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

He Could Tell You Things

Jeffrey Dudgeon
Many see Casement in a negative light; Séamas Ó Síocháin does not. He is both neutral and sympathetic. Ever avoiding judgment and letting the facts speak for themselves, he remains intrigued by Casement and in awe of his attainments. And why not? He is a citizen of a model European state whose very existence and current formation owe much to the man.
Sep 4, 2008, 12:04 PM

A Policeman’s Lot

Kevin Cullen
The stereotype of the Irish cop was born in Boston, where being on the force in the latter half of the nineteenth century meant you were mostly concerned with protecting Brahmin property and cracking immigrant heads, a good portion of them bearing familiar accents. Consequently, Boston policemen enjoyed little more status than the riff-raff they threw into paddywagons from Scollay Square to the South End.
Mar 10, 2009, 16:54 PM

One Hand Clapping

Kevin Stevens
Nowhere is this more true than in the United States, where the cult of celebrity holds a special place for authors and relentlessly cycles their work and personae through what Don DeLillo calls “the all-incorporating treadmill of consumption and disposal”. Though American literary life has had no shortage of self-aggrandisers the media is agitated most by those who play hard to get. DeLillo and Pynchon are recent examples. But the gold standard of American literary isolation is JD Salinger.
May 11, 2010, 17:49 PM

Opening The Windows

George O’Brien
Sean O’Faolain, through his editorship of The Bell, sought to create an Irish intelligentsia and to keep Ireland receptive to international influences.
Nov 19, 2012, 16:38 PM

Opening Up

Carol Taaffe
To many readers, the attraction lies in this firm refusal of mystery about the act itself (though to Philip Larkin, the prospect of visiting universities to explain how a poem was written was “like going round explaining how you sleep with your wife”). While Paris Review interviews might be sifted for critical insights, they are traditionally the ground where the apprentice writer hunts for clues on the literary trade.
Feb 7, 2010, 18:28 PM

Europe Inside and Out

Enda O’Doherty
While some see the European Union as the only effective possible counterweight to “chaotic international networks and concentrations of power” others see it as another manifestation of globalisation, driven by a quasi-religious faith in the market, competition and privatisation. “This,” writes Mak, “is the philosophy of most political elites, but many citizens – even the majority in any number of European countries – don’t believe in it at all.”
Jun 12, 2008, 17:37 PM

Evading War Guilt

David Ralph
After twenty years the pain has not gone away for Bosnian Muslims. It is made worse by the stubborn refusal of the Serbs to admit responsibility.
Nov 19, 2012, 16:42 PM

Out of Sight

Helen Lahert
In a recent radio interview, Barry linked the character with that of a great-aunt who had been committed to an asylum in the 1920s and was subsequently hardly ever mentioned. When she was mentioned the comment was that “she was no good”. “Not that she was mad, but that she was no good.” Barry considered that the writing of the story might offer “some meagre recompense for the fate she suffered at my family’s hands”.
Sep 5, 2008, 12:08 PM

Haunted By Ghosts

Eoghan Smith
The Celtic Tiger years have seen a generation of writers emerge that has found in history a way of thinking about the present. It is unsurprising that four of the most recent high-profile Irish novels produced – from Colum McCann, Colm Toibín, William Trevor and now Joseph O’Connor – are set in the past. Trapped in cycles of bad memories, these novels are excavations, or perhaps exorcisms. Divested of the radical potential of the best modernist art, Irish writing has become a mixture of quietist aesthetics and commercially driven diversion.
Sep 4, 2010, 19:25 PM

The Inishowen Oracle

Tom Wall
John Toland, born into Gaelic-speaking north Donegal in the late seventeenth century, became an important controversialist, deist, pantheist and passionate anti-cleric.
Mar 25, 2013, 14:16 PM

That Which You Had To Do

Seamus Deane
When democracy arrived in full force in Paris in 1848, Tocqueville led the assault on its pretensions. No universal tendency was going to have its way there. It could go tend elsewhere. A good war would stop it; bring the artillery on to the streets and let the army behave as though it were in Algeria.
Jun 3, 2011, 13:32 PM

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.
Feb 1, 2012, 20:15 PM

Not All Roses

Richard Tillinghast
Dec 10, 2007, 18:31 PM

Good Old Queens

Robert Looby
Indeed, what we have in Lubiewo is a panorama of Poland in years of great turmoil without the stock heroic underground opposition and the stock brutal militia officer. Witkowski’s characters are unheroic, unengaged, unpolitical. For Lukrecja and Patrycja the barracks where Soviet soldiers are stationed (on Polish soil!) are an opportunity, not a symbol of oppression.
Nov 13, 2009, 21:33 PM

Violent Remedies

David Askew
The same year Rodrigo Borgia, one of the most controversial of the many controversial Renaissance popes, became Pope Alexander VI. As Unger notes, he “was on intimate terms with … Greed, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, and Pride”. He was widely reported to have turned the Vatican into a brothel. Alexander’s son, Cesare Borgia, of whom, Capponi writes that “deceit, corruption, fraud, and murder were merely part of a very pragmatic approach to politics”, was to cast a long shadow over Machiavelli’s thought.
Mar 2, 2012, 12:09 PM

Focus on Poland

Wiktor Osiatyński
Mar 4, 2007, 17:46 PM

A New Life

Paul Larkin
Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House has lived a lie in order to fulfil the ideal of the perfect marriage. Mrs Alving in Ghosts has played a long-drawn-out game of humouring her husband’s debauchery while being in love with someone else. On discovering that her son Oswald has inherited syphilis from his father she has to decide whether to administer euthanasia. Could there be any greater destruction of an ideal? Time and again in Ibsen’s plays, society’s binding communal ideals are revealed as impossible to attain: the only answer is to break away and live as a free individual.
Feb 1, 2010, 17:55 PM

Sucked Into The Tube

Tom Inglis
Mar 2, 2007, 17:40 PM

Saving the Past

Judith Devlin
More recently, pundits close to the Kremlin have intoned about “memory wars”, mainly in reaction to the critical views of Stalinist history advanced by Ukraine and the Baltic states in what is seen in Moscow as an attempt to denigrate not only Stalin but also the Russian state, and to move away from the Russian sphere of influence. Implicitly, the attacks on Stalin’s record are resisted as an attack on the power and prestige of Russia.
Sep 3, 2009, 19:50 PM

One Of Our Own

Tom Hennigan
Previously Morales insisted that coca was a legitimate crop, a gift from Pachamama, Mother Earth, and that cocaine was a problem for the Americans. “We produce our coca, we bring it to the main markets, we sell it and that’s where our responsibility ends,” he told a journalist in 1991. But as president he cannot afford to take such a myopic stance. Brazil, not the US, is the main market for Bolivian cocaine, where it produces far more violence and social mayhem than in any North American city.
Sep 3, 2010, 19:22 PM