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

    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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    OLD SHERRY UNCORKED

    David Askew
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan acted on two major stages: the theatre and parliament. Older narratives tended to examine as separate categories the fertile playwright years of Sheridan’s youth and the barren political era of his decline. But such versions have come to be rejected in favour of an emphasis on an inherent continuity throughout the life.
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    One Part Prescient, Five Parts Puerile

    David Askew
    Highly promiscuous, he was unfaithful to all his women, and never – quite – managed to love anyone else as much as he loved himself. He was chauvinistic and seemed to have very little respect for women – Rebecca West was informed of her duties “as a custodian of genius” – “You have to take care of me and have me fed and peaceful and comfortable.” He was puffed up with a sense of importance that his considerable abilities did not quite justify, and had an unpleasant proclivity to explode into furious rage at the smallest imagined slight.
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    Not Pulling Punches

    David Askew
    As Swift knew, his complex irony can be challenging. He was aware that he had often been misunderstood, to his own detriment. Looking back on his own life, he concluded that “Had he but spar’d his Tongue and Pen, / He might have rose like other Men”. His irony, Hammond observes, “sometimes seems to saw through the branch of religious orthodoxy upon which he tried to perch”.
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    Fugitive Pleasures

    David Askew
    These then are the lives Hastings tackles – those of playwright, short story virtuoso and novelist, traveller, millionaire art collector, exile, homosexual, secret agent and unhinged old man. Maugham had a long life – he published his first books while Queen Victoria was on the throne, and at least one of his lovers, David Posner, lived long enough to die of AIDS in 1985.
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