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

Irish Modernism: Still an Oxymoron?

John Greaney
A new history of Irish modernism sees its development as following the trajectory of national history, while centralising the achievements of Yeats, Joyce and later Beckett. This is unsurprising as many of the contributors have long been working in the field of Irish studies.
Mar 2, 2020, 15:18 PM
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‘It’s all bullshit’

Luke Warde
For trolls, politics is insuperably Manichaean. It is governed by enmity and the notion that things could be otherwise is a saccharine fiction that should be derided. In this regard they share something of the worldview of Nazi jurist and political philosopher Carl Schmitt.
Mar 2, 2020, 15:27 PM
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Drawing Death’s Sting

Dick Edelstein
In ‘Origami Doll’, the poems of Shirley McClure’s entire career whisper to each other as the newer ones shed light on the earlier ones and vice versa. The whole represents a sort of ongoing conversation, underpinned by a stable philosophical view.
Mar 2, 2020, 15:31 PM
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There and Then

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
Violence begets violence, Darran Anderson reflects. Those immersed in it know it; those who profit from it at a distance know it even more. What his father – that ‘man of few words’ – had given him, he comes to realise, was to have broken the cycle of violence for his own family.
Mar 2, 2020, 15:38 PM
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Acts of Hope

Peter Sirr
Poets can be parochial, powerful languages encouraging the sense that there is no need to look beyond their borders. Set against that, there is Osip Mandelstam’s ‘nostalgia for world culture’, a kind of alert openness, a feeling of being at home in an enlarged world of the spirit.
Mar 2, 2020, 15:53 PM
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Real Life is Literature

Catherine Toal
Responding to the claim that writers today draw increasingly directly on their own lives, Jonathan Franzen argued that nobody ever wrote a more autobiographical story than Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’: the most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention.
Mar 2, 2020, 16:22 PM
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Torturing for Democracy

Farrel Corcoran
Kurt Blome was a minister of Hitler’s Reich, directed its biological warfare programme and oversaw experiments on prisoners. He was not one of the seven Nazi scientists sentenced to death at Nuremberg; instead he was enabled to continue his research for the benefit of US military intelligence.
Mar 2, 2020, 16:56 PM
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Little Women and their Pa

Maurice Earls
Louisa May Alcott’s father was a man of advanced views, a deist, vegan and ‘transcendentalist’. But, as is often the case with those of a theoretical and discursive bent, his practical abilities, as well as his appetite for the hard labour his utopian schemes required, were limited.
Mar 2, 2020, 17:12 PM
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Not So Equal

Patricia Craig
They lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles, Dorothy Parker is supposed to have said. Bloomsbury continues to fascinate, sexual intrigue and intellectual hauteur being only part of the appeal. An absorbing new study focuses on the interrelated lives of five women.
Mar 2, 2020, 17:20 PM
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An Ornery Beast

Byron Williston
Our world is organised by boundaries. Those people, those animals, that kind of weather, those diseases belong down there, not up here. But now these boundaries, from which our sense of who we are, individually and collectively, has been drawn, are beginning to look very porous.
Mar 2, 2020, 18:08 PM
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From Head to Toe

James Peake
We have all internalised vast quantities of popular culture and carry around long-term what was intended to passingly divert. The disposable has almost conquered the internal, and Conor Carville’s achievement is to show us this in poems that are by turns vivid, horrifying, clever, funny and visionary.
Mar 2, 2020, 18:22 PM
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Manufacturing Victimhood

Clare O’Dea
First create a movement – not a party – which speaks up for ‘the real people’ and promises to punish their oppressors. Then proceed to the infantilisation of political language ‑ outrageous statements help ‑ and turn up the level of aggression, eventually creating a public sphere where shame no longer exists.
Mar 2, 2020, 18:38 PM
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Neither West Brit nor Little Irelander

Gerald Dawe
Irish Protestant identity  has always been a more complex and various business than is suggested by the image of a Big House aristocracy enduring terminal decline. Post-Brexit, the Republic will be forced to think more on this subject. Its past record has not always been inspiring.
Mar 2, 2020, 18:47 PM
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Hell-bent

Leanne Ogasawara
Imagination is essential for human understanding and compassion. But in Hannah Arendt’s words, the human heart must go visiting, otherwise we lose our power to be moral. The ability to look at the world from another’s point of view in an imaginative way.
Mar 2, 2020, 18:54 PM
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Blue Notes

Catherine Kelly
Cathy Sweeney’s characters are sometimes bored to death but the stories they inhabit are never boring. Sweeney’s writing offers neither solutions nor relief. Instead, her stories are like splinters, getting under your fingernails and leaving little bloody marks.
Mar 2, 2020, 19:02 PM
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Remembering How We Stood

Declan Toohey
Peter Cunningham’s new novel recognises the centrality of femininity to the revolutionary period, while a subplot acknowledges that homosexuality existed beyond the pages of Roger Casement’s diary. The epilogue asks us to bring a critical eye to all things historical, fiction or otherwise.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:37 AM
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