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

Politics in the Margins

Anthony Roche
Though he was long perceived as an apolitical writer, Samuel Beckett’s three main publishers, in Paris, London and New York, were known for works with an overt politics and a dedication to civil liberties. This context mattered to Beckett in terms of where his work appeared.
May 4, 2018, 17:01 PM
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Giant Step

Dick Edelstein
While Geraldine Mitchell’s two preceding volumes of poetry were notably cohesive, in her new collection she constructs a more all-embracing context while maintaining an easily identifiable stylistic continuity. The result represents a considerable leap forward in her work.
May 5, 2018, 11:55 AM
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Folks Like Us

Carlo Gébler
The central characters in Bernard MacLaverty’s ‘Midwinter Break’ are frail, contrary, inadequate, self-serving, self-destructive, hopeless, hopeful, desperate, kindly, thoughtless, and all the other things that make people people. No wonder their story is so fascinating.
May 5, 2018, 12:28 PM
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Oral Culture and Popular Autonomy

Brian Earls
William Carleton at times conceived of his great narrative enterprise as a form of naive ethnography, asserting that his stories contained more “facts” about Ireland than any previously published work. His sources were multiple, his sea of story extending from refracted folktales, via Victorian melodrama, to the most commonplace clichés of commercial fiction and, indeed, improving tales. At its heart are the narratives and other oral forms of the pre-famine Irish countryside. 
May 5, 2018, 12:35 PM
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Solace and Silliness

Keith Payne
As a poet, Iggy McGovern celebrates certainties - the certainty of the slow ticking of a public house clock, ‘a quarter-hour ahead’, the certainty of scientific exploration, of a life clearly recalled, the certainty of the BBC Home Service and of course, the certainty of ageing.
May 5, 2018, 13:19 PM
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The Hardest Problem

Martin Greene
Joyce drew on his theories in creating Leopold and Molly Bloom. Freud thought he was ‘highly gifted but sexually deranged’. Wittgenstein thought he was ‘great’, though one couldn’t agree with him, while Strindberg thought he had solved the hardest problem, the problem of women.
Jun 8, 2018, 13:06 PM
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Memory and Echoes

Florence Impens
One of the delights of Leanne O’Sullivan stems from how cleverly she plays with Irish poetry, notably in her use of classical material. There are echoes here of Yeats, Longley and  Mahon, while other poems discreetly evoke Seamus Heaney’s work.
Jun 9, 2018, 11:01 AM
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Bleak New World

Carlo Gébler
Julian Gough’s new novel portrays a world that we are already well on the way to – one in which human concerns are very much outweighed by issues of the control of ‘tech’. It’s perhaps a problem that a certain kind of reader remains unmoved by tech and stubbornly interested in people.
Jun 9, 2018, 11:07 AM
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In Search of Richard Murphy

Benjamin Keatinge
Richard Murphy felt out of place in American universities, where his students equated poetry with self-expression. As Gerald Dawe has recently suggested, Murphy was always a poet of other people, whose poems are not about himself at all but about ‘others’ and their reality.
Jun 9, 2018, 11:12 AM
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Through to Delight

Magdalena Kay
There is a sense of joy in Derek Mahon’s latest collection, which long-time readers may see as a hard-won peace with a world, and a life, that has all too often shown its undelightful side. The brightness of these visions has been earned.
Jun 9, 2018, 11:22 AM
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Mending, after the Fall

Enda Wyley
The idea that even if injured we keep going is at the emotional core of Mark Roper’s new collection – a book of poems which is persistent in laying bare both the pain and happiness of being alive, while always looking to the forces of the natural world for guidance.
Jul 7, 2018, 14:37 PM
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An Idea Madder than Usual

Martin Greene
It is well-known that Joyce drew on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs when writing the sadomasochistic scenes in Ulysses. Masoch’s name today may be chiefly linked to ‘SM’ porn, but there is more to Venus in Furs than that, and indeed more to Masoch than one book.
Sep 2, 2018, 09:19 AM
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The Traumatic Quotidian

Paul Murphy
Conor O'Callaghan's new collection often deals with rather mundane events, the primary material of life perhaps, rather than subjects more associated with the epic, but from this he often fashions something original and valuable.
Sep 3, 2018, 11:15 AM
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Just Wade In

Jean O’Brien
Reading John O’Donnell’s poetic work, the word constant comes to mind: it is the nub of everything he writes. He has an intrinsic core of honesty, humanity and steadiness; we are in safe hands here.
Sep 2, 2018, 11:54 AM
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Moongaze More Often

Keith Payne
Matthew Sweeney’s last collection is bright with painters: Lowry, Van Gogh, Goya, for the most part painters of possibility, or Paula Modersohn-Becker, who moved with Rilke and Rodin and whom Rilke once described as ‘half held in thrall, yet already seizing control’.
Sep 2, 2018, 12:23 PM
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Last Waltz, First Waltz

Enda Wyley
Joseph Woods’s new collection takes the reader on a tour through many exotic places ‑ the Chinese Pacific, the Irrawaddy river, the Western Cape, Chicago – but returns to the more familiar Irish Midlands and West and the persisting links through generations, from ailing parents to infant daughter.
Sep 2, 2018, 12:29 PM
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Lean In And Listen

Anne Tannam
Martina Evans’s new volume consists of two dramatic monologues featuring the voices of two women from the War of Independence and Civil War periods. Though the monologuists never meet, their stories are fused through the featuring of a third character, Cumann na mBan member Eileen Murphy.
Oct 2, 2018, 15:54 PM
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Death in the Novel

Eamon Maher
With the waning of religious faith and practice in Ireland, the hope of eternal salvation is no longer available to a large portion of the population. A new study of the theme of death in the Irish novel takes us from a world saturated by religious ritual to one which mostly wishes just to forget the past.
Oct 2, 2018, 16:31 PM
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Midlands Enlightenment

Fergus O’Ferrall
The eighteenth century in Ireland saw the vigorous transfer of literary objects and ideas between Castle Forbes, Edgeworthstown House, and other ‘big houses’ such as Charleville Forest in Co Offaly. Co Longford in particular seems to have been especially rich in literary life at this time.
Oct 2, 2018, 16:53 PM
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Gender in Conflict

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
Anna Burns’s new novel explores the impact in the Northern Ireland of the 1970s of a level of violence that has become ordinary and a society where gendered violence is everywhere but remains unacknowledged in a context where ‘huge things, physical, noisy things’ happen on a daily or hourly basis.
Oct 2, 2018, 17:39 PM
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