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

    Macavity was there

    Matthew Parkinson Bennett
    Macavity was there
    Founded in 1929, Faber & Faber had the benefit of the best connections and an astute director who also happened to be one of Britain’s greatest poets. Still, it might not have survived all those years as an independent publisher had it not been for a certain collection of children’s verse.
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    A troll avant la lettre

    Luke Warde
    A troll avant la lettre
    ‘You can’t say a thing these days’ is the predictable chorus of the reactionary in the face of ‘political correctness gone mad’. In reality they say all they want to say: as the French antisemitic writer Céline put it, ‘once you’re recognised to be a clown you can say anything’.
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    Tarantulas and Dynamite

    Sean Sheehan
    Nietzsche’s reputation was tarnished for a long time by his posthumous adoption by Hitler. In fact the philosopher was repelled by antisemitism. It is now clear that his writings were curated after his death by his sister Elisabeth to make them Nazi-friendly.
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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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    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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    Pulling back the curtains

    Emer Nolan
    Pulling back the curtains
    The heroines of the Victorian novel encountered a blockage in their lives that Sally Rooney’s do not. Might access to education have made a difference? What if Cathy and Heathcliff could have taken a module on Freud together, if Dorothea Brooke had been able to do a degree in medicine?
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    Up and doing

    Giles Newington
    The novelist John Buchan was both patriotic Scot and unionist Briton. And while his work often reveals an unpleasant racism, this sunny-tempered dynamo was still able, as someone from the political periphery, to respect cultural difference and aspirations to independence.
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    Triumph of the Will

    Kevin Power
    Triumph of the Will
    Benjamin Moser’s biography tells us vividly what it was like to know Susan Sontag: it was a tough gig. But it doesn’t tell us what it was like to be Susan Sontag ‑ perhaps an even tougher gig. Nor does it tell us much about her work.
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    Wounded Heart, Divided Soul

    Tim Murphy
    Wounded Heart, Divided Soul
    “He Honored Life” ‑ these were the words inscribed on Jack Kerouac’s tombstone after his death fifty years ago this month. Kerouac certainly “ate the peach” and his death from cirrhosis at the age of forty-seven was one of the twentieth century’s great literary tragedies.
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    All About Helena

    Emmet O’Connor

    A memoir can ground the writer in external events or situations and provide an objective rationale to the narrative. The autobiography is a trickier proposition, placing the self at the centre. It is an act of whopping self-regard that demands a weighty justification.

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