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

Who do you think you are?

Primo Levi’s ‘If This is a Man’, published in 1947, and his much later ‘The Drowned and the Saved’ are for many the most compelling literary treatments of the Holocaust. Yet some people, particularly in America, felt that a person whose Jewish identity seemed so off-centre was not a suitable standardbearer.
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A giant leap for whom?

As Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon fifty years ago he famously spoke of ‘a small step for [a] man’ and ‘a giant leap for mankind’. It was of course a great technical triumph for ‘Man the Explorer’, but how much of the $180bn - in today’s money - spent benefited that somewhat wider constituency, ‘mankind’?
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Wisdom Builds Itself a House

Sitting at a laptop, for all that our curious fingers flit across cyberspace, confines us to our private space. We need the opportunity to wander and discover and be let loose among the materiality of paper and physical buildings. Peter Sirr writes on libraries, theft and the clutches of Hades.
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On not being reached

It is more than twenty years since the mobile phone first burst - or brrred – its way into our lives. Initially, in Dublin at any rate, it was not regarded as a marvel. Rather it was customary for everyone else in the pub to stare coldly at the recipient of the call, who if he had any decency would blush and hurry towards the exit.
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Elephant? What elephant?

Jeremy Corbyn does not recognise the nature of the Brexit national division, nor does he see that it cannot be understood in the language of class division. This failure is hardly surprising, as he comes from a tradition where pretty much everything can be explained in that language.
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What’s your problem?

There are characters, George Eliot wrote, who continually create collisions for themselves in dramas of their own imagination which no one is prepared to act with them: ‘their susceptibilities will clash against objects that remain innocently quiet.’ It’s called unrequited love.
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Shop Girls, High and Low

The arrival of the department store at the end of the nineteenth century gave birth to a new social actor, the shop girl specialising in sales. Exploitation, of more than one kind, remained, but here was a figure with more pride and independence than the traditionally heavily oppressed grocery employee.
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First catch your hare

Strangely bored on a weekend in the country in the late 1940s with an old lover rediscovered, Elizabeth David’s thoughts turned to apricots and olives, lemons, oil and almonds. In grey, rainy, puritanical England one didn’t mention such things. Hell, they were dirty words!
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War is peace, freedom is slavery ... left is right?

Seventy years ago Fred Warburg published 'Nineteen Eighty-four', which he saw as a deliberate attack on socialism and socialist parties generally and 'worth a cool million votes to the Conservative Party'. He can't have known George Orwell all that well.
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The French Are Different

In Ireland we like to have a good bunch of Independents, on top of the usual political parties, to choose from. In France they like having a huge variety of parties, and behind them any number of political clubs, currents, think tanks and factions. It’s the ideas, you see: they’re mad for the ideas.
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The Politics of Good Intentions

The ‘shared community’ that Alliance champions in Northern Ireland is unlikely to come into being, but the existence of divisions provides a fertile ground for a politics of good intentions that, while it cannot alter fundamental political differences, provides the basis for a third form of identity politics.
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The Costs of Technology

A tradesman’s demand for a fee that seemed exorbitant led ‘The Irish Penny Magazine’ back in 1840 to muse on the relative value of slaves in America and the children of the poor in Ireland.
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LP Curtis Jnr: 1932-2019

Lewis Perry Curtis, one of the leading twentieth century historians of modern Ireland, taught at Princeton, Berkeley and Brown universities and published important books on land reform, landlordism and eviction and racial stereotyping of the Irish, both in Britain and the United States.
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Why the long face?

He was one of the richest men in Venice. His ships were everywhere on the seas, bringing silks and spices from the east home and then on to the markets of northern Europe. He had money, he had respect, he had friends. So why wasn’t he happy?
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Who are the Irish?

In the nineteenth century many Irish Protestants, like Barack Obama’s ancestor Fulmouth Kearney, a shoemaker from Co Offaly, continued to emigrate to America. Others with a Catholic background became Protestant, such as Ronald Reagan, brought up in the faith of his Presbyterian mother.
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A Timely Death

The great Austrian writer Joseph Roth fled Germany in 1933 to take refuge in Paris, from which haven he never tired of attacking the Nazis. He was fortunate enough to die, eighty years ago today, before German forces and their repressive apparatus entered the city.
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Sleeping with the Enemy

The party system of European states, George Soros argues, continues to reflect the capital-labour divisions that mattered in the 19th and 20th centuries. But the cleavage that matters most today is the one between pro- and anti-European forces. Well up to a point, Mr Soros.
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Eastward Ho!

Peter Sirr prowls the tangled history and contemporary reality of Dublin’s Docklands.
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Sharp Right Ahead

European social democracy has lost ground in recent years, in spite of a notable success in Spain last month. Social democrats in Denmark, which goes to the polls next month, are offering ‘muscular’ policies on immigration and integration, making them sound very like the populist far right.
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Omani novelist wins Man Booker International

Jokha Alharthi's novel 'Celestial Bodies' provides readers with 'access to ideas and thoughts and experiences you aren’t normally given in English', according to the judges. The £50,000 prize money will be shared equally between Alharthi and her translator, Marilyn Booth.
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