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

Flash Fiction

There are things you can do when your husband sleeps with your sister. You can sit in your studio and imagine them together, the toad and the mouse. Him moving over her. Her on top of him. You can hear dark skin slap against honey skin; you can hear moans. But he is your toad and she is your mouse – your Diego and your Cristina – so you drown those thoughts because they bring more tears than a blood-letting.
Sep 14, 2011, 17:27 PM

How Firm A Foundation?

John-Paul McCarthy
Milch is offering a dramatic version of the phenomenon assessed in Mark S Schantz’s study of how evangelical Protestantism saturated nineteenth century American life and created a powerful culture of death, which actually provoked and sustained the war. A vision of heaven that literally restored bodies to wholeness may have been powerfully compelling to men who were asked for the last full measure of devotion in the 1860s. A great curtain of death hangs over Deadwood too. But there are drinks to be served.
Feb 3, 2010, 18:09 PM

Foreign Devils

David McNeill
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, thousands of Christian converts and missionaries were executed, some of them crucified. In 1637-8, the government suppressed a rebellion of Catholic Samurai warriors and peasants with great brutality and drove the remaining Christians underground. Suspected converts to the hated foreign contagion were forced to recant or face excruciating death by anazuri   being hung upside down and bled over a pit.
Dec 11, 2010, 19:06 PM

Can’t Go On

Martin McGarry
Although Dutch was the majority language in the north of the Belgian state established in 1830-31, it was dominated by French-speaking elites. This was so even in Dutch-speaking regions. There had been some French influence there, in the west in particular, since medieval times; in the eighteenth century, however, “the nobility and the upper middle classes came to regard French as the cultured language par excellence”, with the Dutch language acquiring “a mark of social inferiority”.
Dec 4, 2008, 17:07 PM

Harvesting Souls For The Lord

Niall Meehan
In 1916 Revd JW Tristram summed up his early thoughts in the Church of Ireland’s Irish Church Quarterly in opposition to “The late Rebellion”: “When Irish people learn to rise early, tell the truth, use soap and water more freely, think more modestly of themselves and exercise individual independence in thought, speech and action, there may be some hope for the country, but certainly not before.”
Jun 1, 2011, 13:21 PM

The Good Statesman

Michael Lillis
My work meant that I travelled fairly frequently with Garret and Joan and he would often extend an invitation to dinner. These affairs were always convivial but also intellectually stimulating occasions. In private I found him to be extraordinarily humble about himself, often disclaiming any expertise about matters on which he was much better informed than the rest of us. He listened to the opinions and concerns of literally every person, no matter how lowly he or she might feel themselves to be.
Jun 5, 2011, 13:44 PM

Bridges From The Past

Maurice Earls
Jun 1, 2007, 18:05 PM

Guilty Truant

Seamus O’Mahony
A biography of the celebrated writer and director Jonathan Miller finds a man who has never forgiven himself for abandoning his first career in medicine.
Feb 11, 2013, 08:53 AM

The High Road

John McAuliffe
Chief among them is Mnemosyne Lay in Dust (1966), a book - length sequence which can be read as an autobiographical account of a breakdown and as a response to the chaotic and destructive emergence of the new state.These poems' grotesque humiliations and their refusals to mythologise their protagonists or console them with larger narratives of redemption should be seen to define post-Yeatsian Irish literature as much as Joyce or Beckett or McGahern.
Mar 1, 2009, 16:23 PM

Must Do Better

Michael Casey
The banks made supernormal profits and knew that if they ever got into trouble the taxpayer would bail them out. This was a wonderfully easy way of making big money. There were hardly any risks involved as far as bank executives were concerned. Fraud may technically be a crime in this country but it is impossible to prove. It is like the modern theology of hell: it exists as a concept but no one actually goes there.
Mar 6, 2011, 18:28 PM

Our Man in Bohemia

Fin Keegan
His protagonists are wanderers, usually bohemian, invariably troubled, following their distant star across oceans, into deserts, through the orbit of violence and evil or madness, then on into the depths of almost certain obscurity. They live, for the most part, in the contemporary world, consuming books and encountering friends and lovers, but their dedication to art seems anachronistic, more of a piece with the romantics, surrealists, or beat poets.
Dec 4, 2010, 19:15 PM

Destroyed by Art

Susan Lanigan
Sep 2, 2007, 18:15 PM

Back To Basics

Enda O’Doherty
It is one of the weaknesses of Judt’s position – and a symptomatic one – that he never addresses the question of affordability. “Even in social democratic Norway”, he complains, failure to demonstrate that one is seeking work can be grounds for losing benefit. Judt obviously find this a deplorable state of affairs but has no interest in asking why some people might have felt it was necessary – even in social democratic Norway. Indeed throughout the book he exhibits all the fastidious distaste for questions of money one might expect from an old-school professor in the humanities, even going so far at one point as to suggest that the only conceivable purpose of teaching business studies to undergraduates must be to extinguish the naturally altruistic feelings of the young.
Sep 11, 2011, 17:18 PM

A Sentimental Dissenter

Barra Ó Seaghdha
Jan 2, 2007, 17:44 PM

Flash Fiction Winners

The Dublin Review of Books is pleased to announce the winners of the first drb Flash Fiction Competition and to thank the authors of the 167 stories submitted from around the world. The prize for the winning story is €1,000.

The winner is Sheilagh Foley for her story Stage Fright. The two runners up are Brigid O’Connor for Girls Can’t Fish and Penny Jones for A Note on the Borrowing of your Home. Special thanks to our judges: James Ryan and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne.

Sep 6, 2010, 19:35 PM

History As A Moral Tale

Barra Ó Seaghdha
A foundation document of Irish historical revisionism, written in 1966 but not published until six years later, may not be quite what it seems to be.
Nov 19, 2012, 16:46 PM

Parsing Irish Paralysis

Terence Killeen
Dec 2, 2007, 19:55 PM

The Chinese Playboy

Antony Tatlow
Since the Chinese production includes so much sexual display, we have to wonder whether it might not be deliberately, or even unconsciously, a Chinese Playboy version of Synge’s “Western World”. At the very least, we must wonder to what extent the accumulation of sexually charged allusions affects an interpretation of the performance? To answer this, we need to consider changes of expectation within contemporary Chinese culture, the earlier norms of representation within the People’s Republic and the nature of the imaginative world in Chinese society today.
Jun 8, 2008, 20:16 PM

In the Dialectical Fairyland

Judith Devlin
Denis Healey once quipped of Shirley Williams that she needn’t think herself an intellectual just because she had a bad hairdo: Zhemchuzhina would have agreed. Unlike the dishevelled and independent-minded feminists of the Old Bolshevik milieu, by the mid-1930s women in the upper echelons of Stalinist society subscribed to the quasi-bourgeois style that became de rigueur: servants, nail varnish, lipstick and good works   patronising factory workers, teaching them good manners and instilling, inter alia, a love of art and of the leader.
Dec 12, 2010, 19:09 PM


John Bradley
A fixation on short term gain led to our economic collapse. Now it's time to focus on the real economy, where the fundamentals are still sound.
Oct 23, 2012, 20:14 PM