistently diverse.

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    Madwomen in the Attic

    Lauren Hadden
    A novelistic exploration of Miss Havisham before Dickens got hold of her irresistibly recalls Jean Rhys’s brilliant work in the classic prequel genre.

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    The Barbarians Strike

    John Swift
    The so-called Night of the Broken Glass, which the Hitler government represented as a spontaneous irruption of anger, was a cynical and carefully choreographed attack on Germany’s Jewish population with the aim of demoralising them and despoiling them of their possessions.
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    ‘A Full Life, A Good End’

    Liam Hennessy
    Whatever about questions of mandate or democratic legitimacy, the bravery of the insurgents who fought in 1916, and of those who were executed for their role as leaders of the Rising, is beyond dispute.
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    They fly so high ... They fade and die

    Michael O'Sullivan
    As we try to recover from the bubble and bust we might ask whether we as a nation take more risks than others, or to what extent gambling is an entrenched characteristic of the Irish.
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    As Fresh as a Cliché

    Paula McGrath

    We strive for originality, but perhaps old phrases should, like Mae West’s discarded lovers, be given a new chance with someone else.
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    Strong Hand, Beloved Leader

    Maurice Earls

    A hoard of letters written by Germans to Hitler show a people keen to abdicate their responsibility and infantilise themselves, but they do not indicate any great enthusiasm for either Nazi ideology or territorial aggression.

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    Labour Waits

    Padraig Yeates

    Irish socialism was divided and weak in the early decades of the twentieth century, while the axis of trade union solidarity ran through Dublin and Merseyside, not Dublin, Belfast and Cork.
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    Celebrating Uncertainty

    Patrick Lonergan
    What emerges clearly is a sense of Friel’s international importance. A chapter comparing him to Osborne and Storey liberates his plays from some of the confines that Irish scholarship restricts him to, showing clearly the universal significance of his work.
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    Just Make Do

    Tom Inglis
    With the slow death of God and religion, and the unsatisfactory nature of philosophy or what postmodernists call grand narratives, the beauty and pleasure of everyday life may be the only thing people can hold onto.
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    AN IMPERIAL MEDIEVALIST

    Nicola Gordon Bowe
    A collection of essays pays timely tribute to one of the greatest scholars that Ireland has ever produced.
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    INSURRECTIONISTS AND SKIRMISHERS

    Maurice Earls

    When you lose in politics there is a tendency for others ‑ particularly the young ‑ to question, if not denounce, your tactics. Notwithstanding the impressive list of achievements and concessions won by O’Connell over thirty-odd years, his ending was an example of the dictum that all political careers end in failure.
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    SYRIA'S UPRISING

    Mary Russell

    Concord between various ethnic groups in Syria appeared evident until acts of obscene violence began to be carried out by both the regime and anti-regime forces. But few people in the future will want to live alongside those they suspect of destroying their homes and families.
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    ADDLED BY BOOKS

    Morten Høi Jensen
    Enrique Vila-Matas plays some complex games with literature and characters yet any threat of heaviness is redeemed by his assured comic touch and fine sense of the ridiculous.
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    THE HOUSE OF CARDS

    Aengus Woods

    László Krasznahorkai's novels are balanced between a precarious inertia and total collapse. The animating tension of his work resides not, as is the case in more conventional novels, in questions of who did what or what happens next, but in the question of what such a total collapse might look like, given the pervading sense of its inevitability.
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    Tickled To Death

    Enda O'Doherty

    "The barons of the media, with their red-topped assassins, are the biggest beasts in the modern jungle. They have no predators. They are untouchable. They laugh at the law; they sneer at Parliament. They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality. Prime ministers quail before them, and that is how they like it."



