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


Mary O’Donnell
Although Annemarie Ní Churreáin’s poems often centre on ‘subjects’ and ‘issues’, the strength of her work derives from a perceived absence of agenda. There may well be an agenda, but thanks to poetic language true to its task, we believe in these poems as poetry.
Jan 8, 2018, 17:33 PM

Making a History of the Homeplace

Breandán Mac Suibhne
An extract from ‘The End of Outrage’, an intimate history of a small southwest Donegal community around the time of the Famine which focuses not on the relations between the rich and the poor but between poor families themselves, land, inheritance and emigration.
Jan 8, 2018, 17:28 PM

Poetry, Exile, Homecoming

Keith Payne
After much wandering, there is a sense of homecoming in Michael O’Loughlin’s later poems, but more the poet coming home to himself than any facile notion of nationhood. This is a collection which places O’Loughlin deservedly within the canon of Irish poetry.
Jan 8, 2018, 17:18 PM

A Great Delight, A Little Load

Carlo Gébler
Peter Fallon’s version of the Greek poet Hesiod’s best-known work avoids the traps of exaggerated fidelity to ancient poetic protocol and wilful anachronism. There is also modesty in his practice: this is about Hesiod, and admiration of what Fallon can do is not allowed to get in the way.
Jan 8, 2018, 17:04 PM

Not All There

Dan A O’Brien
Sean O’Reilly’s truncated, misshapen stories are a radical leave-taking from the Irish literary tradition ‑ more Flannery than Frank O’Connor ‑ while in other ways they could not be anything other than Irish, sharing much with the stranger work of Donal Ryan and Rob Doyle.
Jan 8, 2018, 16:50 PM

Judging Fintan Judging Shaw

Anthony Roche
Most Shavians steer clear of discussing Shaw’s final decades. It is then that he starts cuddling up to dictators, of whom there was no shortage at the time. Beatrice Webb blamed his admiration for Mussolini on 'his intellectual isolation and weakness for flattery'.
Jan 8, 2018, 16:12 PM

The Long Fellow

Mary E Daly
During his later career, Eamon de Valera only invoked Ulster when it was politically expedient. His latest biographer notes that in 1921-22 he regarded the Irish Free State as a permanent arrangement and the Ulster settlement as temporary – though the reverse turned out to be the case.
Jan 8, 2018, 15:49 PM

No Hope of an End

Kevin Stevens
Nicole Krauss has made her mark with fiction that is technically daring, emotionally vibrant, and unafraid of the largest subjects. She is fresh and individual but knows from where she comes. Her most recent novel has Philip Roth’s influence all over it, while Kafka’s shade hovers in the background.
Jan 8, 2018, 15:42 PM

The People’s Alfie

Tom Wall
Alfie Byrne was a public representative for more than 50 years, a member of both the House of Commons and Dáil Éireann, and lord mayor of Dublin ten times. He was hugely popular, yet perhaps as much in spite of as because of his Catholic, conservative and Anglophile politics.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:42 PM

The Philosopher as Private Collector

Catalin Partenie
The Romanian philosopher Alexandru Dragomir was a pupil of Heidegger in Germany until 1943, when he was conscripted into the Romanian army. In the communist period, he had to hide this background. He never published, but after his death, almost a hundred notebooks were found among his belongings.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:32 PM

Backs to the Wall

Andy Pollak
The widely held view of the Northern Protestant working class is that it is reactionary, prone to violence and possesses little that could be called culture other than marching bands. This is certainly the view that has been promoted by republicans. The reality is a little more nuanced.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:17 PM

Drama in the Catacombs

Máirín Nic Eoin
A study of Irish-language theatre in the mid-twentieth century shows that in spite of considerable difficulties associated with the sociological realities of language capacities in the country there was, in particular in the 1960s, a quite thriving Gaelic stage culture.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:08 PM

Defending Freedom

John Swift
Contemporary critics of the human rights tradition argue either that it is a racket for the benefit of lawyers or that it is based on impractical idealism. But we should not forget what a dictatorship looks like; to fight for civilised decency is still important, and success is not impossible.
Jan 8, 2018, 14:02 PM

The People’s Story

Fergus O’Ferrall
A comprehensive new volume of essays on Ireland’s social history since 1740 claims to offer a new interpretation of the country’s history. Certainly it contains much excellent and groundbreaking material, but it furnishes a starting point for interpretation rather than the finished article.
Jan 8, 2018, 13:49 PM

The New Law of War

Gerry Kearns
The US military presents the Middle East as permanently unstable, ignoring its own continual interventions in the region and portraying it rather as an external place from which the United States is repeatedly threatened and to which it is periodically required to return.
Jan 8, 2018, 13:34 PM

Behind the Facade

Cathal Moore
A posthumously published work by an eminent architect and architectural historian gives a valuable insight into the practices of building, the divisions of trades and the sourcing of materials in Ireland during the Georgian period.
Jan 8, 2018, 13:18 PM