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

Slim Pickings for the Soft Left

France has long been a beacon for social democrats but we may be looking at the beginning of the fall of social France. The political elites of right and left increasingly conform to Peter Mair’s idea of the cartel party, but the politically crucial fact is that they conform on the right of the spectrum.
Jan 26, 2014, 22:58 PM

Governing in Hard Times

John Bruton
Ireland’s first independent government was faced with the ruinous cost of the Civil War, low levels of educational attainment and a tax base heavily eroded by emigration. While they could perhaps have done more to develop the economy, they succeeded in establishing a stable democracy and, in a Europe that was plunging into authoritarianism, transferred power peacefully to their successors.
Jan 26, 2014, 22:01 PM

The Listener

Gerald Dawe
The gifts that those who knew him would expect to encounter, intelligence, wit and playfulness, are in ample evidence in Dennis O’Driscoll’s posthumous prose collection, as is his conviction of the central importance of poetry and what it can do.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:58 PM

Recovering Princes, Respected Prelates, Reduced Poets

John Minahane
There appears to be some repressive force, almost an enchantment, affecting academic thinking. The experts cannot or will not suspect, let alone address, the crucial position of poets in Gaelic civilisation and in Ireland’s enigmatic history.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:48 PM

Making the Link, Breaking the Link

John Swift
The common religious outlook of the English and Scots, albeit favouring different forms of Protestantism, produced conditions that were more favourable to political union than was the case in Ireland, where the majority continued to cling stubbornly to its Roman Catholic inheritance.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:31 PM

Frolicking in the Ether

Ailbhe Darcy
Ciaran Perry’s second poetry collection has feel of a project wholly preconceived and systematically carried out, almost like a doctoral dissertation. Fortunately, he has knitted so skilfully that the sense of a systematic project pales, in the end, against the sense of an achievement.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:27 PM

A Cold Literature

Antony Tatlow
The writer, Chinese Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian insists, is not a prophet. He must tell the truth and articulate difference. The only criteria are aesthetic quality and truth to the emotions. “Cold literature” does not seek to change the world.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:20 PM

Tales from Bective

Jana Fischerova
None of Mary Lavin’s books was actually ever banned, but some critics argue that in order to survive in an era of harsh censorship she may have learned to rely on devices such as ellipsis, allusion and irony more extensively than would otherwise have been the case.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:16 PM