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

Wandering in the Desert

Ruth Gilligan
Joyce is just one Irish writer who is alert to the Exodus story and its specific resonance within a national context. Hence the parallel between Moses and Parnell, each of whom ‘led a turbulent and unstable people from the house of shame to the verge of the Promised Land’.
Jul 11, 2017, 14:03 PM

The Bully and the ‘Beast’

Jon Smith
Shouting and tantrums are common in Fleet Street newsrooms, but it is only at the ‘Daily Mail’ that swearing and abuse have been elevated to a culture. Its editor makes no secret of this behaviour, apparently believing that ‘shouting creates energy and energy creates great headlines’.
Jul 10, 2017, 19:18 PM

At Home in Exile

Scott Beauchamp
Czesław Miłosz may perhaps be understood as the saint of paradox. He was a man who documented his century by standing apart from it, a poet who wrote in Polish while living in France and America, a sensualist who embraced the spiritual, a man who reached home by running away.
Jul 10, 2017, 19:14 PM

Sweet and Sour

Anthony Roche
The trajectory of Molly Keane’s life was different from most other people’s and most other writers’: the tragedy – the early death of her husband ‑came early and the triumph late. But what a triumph – three sparkling and successful late novels written in her late seventies and eighties.
Jul 10, 2017, 19:05 PM

The Ascent of Women

Ann Kennedy Smith
‘The average standard of mental power in man must be above that of women,’ Charles Darwin asserted. The opinion was perhaps surprising given the number of talented and active women he knew personally, as well as the wide-ranging social disadvantages they faced as a sex.
Jul 10, 2017, 19:00 PM

A Life of Noticing

Gerald Dawe
The mastery of American English which we associate with Richard Ford’s fiction – the subtle not-saying, the deflection of painful emotional realities into half-said or half-seen things – is abundantly present in a memoir in which he recalls and recreates the lives of his parents.
Jul 10, 2017, 18:56 PM

The Trap

Clare O'Dea
A compelling and thoroughly researched novel focuses on the experiences of the refugees and the clients of people traffickers as they are ‘processed’ through the British asylum system, often towards a bleak conclusion, while struggling to maintain some dignity and hope.
Jul 10, 2017, 18:49 PM

The Most Distressful Country

Joseph Woods
In the mid-1830s a liberal Hungarian aristocrat and writer made a journey through Ireland. Inspired by Daniel O’Connell’s campaigning, he wrote that England, while being viewed by the world as great and upholding the rights of man, was now ‘trembling before the country she has enslaved’.
Jul 10, 2017, 18:38 PM

Defining Utopia

Philip MacCann
Utopian imaginings were alive and well in eighteenth century Ireland and could be found not just in pamphlets but in vision poems and travellers’ tales, speeches, manifestos and proclamations and the practical improving projects of philanthropic societies like the Dublin Society (later the RDS).
Jul 10, 2017, 17:30 PM

Quick! What Would You Read?

Matthew Parkinson Bennett
Writing is tough, but Annie Dillard doesn’t put on a performance of her struggle to transmute experience into literature. She is a writer who believes – how old-fashioned! – in the possibility of truly powerful literature and its urgent importance, in reaching towards an imagined reader, and touching a real one.
Jul 10, 2017, 17:22 PM

Home Affairs

PJ Drudy
From the 1990s onward the provision of homes for sale or rent was to become almost exclusively market-driven in Ireland. If individuals or families had the ability to pay they could purchase or rent homes. Without resources, however, they could do without.
Jul 10, 2017, 17:16 PM

The Pity of War

Andy Pollak
A study of war across the ages argues that our propensity to engage in such conflicts is not genetically determined but a matter of culture and can be combated by integration, mutual linkages of a practical and beneficial kind, and the elimination of boundaries between interests.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:59 PM

Selfless Radical

Pádraig Yeates
Whether as journalist, actress, propagandist or orator, Helena Molony played a very significant part in socialist, national and women’s struggles in the first half of the twentieth century. Yet for all her tireless activity, personally she could be extremely self-effacing.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:46 PM

What The People Thought

Alan Titley
One will have a very impoverished and distorted view of the history of ‘the long eighteenth century’ if one relies on official documents, ignoring the poetry, songs and compositions of ordinary people, chiefly in the Irish language, which was often the only language of the majority.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:40 PM

Family Troubles

David Blake Knox
A novel set in Ireland and in various of the theatres of the Second World war is based on the historical story of an Irish family of the minor gentry, who, like well over 100,000 other Irish citizens, took part in this conflict, in which nine thousand of them are estimated to have died.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:32 PM

Understanding the Alt-Right

Oisín O’Neill Fagan
Online culture is a strangely proportioned new world, and it needs a map. Into this space comes Angela Nagle’s persuasive essay ‘Kill All Normies’, which charts the frenetic online culture wars of the last decade, marking and delineating their evolving political mutations.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:24 PM

Bohemian Travesty

Tom Wall
The bohemians of Munich, who led its shortlived socialist republic in 1919, ‘are a foreign legion, kept for amusement and fun’, wrote Victor Klemperer. But whatever about their entertainment value in the arts, their contribution to governance was to prove more inane than comic.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:17 PM

A Tale Retold

Sharon Dempsey
The Gothic novel has been entertaining and thrilling readers for centuries and while critics have often rejected it as showy, populist and over-formulaic, readers have responded more positively, returning to the genre first in novels, then in film and television series.
Jul 10, 2017, 16:12 PM