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

    The Doubter

    Antony Tatlow
    Previous biographies have called almost everything about Bertolt Brecht, including his authorship of the works attributed to him, into doubt, while political changes have seemed to diminish his importance. But a new life, revealing a new Brecht, reasserts his importance.
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    The Uses of Art

    John Fanning
    Alain de Botton has been the recipient of much sniffy condescension, being characterised as a chiropractor of the soul. But this is somewhat unfair: he is not trying to make us happy but to help us to understand ourselves better, and he sees art and philosophy as allies in this pursuit.
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    Mister Perfect

    Michael Hinds
    The frequently quoted descriptions of Michael Donaghy as a modern metaphysical may make prospective readers nervous; yet in the main there is nothing ostentatiously intellectual about his work. Rather, the abiding impression is that a poem is a minor fuss worth making.
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    Less Thought, More Action

    Antony Tatlow
    Less Thought, More Action
    The German theatre company Schaubühne has toured its surtitled version of Hamlet in a translation which would more be accurately described as a transformation. The interpretation may be daring but the interweaving of meaning and “music” which makes Shakespeare’s language so memorable is lost.
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    The Scruple of Detail

    Michael Cronin
    Shifted whole from one language to another, philosophical terms leave behind a rich history of usage, interpretation, and interaction with other terms. To understand them properly we must recover some of that past, working against the grain of  the monologic of the monoglot.
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    In the Rubber Kingdom

    Andrew Lees
    In 1908,1,675 vessels docked in the harbour of Manaus on the Amazon, the steamships stashed with a cornucopia of extravagances including Huntley and Palmer’s biscuits, tinned Danish butter, White Label whisky, Maples cedarwood tables and Victor gramophones.
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    Saved by Rock ’n’ Roll

    Desmond Traynor
    In the 1950s, when Susan Sontag was a young woman, high culture, middlebrow culture and pop culture existed in hermetically sealed spheres. In her writings on pop and as a pioneer of film studies in the English language cultural sphere, she was decisively to change all that.
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    The Long Slide

    Magda Kay
    The Long Slide
    Philip Larkin’s restless spirit could not commit to any one course: he wrote serious poems and comical ones, had serious friends and comical ones, a religious and ‘proper’ lover and a sceptical, flamboyant one; he coveted fame and luxury - bathing and booze and birds - yet was known as a hermit.
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    A Serious Business

    Brian Davey
    Edward St Aubyn has undoubted comic gifts, as he has proven in his previous work, but his satire on the Booker Prize judging process tacks a little too closely to burlesque. Perhaps he was having so much fun he ‘let himself go’. But satire, when it is successful, is a serious business.
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    The Dead Assemble

    Nathan Hugh O’Donnell
    The title piece in Brendan Cleary’s new collection is an elegy on the death of his brother. Overall, his poetry conveys an experience of real privation, of alcoholism and loneliness, which speaks to a wider and more long-standing reality about which we in Ireland perhaps don’t want to hear.
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