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

Come back to Erin?

James Joyce’s strategy was to write as an exile from Ireland. That this exile should follow him into eternity was not part of the plan. In the early years after his death the Irish authorities displayed great hostility towards him. That has changed. Is it time to think of bringing his body home?
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Liberalism Under Threat

If politics continues on its present path discourse will become entirely populist and practice increasingly totalitarian, the charismatic leader ubiquitous, elections irregular, their outcomes predictable and the concept of society invoked only in terms of security rather than social justice.
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In the Beginning was the Word

Frank Hugh O’Donnell’s 'The Ruin of Education in Ireland', published in 1902, interpreted the Catholic church’s control of education as a British conspiracy to keep the Irish intellect stunted.
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Out with the old, in with the new

The Irish Party, being purely a vehicle to obtain Home Rule, was much more circumscribed than a modern political party, free to champion a diversity of issues. All its eggs were in one basket. From 1900 that gave it an appearance of intellectual jadedness and left it open to competition.
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Not Just Kooky

David Lynch spent five years getting Eraserhead made, from a screenplay of just twenty-one pages. One might think that only an extreme eccentric would make such efforts, but the image of Lynch as simply a kooky man is one that a new book sets out to dispel.
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Chained to the Magus

If the threat that president-elect Jair Bolsonaro poses to democracy is as grave as Workers Party leaders claim, one wonders why they did not back someone who had a good chance of defeating him? In refusing to do so Lula has helped deliver up Brazil to Bolsonaro, his bastard heir.
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Remembering Bernard Loughlin

Bernard, the first director, with his wife, of the Annaghmakerrig writers' retreat, was a man to whom tranquility, the driest of humour and a down-to-earth sense of the ethereal seemed to come naturally.
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Getting Wasted

A 1997 book, written as the memoir of a ‘Gen X Drunk’, apparently without literary merit and now out of print, might have given members of the US Senate an idea of who might or might not be suitable to sit on the Supreme Court, particularly in its portrayal of the author’s boozy friend ‘Bart O’Kavanaugh’.
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The Day All Hell Broke Loose

Fifty years ago today a police attack on a peaceful civil rights march in Derry initiated the latest phase of that long-running Irish phenomenon ‘the Troubles’. Was everything that followed inevitable or might things have developed differently?
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A Killer for President

Brazil, the world's fourth largest democracy, faces the prospect of electing a violent and threatening military man as president. He can be stopped, but only if the other parties come together to save the situation.
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Candide in the Eternal City

A French novel of the 1950s portrayed a still pagan Rome in which cardinals were addicted to scheming, money could buy sainthood and truth was not as simple to a young priest as it had once seemed. The novel was shocking for the time and was banned in Italy.
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Brothers in Religion

Two seventeenth century siblings from north Donegal are said to have become, through an odd set of circumstances, ministers of rival religions, one an Anglican minister the other a Franciscan friar. The story is thought to be the source of the Gaelic lament ‘Fil, fil, aroon’.
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A Mission for the Führer

In May 1940, the German spy Hermann Goertz parachuted into Ireland, his mission to induce the IRA to hinder the British war effort by mounting attacks in Northern Ireland. He remained at large for a surprisingly long time, with many protectors, among whom women featured particularly strongly.
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Yeats at Ballylee

Rarely read and barely performed, Yeats’s plays are mostly forgotten by theatre companies – despite considerable virtues of portability, adaptability and cheapness. A recent performance at Thoor Ballylee in Galway of ‘The Only Jealousy of Emer’ marvellously shows what can be done.
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A pase around old Dublin

John Speed’s 1610 Dublin map is one of the best-known images of the city, a picture of an intimate medieval town which was soon to embark on its modern expansion. Speed himself, writes Peter Sirr, may never have visited Dublin, rather having, as he cheerfully admitted, ‘put my sickle into other mens corne’.
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Tuam Excavation

Ninety writers and artists call for a complete excavation and enumeration of the victims of Tuam. Memorialisation is not enough.
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Out of the Dark

The McGaherns lived in a poor, rickety house in the middle of a field. All that is left now is a rusty gate in a prickly hedge and an empty, rushy meadow. It is extraordinary to think that out of this remote and unpromising place came a great writer and literature of world renown.
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He'll Light the Fire

Graham Nash, transported from the 60s pop band The Hollies and the cold rain of Manchester to the sun of California and a role in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY), visits Dublin this week. His songs, well aged in the bottle, are like a shaft of sunlight into dark times.
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A Funny Old Game

English and Russian fans may have kicked and punched one another and smashed windows at the Euros in Marseille in 2016, but rival Irish and Belgian fans staged such a funny joint street party in Bordeaux that mayor Alain Juppé called them ‘a disgrace to hooliganism’.
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Every third thought will be my grave

Philip Roth once said of fellow writers Saul Bellow and John Updike: ‘[they] hold their flashlights out into the world, [and] reveal the world as it is now. I dig a hole and shine my flashlight into the hole.’ There is no hole that Roth digs better throughout his fiction than a grave.
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