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

    Beneath the Surface

    Deirdre Ní Chuanacháin
    Sherwood Anderson credited his mother with awakening his curiosity about what lay behind the facade of apparently ordinary lives in small-town America. When his masterpiece, ‘Winesburg, Ohio’, was published he was castigated as an ‘opener of sewers’; in his home town library the book was kept in a locked cupboard.
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    The hegemony of history

    Johnny Lyons
    Quentin Skinner’s most significant contribution to the history of ideas was his insistence that canonical texts do not stand outside history proposing universal and ‘ageless’ truths. They must rather be understood in the context of their publication. But does that mean they have little to say to us today?
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    Not So Insular

    Rory McTurk
    Geoffrey Chaucer chose to write in English rather than French or Latin and is honoured as ‘the Father of English Literature’. Nevertheless his culture was a broadly European one and his career involved much European travel. Did he also visit Ireland and might Gaelic literature have been an influence?
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    Well Bless Your Heart!

    Maura O’Kiely
    If you want to be a Southern lady and reach the summit of flowery femininity and thoughtful, gracious manners, there are a few things to master: how to bestow a sharp-edged compliment and when not to wear pearls. But above all never be seen chewing gum, because that’s just cheap.
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    The Necessary Details

    Kevin Stevens
    The Necessary Details
    As Robert Caro tells us in what may be the greatest political biography of modern times, President Lyndon Johnson marshalled incredible resources, including a willingness to lie, cheat and steal at the highest level, in the service of an ambitious and noble programme of reform.
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    The Spring-Time of the World

    Brandon Yen
    In 1792 Tom Paine wrote that whatever shape summer might take it was ‘not difficult to perceive that the spring is begun’. If the French Revolution did not fulfil the radicals’ hopes, these early years left an enduring legacy to Wordsworth, making him the great poet of feeling and hope.
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    The Botplot

    Kevin Power
    The Botplot
    Ian McEwan’s novels tend to set up a clash between opposing worldviews, with the authorial thumb pressed heavily on one side of the scales. His latest, a humanist exploration of posthumanist ideas, is a hugely pleasurable read, but might the author not have tried to surprise us a little more?
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    Magic, Modernity, #MeToo

    Tony McKenna
    Whereas Homer, and the Homeric heroes, would have regarded manual labour as a noble pursuit, Plato saw ‘mechanical crafts’ and the raising of ‘sordid beasts’ (farming) as activities suitable only to the lowest ranks, distracting man from the encounter with his soul.
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    Silence is Part of the Problem

    Enda Wyley
    Sarah Henstra’s novel about rape culture in the fraternity of an American Ivy League college can at times be a messy, difficult and violent read, but ultimately it is an important book, one that demands to be read and is not easily forgotten.
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    Elliptical Obit

    Daniel Fraser
    In Ann Quin’s fictional world acts of finality or resolution repeatedly come undone. A dead bird is buried and then dug up. Plans of escape are formulated and then abandoned. A corpse is disposed of and returns. Tissues of falsehood are constructed and destroyed. Business is always left unfinished.
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