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


Tadhg Hoey
The internet was born around the same time as Roisin Kiberd herself. In ‘The Disconnect’, she traces its progress, from being ‑ just possibly ‑ an instrument for social good to its eventual emergence as just another way to make huge profits by exploiting our collective vulnerabilities.
Mar 3, 2021, 19:30 PM

Go with the Flow

Alice Stevens
In 2016, the Colombian constitutional court accorded rights to the Atrato river. The historic decision affirmed that nature itself had legal standing. A river is not just a source of water or a channel for transportation but a living entity inextricably linked to the destiny of all those touched by it.
Mar 3, 2021, 14:59 PM

But Is It Art?

Robert Ballagh
It is curious how ‘mimesis’, the ability to accurately depict nature, ‘skill’, the deployment of acquired manual dexterity, and ‘beauty’, formerly key elements in judging art, have been downgraded by the art industry gatekeepers in favour of the charms of the ‘innovative’ and the ‘cutting edge’.
Feb 4, 2021, 18:47 PM

Red-brick Midas

John Fleming
In John Cooper Clarke’s 1960s Manchester, shirts came in three colours: white, grubby and filthy. Coloured shirts were for spivs, queers, Latinos, and worst of all, teddy boys, who by virtue of their hard-nut reputation as blade artists could wear whatever they liked.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:12 PM

You Lose Again

George O’Brien
If country music is three chords and the truth, that truth seems to be couched in a comprehensive, many-shaded rhetoric of subjection, filled with stories of misguided departures, wrong turnings, the weakness of the flesh and, especially, how bad it hurts to feel alone.
Jul 2, 2020, 12:54 PM

Roads Both Taken

Sean Sheehan
Novelist William Gibson likes to throw you into the narrative and semiotic deep end of two worlds in which history has bifurcated. Learning to navigate involves slow reading and getting your head around new concepts and associated lexicons, but it is worth the effort.
Jul 2, 2020, 11:44 AM

Who Will Save Us?

Kevin Power
As ‘end of the world’ scenarios assume increasing plausibility, the canonisation of Greta Thunberg becomes completely intelligible. It’s just one of myriad ways in which the religious imagination continues to shape the secular world, like a restless sleeper disturbing a thin blanket.
Apr 2, 2020, 14:46 PM

The church of unbelievers

Mairéad Carew
The language of religion is poetry, metaphor, symbolism and allegory. Scientists and religious people alike are both attempting to understand the deep mysteries of life and the aggressive, mindless jeering of the so-called ‘new atheists’ will get us nowhere.
Dec 5, 2019, 17:02 PM

Born to provoke

Conor Linnie
Lucian Freud delighted in shocking his acquaintances with a series of stunts straight from the surrealist handbook. Dead and mounted animals littered his squat in a decaying Regency terrace house. Kenneth Clark’s wife was understandably appalled to find two dead monkeys in the oven.
Oct 29, 2019, 19:27 PM

Alarms and Excursions

Sean Sheehan
John Ruskin may be little known today, but his warnings about the effects of industrial pollution in the Victorian age still read well, while his writings and observations on art on his trips to Italy, and particularly Venice and Padua, have been hugely influential.
Jul 4, 2019, 09:34 AM

The Valley Has Decided

Farrel Corcoran
Big tech sees a future in which ‘applied utopistics’ will monitor, and monetise, every human activity. With their deep pockets and considerable political clout, nothing will stand in their way, not governments or regulators, and certainly not any old-fashioned notions of privacy or human dignity.
Jul 4, 2019, 09:28 AM

The Cat’s Pounce

Catherine Marshall
Linda Nochlin considers one interpretation after another of Courbet’s ‘The Painter’s Studio’. Teasing her prey, she draws out successive meanings, delivering stylish and brilliant asides on the social, intellectual, political and art-historical context, until finally she moves in for the kill.
May 30, 2019, 20:26 PM

Directions to the Undiscovered Country

Paul O’Mahoney
We may, rather prosaically, describe death as an adverse health outcome. Or we may prefer to think the deceased has gone on the way of truth, ‘ar shlí na fírinne’. Whichever view we embrace, it’s something that will happen to us all.
Mar 4, 2019, 19:47 PM

Of Gardens and their Spirit

Brandon C Yen
Apart from the appeal of beauty and the medicinal or alimentary uses of plants, gardens reflect humanity’s attempt to understand its place in the world and to regain an edenic sense of belonging. As such, gardening is a pursuit that crosses national, cultural, ethnic and linguistic boundaries.
Feb 4, 2019, 13:56 PM

Our Gods and Theirs

Patrick Claffey
Religious belief has the power to define, but also to divide peoples. While it can be seen as in some respects a retrogressive force, there is no basis for the secularist view that it is on the way out. As Régis Debray put it, ‘we can no more disinvent religion than we can the atom bomb’.
Jan 5, 2019, 12:08 PM

Once Upon a Space

Luke Gibbons
One of the main concerns of Brian O’Doherty’s collected essays is to raise questions about the retreat into subjectivity responsible for the cult of the personality in the art world. In an interview, O’Doherty confessed that he ‘never wished to make art from the degraded slums of my inner life’.
Dec 6, 2018, 13:37 PM

The Integrity of the Past

Donal Moloney
A US library association has removed a classic children’s author’s name from a prestigious award. The move derives from an ideology that rejects the essential otherness of the past, instead demanding compliance and the burial of ‘outdated attitudes’ so deeply we will never know they existed.
Dec 6, 2018, 13:08 PM

The Kingdom of Bohemia

Conor Linnie
Cypriot restaurants, Italian barbers and French cafés gave London’s Soho a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the 1950s that stood out from the pervasive drabness. Dublin too had its artists’ haunts, with the link between the two cities taking particular form in the friendship between painters Lucian Freud and Patrick Swift.
Nov 10, 2018, 09:13 AM

Nose Stuck in a Book

Siobhán Parkinson
A certain kind of child can be sceptical of the benefits of fresh air, sturdy play or hand-me-down versions of femininity or masculinity, especially when a vast and various world is within reach simply through knowing how 26 letters variously combine and which way up to hold a book.
Jun 8, 2018, 14:50 PM

Dead Beat Descendants

John Fleming
Mark E Smith’s voice sounded like an anti-London weapon. The danger of his Manchester accent was quite distinct from the dense, literary ambition of his words and phrases; distinct too from the prevailing sneer of take-control-of-the-means-of-production punk and post-punk.
Jun 8, 2018, 14:17 PM