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

A Necessary Restitution

Billy Mills
The English poets of the 1940s, sandwiched between Auden, Spender, MacNeice and the main poets of the 1930s and the later development of ‘the Movement’, tend to be overlooked today. The publication of  a collected poems of one important figure, Terence Tiller, is very welcome.
Feb 9, 2017, 09:02 AM

Sign Language

John Fleming
In his celebrated 1959 work ‘Mythologies’, Roland Barthes handed the reader a torch with which to illuminate for himself the semantic corners of his personal world. Peter Conrad, in his ‘tales for our times’, walks in the steps of the master and proves himself an entirely worthy successor.
Jan 5, 2017, 19:13 PM

Birds of a Feather

Bryce Evans
At one formal dinner Ezra Pound became so bored he ate the floral decoration. At a restaurant meal with Robert Frost, he decided to show his fellow poet ju-jitsu, grabbing his wrist and throwing him over his head. No wonder he was starting to get on Yeats’s nerves.
Dec 7, 2016, 11:12 AM

Fictions of Otherness

Peter Sirr
Poets are of course free to do what they want. But a translation which requires the disappearance of the original poet, where we can never be sure which bits are invented, starts to feel like the kind of colonial gesture only a dominant language could sanction.
Dec 7, 2016, 11:06 AM

Glorious Luminary

James Ward
A new study provides impressively wide-ranging commentary on William Blake’s sources, influences, and working methods, as well as his cultural afterlives. Blake was not just an eccentric but a genius and visionary who was repeatedly debilitated by paranoia and depression.
Nov 9, 2016, 18:39 PM

Sins of the Advocate

Frank Callanan
The Irish-American lawyer John Quinn defended Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of the ‘Little Review’ from prosecution for publishing extracts from ‘Ulysses’. The prosecution led to the effective banning of the book in 1921. Quinn’s defence strategy left a lot to be desired.
Nov 9, 2016, 18:21 PM

Angry Old Man

Brian Davey
Friends of Evelyn Waugh often wondered how he could reconcile his beastly behaviour with his deep faith. Waugh was not exactly apologetic: ‘You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid, I would hardly be a human being.’
Nov 9, 2016, 18:05 PM

Militant Agnostic

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
A short book from a veteran British philosopher and populariser of philosophy can be seen as a sustained argument against not religion nor science but the mistaken belief that defending the Enlightenment value of Reason necessitates insisting that all darkness can be explained away.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:33 PM

Through the Looking Glass

Mark S Burrows
The surprises inherent in poetry serve the important function of unsettling us, of luring us into what Rilke spoke of as ‘the open’. They might even succeed in confounding our certainties, and thus widening our capacities of perception and experience.
Aug 30, 2016, 09:35 AM

Travels with William

Karl Whitney
The writer William Burroughs, an experimentalist in life as well as fiction, assumes a heroic position in a new book by British neurosurgeon Andrew Lees, representing the intersection of art and science, of empiricism and experimentalism.
Aug 30, 2016, 09:15 AM

Thanks but No Thanks

Mary Rose Doorly
Jenny Diski was a disturbed teenager abandoned by her parents when Doris Lessing took her into her home. She was told there was no need to feel grateful and offered freedom, space and intellectual stimulation. Love, affection and reassurance, however, were not part of the deal.
Aug 30, 2016, 09:03 AM

Free Long Looking

Thomas Berenato
As a Jesuit novice, Gerard Manley Hopkins once enclosed a feather in a letter to his mother, noting that ‘no one is ever so poor that he is not … owner of the skies and stars and everything wild that is to be found on the earth’. A look costs nothing, even a long look.
Jul 13, 2016, 09:30 AM

The Usual Terror

Kevin Stevens
Don De Lillo seems to suggest in his new novel that literature has failed us, failed to correct the inadequacy of language or interrupt the downward curve of history. Yet that implication is denied by the work, not just by the consolation of philosophy but by the joy of his near faultless craft.
Jul 13, 2016, 09:19 AM

An Obstinate People

Enda O’Doherty
The greatest Jewish crime, for early modern Christians, was the rejection and killing of Christ. But they also had a long list of other faults they found, from physical marks, ugliness and proneness to illness to moral failings such as greed, clannishness and lack of manly courage.
Jul 13, 2016, 07:56 AM

What Is To Be Done?

Paul O’Mahoney
The philosopher Slavoj Žižek challenges what he sees as a facile left-liberal consensus, asking how many immigrants from Islamic countries really want to be integrated into the norms and practices of Western societies. What if the obstacle to integration is not Western racism?
Jun 9, 2016, 23:18 PM

Here I Stand

Patrick Claffey
Martin Luther believed the papacy to be one of the great human agencies through which Satan operated on earth. This goes a long way to explaining the virulence of his polemic against the Catholic church, which still has the power to cause some offence.
Jun 9, 2016, 17:15 PM

In Two Minds

David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan
The publication of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ upset many fans of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. Nevertheless it may well present a more accurate picture of what is actually involved in practising law and of the conflict between purely procedural law and justice.
May 5, 2016, 18:35 PM

Love and Other Matters

Deirdre Serjeantson
Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher.
Apr 1, 2016, 11:24 AM

The First and Last Word

Aiden O’Reilly
The absence of a plot will no doubt annoy some readers of Tom McCarthy’s new novel, but others will barely notice in their search for a thematic unity to its various obsessions and recurring imagery.
Mar 6, 2016, 15:23 PM

The High-Wire Man

Enda O’Doherty
Joseph Roth took stylistic risks in his journalism, but they almost always paid off. He became one of the most highly respected contributors to the German press – until 1933, when, as an anti-Nazi and a Jew, he suddenly found himself unemployable. He died in exile in France in 1939.
Mar 6, 2016, 13:50 PM