"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 


Siobhán Parkinson
Ireland needs graduates with a broad education, fluent in languages other than their own, conversant with their own and other cultures and gifted with an empathetic imagination.
Oct 23, 2012, 20:00 PM

Voices of the Dispossessed

Brian Earls
Dec 7, 2007, 21:51 PM

New York Diary

James Moran
The resourceful street-hawkers of Manhattan were taking part in a race of their own that evening, desperately trying to offload an assortment of soon-to-be-superannuated novelty goods: “Palin, McCain and Obama condoms … get screwed by both parties!” one vendor cried out. “Why no Biden?” I inquired. The entrepreneur shook his head, then offered: “I’ve got McCain ones … old but not expired!”
Dec 2, 2008, 17:01 PM

Angel of the North

Éamon Ó Cléirigh
In the 1970s, the young Christopher Robbins was admitted into the world of octogenarian film producer Brian Desmond Hurst, an unusual place, made up of eccentric neighbours, theatre folk, young men of religious convictions, aristocrats, policemen, blackmailers, sly procurers, feral rent boys and assorted waifs and strays.
Jan 13, 2007, 18:47 PM

The Big Splatter

John Montague
What is truly dazzling in Heaney is his descriptive power, his almost hymn to a Conway Stewart fountain pen, or glimpses of his father performing a farmyard task, wrought to a hallucinatory, Van Gogh-like intensity. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Seamus is a mystic of the ordinary, which he renders extraordinary, though unlike Hopkins he does not leap towards God.
Oct 5, 2010, 01:00 AM

Belonging And Becoming

Denis Sampson
It would seem that it was in Beckett that he found the literary model for a kind of narrative based on a deconstruction of received knowledge, on doubt as an instrument of style that could be inserted into an historical reconstruction, and, indeed, for a defence of the individual person and an openness to a visionary spirituality.
Dec 6, 2011, 15:35 PM


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.
Oct 23, 2012, 20:07 PM

Brave New Words

Peter Mackay
Jun 6, 2007, 19:14 PM

Over In England

Enda Delaney
Sean MacStiofáin, whose Irish ethnicity was according to Harte “based on a lone great-grandparent”, became a prominent leader of the IRA in the 1960s and early 1970s. Cathal Goulding, once a brother-in-arms and later an opponent, said of him that he was “continually trying to prove that he is as much an Irishman as anyone else”.
Jun 8, 2009, 18:59 PM

Secrets And Lies

Angus Mitchell
The claims long made in Irish Republican circles of a shoot-to-kill policy are vigorously denied. Andrew states categorically: “There is no evidence in Security Service files that it countenanced or assisted a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland.” But does this mean it didn’t happen? And what if it had happened? Might a researcher expect to find a file named “Ireland: Shoot-to-Kill Policy”?
Mar 5, 2011, 18:25 PM

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.
Dec 1, 2008, 16:58 PM

Reason and Passion

John-Paul McCarthy
Jul 7, 2007, 18:10 PM

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”.
Jun 12, 2012, 13:12 PM

A Ghost is Born

Tim Groenland
In a new biography, David Foster Wallace mostly emerges as a sympathetic figure, a troubled man whose fearsome intelligence seemed only to exponentially increase his unhappiness.
Dec 4, 2012, 13:59 PM

Wise Guy

Kevin Stevens
The heroes of these books are anguished men who nurse large grievances, battle grasping wives and dominating fathers, and are out of sync with the rah-rah optimism of the times. They make their way through an America at the zenith of its postwar prestige, pre-Vietnam, with the dollar supreme, gas at thirty cents a gallon, and a military-industrial complex so powerful it frightened even the old warhorse Dwight Eisenhower. Within this purring beast of a nation, so at ease with itself on the surface, Bellow found disquiet.
Mar 8, 2012, 13:11 PM

Not Altogether Fool

Rachel Andrews
Add to this the fact that James is a polyglot – he reads in eight languages – a rock lyricist – frequently touring with musical collaborator Pete Atkin – and a tango enthusiast – he has converted the upstairs of his London flat into a ballroom so he can feed his passion – and one can see why Julian Barnes, in an introduction to a Best Of volume of James’s essays, observed that he was “a brilliant bunch of guys”.
Sep 10, 2009, 18:18 PM


John Horgan
WT Stead, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, had such a messianic vision of his own importance and of the central role in society of the newspaper press that he would be regarded with great suspicion today. And yet the loss of that sense of vision may be a matter for regret.
Nov 13, 2012, 15:00 PM

A Voracious Reader

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic
Then there is the certainty that Google will miss books, skip pages, blur images and make other errors, while there is no guarantee that its copies will last. Bits become degraded over time. Documents may get lost as hardware and software quickly become extinct. As Darnton points out, we have lost eighty per cent of all silent films and fifty per cent of all films made before World War II. The best preservation system ever invented, he adds, was the old-fashioned, pre-modern book.
Sep 2, 2010, 19:19 PM

Bitter Truths

John Minahane
A new generation of Slovak poets has rejected the central themes of the communist and Christian past, now seen as lies or illusions. But the truths of post-communism are hard on the spirit.
Dec 4, 2012, 13:48 PM

A Moocow Coming Down Along the Road

Maurice Earls
John Stanislaus Joyce started out with around £1,000 in capital and numerous family connections but fell through the net of middle class privilege, bringing his family with him. Joyce senior must in many ways have been a representative figure. As the population declined and society was hollowed out, it was inevitable that the resources available to the middle classes would contract. The competition for available space must have been fierce. Survivors, like the back-slapping Blazes Boylans and Buck Mulligans of the time, took no prisoners.
May 1, 2010, 17:12 PM