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

    Martha or Mary?

    Caitriona Clear
    Should religious women stay in their own ‘female’ spheres, or compete on an equal level with men in worlds constructed by and for men? Some Protestant American women have chosen to follow the religious life quietly while others embrace showbusiness and razzmatazz.
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    For the dark times ahead

    Andreas Hess
    In the early 1930s Bertolt Brecht fled Germany for Prague, then spent some time in Paris before escaping to Denmark, Sweden and eventually Finland, before finally travelling via the Soviet Union to the United States. His experience as a mid-twentieth century refugee is far from irrelevant today.
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    The Greatest of These

    George O’Brien
    Colbert Kearney comes from a strong republican tradition: his IRB grandfather wrote the words of the national anthem. The grandson’s memoir, however, is less concerned with ‘the people’ than with persons, in particular his father, whose love for his family is here celebrated, and repaid.
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    A Champion for the Poor

    Fergus O’Donoghue
    Father John Spratt, a Dublin-born Carmelite priest whose energy seems to have been limitless, not only built Whitefriar Street church but established an orphanage, two schools, and a night refuge for children and dismissed servants. He also campaigned vigorously for temperance.
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    Is Larkin good for you?

    Johnny Lyons
    A defining characteristic of art, as Martin Amis wrote, is its inability to lower our spirits, even if its message is irredeemably gloomy. The genius of Philip Larkin’s poetry rests, at least in part, on his gift of somehow sublimating our appreciation of life by amplifying its ordinariness.
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    The church of unbelievers

    Mairéad Carew
    The language of religion is poetry, metaphor, symbolism and allegory. Scientists and religious people alike are both attempting to understand the deep mysteries of life and the aggressive, mindless jeering of the so-called ‘new atheists’ will get us nowhere.
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    Of bishops and nighties

    Farrel Corcoran
    A mildly salacious exchange in 1966 between Gay Byrne and a ‘Late Late’ guest, and the controversy which followed, were often later cited as a classic example of the binary clash between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Ireland. But was the controversy largely a media-fuelled affair?
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    Thinking About Women

    Caroline Hurley
    Lucy Ellman’s massive new novel is an encyclopaedic narrative whose stream of consciousness style recalls Rabelais and Sterne, Kerouac, Woolf, Vonnegut, and of course Joyce, the subject of one of three classic biographies of Irish writers written by her father.
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    Words of love, words of venom

    Neil Hegarty
    Christine Dwyer Hickey has written a profoundly empathetic novel, its impact all the greater for its abiding reticence. Its great achievement lies in its balance of a deliberately unshowy form and tone and the great sweeps and depths of feeling embedded with the narrative.
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    The past present

    Afric McGlinchey
    What distinguishes Peter Sirr’s latest collection from the usual themes of nostalgia and consciousness of time passing is a kind of psychic connection with both the observed and the unseen worlds, a conflation of past and present, where ‘centuries hang like apples on the trees’.
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