John Ashbery: The Syntax of Time
September 6th, 2017, 01:30 PM
What marked John Ashbery out from most of his contemporaries was his extraordinary immersion in syntax as the prime organising force of his verse. Many readers noted the parallels between his mature writings and the late novels of Henry James.
Socrates and 'O Jogo Bonito'
September 3rd, 2017, 01:30 PM
The Brazilian footballer - and medical doctor - Sócrates was a hero not just on the pitch but off, and his courageous engagements with politics in a dark era offer a good introduction to the country's recent history.
Ivan Illich: An Exchange
September 3rd, 2017, 01:30 PM
David Cayley takes issue with a review of a book on the philosopher Ivan Illich. Seamus O’Mahony, the author of the review, responds to the criticism.
The First Irexit
August 19th, 2017, 01:30 PM
In 1922 Southern Irish unionists saw themselves as a cultured, cosmopolitan people, repositories of uprightness and fair dealing, bearers of values which could well be smothered by superstition, greed and chicanery should Ireland leave the United Kingdom.
A European at Eighty
August 16th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The historian Peter Burke has devoted his life to scholarly synthesis, specialising in short, densely argued and concise books which range across borders, both geographical and academic.
It's wonderful to be here
June 27th, 2017, 01:30 PM
Philip Larkin dated the sexual revolution to 1963 and the Beatles' first LP. Perhaps, but the album that came along fifty years ago this month was revolutionary in more than one sense.
From ‘How’ to ‘What’ in Politics
June 13th, 2017, 01:30 PM
Political debate in Ireland is conducted at a juvenile level of jeer and insult which bores the public even more than it does the TDs themselves. Greater civility is required, but an exploration of what shared norms as a society we wish to live by would also be beneficial.
Eddy and Me
June 11th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The success of a recent novel set in the depressed northern French region of Picardy reminds an Irish writer of her own novel set in the same village and focusing on the experience of a young Irish girl at the end of the 1950s. Not so much has changed in the culture in the intervening decades.
First Impressions
May 26th, 2017, 01:30 PM
It is not unusual today to pick up a book that is written by an Italian, published in London and printed in China. But the business of printing from the outset was no respecter of national boundaries and indeed had many globalist aspects as early as the sixteenth century.
Election Fever
May 15th, 2017, 01:30 PM
Scottish electors have been called to the polls five times in the last three years and will soon be voting for a sixth time. Society has become intensely politicised, chiefly to the benefit of the SNP. Otherwise the strongly unionist Tories are recovering, while Labour’s miseries continue.
All Change in France
May 12th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The second round of the French presidential elections confirmed some of the voting trends of the first. Now we move on to parliamentary elections, which are likely to usher in major changes in the political landscape.
The Several Faces of France
May 1st, 2017, 01:30 PM
It is rather obvious perhaps that the results of a general election will put on display the divisions in a country. What is interesting about the results of the first round of the French presidential election is the salience of divisions not just of class but of geography, in particular those between urban and rural electorates.
In and Out of Fashion
April 27th, 2017, 01:30 PM
James Clarence Mangan’s reputation saw a significant revival in the early twentieth century, and another around the bicentenary of his birth in 2003. Today he is seen as prefiguring some of the great poets of the later nineteenth century and is frequently read as something of a proto-modernist voice.
Fahrenheit 451
April 9th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The ritual burning of books is generally considered to be a fairly radical act of censorship. So why is an organisation that campaigns for free speech publishing an argument defending the perpetrator of such an act?
The Law's Delays
April 9th, 2017, 01:30 PM
Charles Dickens was no great admirer of the practices of the legal system. Most notably in 'Bleak House', he exposed its inefficiencies and injustices. That was then of course, but in many respects the law today is still Dickensian.
Bright Young Things
March 25th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The world of the wealthy young people who made up English high society in the middle of the last century was frequently a gay enough place. But it wasn't a great place to be gay.
Robert Silvers: 1929-2017
March 25th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The longtime editor of 'The New York Review of Books', who died this week, still working at 87, was simply the best in the business, a business that it is somewhat surprising can still be carried out in the 21st century.
Where Credit Is Due
March 22nd, 2017, 01:30 PM
TK Whitaker may have been generally far-seeing as regards the Irish economy, but one thing he did not foresee, and indeed looked with scepticism upon, was the soon to be very successful Irish credit union movement.
The Long Road
March 6th, 2017, 01:30 PM
There are two views on whether the Arab-Israeli and Northern Ireland conflicts can be compared, with lessons being learned from the Irish peace process. One says the two situations are incommensurable as each is unique. The other says one car crash is pretty much like another.
The Enemy Within
February 27th, 2017, 01:30 PM
In the late fifteenth century, huge numbers of Spanish and Portuguese Jews were expelled by the Inquisition, while others were judicially murdered. After Brexit, the Iberian countries are wondering if any of those 'Sephardic' Jews who settled in Britain might like to come back.
Why craic gets up my nose
February 26th, 2017, 01:30 PM
A generation or two ago, wherever people gathered in Ulster crack was seldom in short supply. It was often powerful; then it moved south, where it was mighty, even ninety, and became craic. Today you’ll find craic wherever songs are sung. It’s as Irish as Guinness, but curiously you won’t find it in Dinneen's dictionary.
The Way We Die
February 13th, 2017, 01:30 PM
Seamus O'Mahony, a gastroenterologist based in Cork, is one of the most prolific of contributors to this review. His well-received study of the medicalisation of death has just been published in paperback.
Tzvetan Todorov: 1939-2017
February 10th, 2017, 01:30 PM
The Franco-Bulgarian thinker and writer had a long career as literary theorist, historian of ideas, political thinker and art historian. He retained throughout his life a deep commitment to democracy and a free and tolerant society.
A Modest Proposal
January 21st, 2017, 01:30 PM
In petitioning for a second wife, George Orwell did not oversell the goods, noting that he was quite old and a bit of a crock. Still, surely someone somewhere must have wanted to become the widow of a significant literary man.
You Have To Laugh
January 8th, 2017, 01:30 PM
In Stalin's Russia an ill-judged joke could land you in the Gulag. Later on jokes could still be dangerous but were also in a sense a safety valve, a relatively harmless way for the downtrodden to let off steam.
In the Bleak Midwinter
December 20th, 2016, 01:30 PM
In the winter of 1784 in East Hampshire, it got so cold, the naturalist Gilbert White observed, that the cats became electrified.
Right to the Bitter End
December 18th, 2016, 01:30 PM
Asked what books he read, Donald Trump replied that he read chapters - chapters of what is not recorded. But should we feel guilty if we don't finish every book we start?
The Revolution Eats Its Children
December 10th, 2016, 01:30 PM
When you play with men, some of them get eaten, Napoleon said. The French leftist Régis Debray was convinced that some of his revolutionary friends got eaten by the Cuban revolution – for reasons of state.
John Montague: 1929-2016
December 10th, 2016, 01:30 PM
The New York-born poet wrote a moving poem of memory of the small place in which he was brought up by relations in a remote part of Co Tyrone.
A Painful Case
December 9th, 2016, 01:30 PM
In 1941, German Jewish mother and daughter refugees Margarete and Irene Brann decided to end their lives in London. The mother died but the daughter survived, and was charged with her mother's murder. On this day 75 years ago she was sentenced to hang.