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

    Them and Us

    Martin Tyrrell
    A classic experiment in social psychology and group antagonism now looks as if it was manipulated to produce the results required by the preceding theory. That doesn’t, however, mean the theory is wrong: if people grow up in a culture of us against them, that’s the society we will get.
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    The Hardest Problem

    Martin Greene
    Joyce drew on his theories in creating Leopold and Molly Bloom. Freud thought he was ‘highly gifted but sexually deranged’. Wittgenstein thought he was ‘great’, though one couldn’t agree with him, while Strindberg thought he had solved the hardest problem, the problem of women.
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    The Voice in the Ear

    Manus Charleton
    Conscience, Hamlet felt, could make cowards of us all. Nietzsche agreed, seeing it as a conspiracy to rein in the strong and free-spirited. And yet it is those moved by conscience, human rights activists, dissidents in totalitarian societies, whom we see as holding up a light for a better world.
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    A Line Made By Reading

    Chris Arthur
    Can reading rewire the psyche, leave an impression that’s permanent, or is it no more than something of the moment, its impact evaporating as soon as we disengage the reading eye? Is a line made by a lifetime’s reading laid down indelibly or can it be erased?
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    The Ascent of Women

    Ann Kennedy Smith

    ‘The average standard of mental power in man must be above that of women,’ Charles Darwin asserted. The opinion was perhaps surprising given the number of talented and active women he knew personally, as well as the wide-ranging social disadvantages they faced as a sex. Women working in the fields of botany, entomology and education often corresponded with the great scientist. 


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    Not So Simple

    Declan O’Driscoll
    When a narrator declares her boredom and indifference, the danger is that this will be met with a responding yawn from an equally uninvolved reader. What maintains interest in Joanna Walsh’s work is the quality of the writing and the honesty of the insights.
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    Let’s Shop

    Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin
    ‘Consumer culture’ may not be as new as we think it is. Consider the ordinary Venetian oar-maker who left his widow forty-three shirts, twenty-five sheets, sixty-three tablecloths and napkins and 105 pewter plates in 1633.  And what does Harrods’ offering of a hundred models of briar pipe tell us about the consumption patterns of London gentlemen in the 1890s?
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    Solace and Silliness

    Keith Payne
    As a poet, Iggy McGovern celebrates certainties - the certainty of the slow ticking of a public house clock, ‘a quarter-hour ahead’, the certainty of scientific exploration, of a life clearly recalled, the certainty of the BBC Home Service and of course, the certainty of ageing.
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    Not So Very Different

    Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke
    There can at times be an attention-seeking particularism about Irish writing – look at us, we like to say, look how unique, and how very interesting, we are. When I was a boy, we were taught that post-independence Ireland was poor but uniquely virtuous. Today we are taught that it was poor and uniquely wicked. Both positions are misguided: we were never as different as people have made out. 
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    Morsels for a Feast

    Edward Clarke
    Out of a few ‘crumbs’ - the greening blade of a crocus, a gnarly old olive tree, the chatter of finch, the clouds that drift aimlessly by - Mark Burrows has gathered in his new collection, like a busker in the subway or Christ in a desert place, enough to handsomely sustain us.
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