"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Beyond the Pale

The fraternisation of elements of the traditional right with figures from the new far right raises important questions. Is this just opportunism or is it a serious attempt to move mainstream conservatism further right and win respectability for opinions, attitudes and policies formerly considered beyond the pale?
More

George Steiner: Paris, 1929 – Cambridge, 2020

George Steiner, who has died aged 90, was one of the pre-eminent critics and literary intellectuals of the twentieth century. He defended the European canon, which he saw as deriving from traditions which could be traced back to both Jerusalem and Athens, and practised a criticism that was based on admiration.
More

THE SEAMUS MALLON I KNEW

He condemned every IRA and loyalist killing in the harshest terms, writes Andy Pollak. He also denounced collusion, harassment and sectarian bias by the RUC and UDR. In the face of government and unionist hostility, he demanded justice and equality from the security services and the courts.
More

Death of a Cosmopolitan

Being European, for Ed Vulliamy, was not a matter of some pragmatic economic calculation. It was a thing of passion, of love for the old continent’s languages, customs and beliefs, its football, food and firewater. A European citizen no longer, he experiences the loss as a wrench and a violation.
More

Don’t mention the Grandfather

A tricky manoeuvre to expand Ireland’s diplomatic effectiveness in international forums involved liaising with a senior international official with important Irish connections. Stephen James Joyce, who died last week, had a reputation for being ‘difficult’, yet in this matter he proved anything but.
More

Out with the Old

Ireland’s population declined from over eight million in 1841 to 4.5 million in 1901, 2.9 million in 1931 and 2.8 million in 1961. It had long been suggested that self-government was the key to tackling decline, but clearly it was not sufficient, the real upward swing coming only after entry into the EEC.
More

The Electability Obsession

Those supporting centrist candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination suggest that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are not electable in a contest with Donald Trump. But there is really no evidence that any of the four leading candidates is less electable than any other.
More

Looking after Number One

A rereading of a classic two-volume biography of Julius Caesar reveals a vain, grasping and unscrupulous individual, but also a man of vision, talent and unquestionable leadership skills, political to his finger-tips, who would stop at nothing to satisfy his voracious ambitions.
More

A Sunburnt Country

In response to Australia’s calamitous forest fires prime minister Scott Morrison and his government blandly reassure Australians they have ‘been there before and come through’, thus enacting the dictum that power is the capacity to talk without listening and the ability to afford not to learn.
More

What’s happened to Scottish Labour?

British Labour’s seats in Scotland were always an important part of its majority - when it got a majority. Last week it recorded its lowest percentage vote there since 1910. Why? Because it behaved as if it owned its seats and failed to listen to what its working class voters told it they wanted.
More

Fiat lux

Lucy of Syracuse was a young woman of strong principles who wasn’t going to let anyone put one over on her. Today she is honoured as the bringer of light in darkness, an appropriate saint for this time of year.
More

Things can only get better

After another defeat for the Labour Party in Britain it is time for some clear thinking, and action. It's not as if this debacle was not predicted. The party recovered from the depths once before, though one should be wary of thinking that the recipe that proved successful then can simply be repeated.
More

Harmless Hatred

Election results suggest that Scotland, once a supplier of many useful seats to the British Labour Party, has transferred its allegiance very decisively to the Scottish National Party. But is this likely to lead to independence and continued EU membership? That could well be a quite different matter.
More

The review as cultural bridge

Frank Kermode argued that the modern literary review offered academic writers the chance to introduce sometimes complex ideas about literature or history or art to a larger audience. All they had to do was to write clearly and not forget that learning can be a pleasure.
More

Clive James (1939-2019)

Clive James knew that an unintelligent intelligentsia is a permanent feature of human history. He knew that the hard-to-read would go on being worshipped, and that writers who were merely funny, informed, and scrupulously honest would have to find their way as best they could.
More

Regrets, he had a few

Jonathan Miller was famous as a comic actor, satirist, medical man, highbrow television presenter, theatre and opera director, and all-round intellectual. And yet he regretted having failed to concentrate on his medical career, telling many interviewers that he felt he had been a ‘flop’.
More

History wars

History books sell, particularly if they are packaged by publishers in a way that makes them attractive to the general reader in search of enlightenment. A recent history of France has sold more than 100,000 copies – though it is not everyone’s tasse de thé.
More

Why do fools fall in love?

The idea that because a person is beautiful, or handsome, she or he must be good is a trap that humans fall into time and time again. This causes a great deal of misery, but also provides material for thousands of popular songs and even some great novels.
More

The Real Susan

A recent widely reviewed biography has portrayed Susan Sontag as an imperious, vain and often cruel woman who had no real friends. The Susan I knew, writes Ed Vulliamy, was not like that at all but rather a humorous, listening person who preferred to talk of others than herself.
More

With the people

A new book argues that it is largely the insistence that central and eastern Europe should slavishly follow the western, free-market model that led to the success of ‘illiberal’ populism. Perhaps, but one should not forget the sins of the liberals, or the political skills of the populists themselves.
More