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

    Reason of Past History

    Brian Earls
    While sympathy for Poland, as the recurring victim of Tsarist repression, was widespread in nineteenth century Europe, in Ireland this assumed an intensity and duration which seems to have been unparalleled elsewhere.
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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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    DUBLIN AT WAR

    Brian Earls
    There has been no collective amnesia in Ireland about the Great War. The event was remembered in Dublin for many decades after it ended, but in terms appropriate to the city's experience of it.
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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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    Blood Relations

    Brian Earls
    Murray’s attitude is, at times, one of barely concealed impatience with the Freudian and other theoretical perspectives which have been brought to bear on his subject. This is a stance which can yield useful correctives, as when he protests against repeated descriptions of Stoker as Anglo-Irish; he had, we are reminded, no connection with Ireland’s landowning grandees, being rather a middle class Dublin Protestant who spoke with a Dublin accent to the end of his days.
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    The Sea of Anecdotes

    Brian Earls
    While this merriment was afoot, I lay on my bunk straining to understand, and to be admitted to some small share of the pleasure which the rest of the company evidently derived from the recitals. At first the rapid flow of speech and varying voices and styles proved impenetrable. The joy of Russian jokes.
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    Ár Scéal Féin

    Brian Earls
    Although the urge to control and condemn was at its most explicit in relation to works dealing with religion and Irish history, it could surface in other contexts. On the prospect of the lower Irish being taught Greek and Roman history, Richard Edgeworth wrote “I have been told that in some schools the Greek and Roman histories have been forbidden: such abridgments as I have seen are certainly improper; to inculcate democracy and a foolish hankering for liberty is not necessary in Ireland.”
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    A Bit of the Same

    Brian Earls
    Mulligan’s insinuations link up with one of the novel’s main themes, the convergence of Bloom and Stephen, when he tells the company how he saw “the sheeny” at the entrance to the library eyeing the backside of a nude female statue.  Bloom’s interest leads him to jump to the conclusion, “I fear me he is Greeker than the Greeks.”  Mulligan has also picked up on Bloom’s interest in Stephen, which he also misinterprets and, in a conflation of his underlying anti-semitism with the homophobia displayed in the National Library scene, warns his friend, “Did you see his eye?  He looked upon you to lust after you … thou art in peril. Get thee a breechpad.”
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    By Reason of Past History

    Brian Earls
    The palpable sense of the dead and living coming together that is the undeclared but unmistakable meaning of the hundreds of candles flickering in the reassuring darkness of Polish graveyards on All Souls’ Night recalls accounts of Samhain given by earlier generations of Irish country people. To which those unimpressed by such a past-centred vision might add that the faults which accompany such perspectives also recur, and that elements of postcommunist Polish discourse recall the introspective Ireland of earlier decades.
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