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    The Thing That Never Was

    Frank Callanan
    The casting of John Redmond in the role of scapegoat was not without functional advantage in Irish politics. That partition could in some degree be treated as a fait accompli for which responsibility rested with the Irish party in a limited but crucial degree defused the issue in domestic Irish politics. It must be considered to have assisted pro-Treaty Sinn Féin to persuade a majority of the Irish people to accept the Treaty in 1922. The price was a strain of evasion and disingenuousness in the politics of the independent Irish state in relation to the basis for partition and in attitudes towards the Northern Ireland state.
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    States and Nations

    Bill Kissane
    Yet differences also stand out. In Northern Ireland Catholic political disaffection was reinforced by material inequality. Protestant alienation from the southern state’s Catholic ethos was mitigated by a relatively strong position in commercial and professional life.
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    Getting To The Triangle

    Liam Hennessy
    Citing mostly late nineteenth century and early/mid-twentieth century clinicians, he argues that there are only three mutually exclusive pathological mental structures: neurosis, psychosis and perversion. The difference between neurosis and psychosis lies in the degree of certainty with which beliefs are held by the patient. Neurotics tend to doubt, psychotics are more certain.
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    Champion Of The Poor

    Nicola Gordon Bowe
    He was able to make the 1860 Adulteration of Food Act work to stem the addition of red lead, strychnine, sand, plaster of Paris and mercury to basic diets, to prevent narcotics and hallucinogenics being added to popular drinks, and polluted water and salt being added to milk. According to his own reckoning, no less than eight million pounds of contaminated food was detected, analysed and condemned during his time as public analyst.
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    The History of the Last Atrocity

    John M Regan
    In 1920, as again in 1970, the British constitution shattered in Ireland, where servants of the Crown resorted to extra-legal means –torture, reprisal, murder   to restore order. It is only by understanding those contexts that we begin to make sense of, as opposed to describing, the terrors accompanying collapses. The victims’ stories are always heartrending and should be explored. But devoid of context, biographies say little that is historical, as opposed to newsworthy.
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    Fighting With Shadows

    Brian Earls
    This equation of the county with mindless violence and chaos has long since been forgotten, and Tipperary has become one of the most respectable of Irish counties, because qualities which Victorian commentators asserted were intrinsic to the Irish character were not but had their origin in the landlord-tenant relationship and faded with the waning of landlord power.
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    An Inch From The Everyday

    Kevin Stevens
    Ford’s narrators get into our ears. A master of first person narrative, he creates observers who are lyrical and philosophical yet confused; situated outside the principal action but profoundly affected by it; urged on by a desire for engagement with life but consistently puzzled by and fearful of the world’s random give and take. The lilt and tone and hesitancy of these voices lure us into their owners’ lives.
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    The Truth Teller

    Carol Taaffe
    Casement’s achievement was to observe and to testify, proving that the gross myths and exaggerations reaching Europe about these places were not gross myths and exaggerations at all. There is some irony in that. The cruelty which this novel underlines is that the life of Roger Casement -  a great documentarian, a man who exposed atrocious truths -   was to become forever synonymous with myth and distortion.
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    Having a Wonderful Time

    David McKechnie
    Hemingway himself describes the events to his family several weeks later, although in retrospect he would admit not remembering what had happened: “The 227 wounds I got from the trench mortar didn’t hurt a bit at the time, only my feet felt like I had rubber boots full of water on ... I kind of collapsed at the dug out. The Italian I had with me had bled all over my coat and my pants looked like somebody had made current jelly in them and then punched holes to let the pulp out.”
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    The Trials of Ulysses

    Joseph M Hassett
    John Butler Yeats recognised in Joyce “an intense feeling for what is actual and true” and saw that “[t]he whole movement against Joyce and his terrible veracity, naked and unashamed, has its origin in the desire of people to live comfortably, and, that they may live comfortably, to live superficially”.
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    A House Built on Sand

    Philip O’Connor and Pat Muldowney
    The RTÉ programme ignored most of the relevant documentary sources. It later claimed that its argument – that the Coolacrease incident was sectarian murder in pursuance of a land grab in a context of widespread sectarian ethnic cleansing by the Irish independence movement – was proven by Land Commission documents which it had in its possession. The authors of Coolacrease examined the Land Commission records and there are no such documents in existence. The programme’s thesis is wholly unsupported by the available evidence.
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    Never Say Die

    Tom Cooney
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