Dublin Review of Books
The Dublin Review of Books is a free online journal of ideas, appearing quarterly. It publishes chiefly review-essays (“long-form” essays, generally from 3,000 to 6,000 words), which in most but not all cases are tied to recently published books, usually but not always in English. Its particular interests and strengths lie chiefly in literature and history, but it also publishes in the fields of politics, economics, sociology, music, visual arts and science. Many, perhaps most, of the review’s contributors are university teachers, but it sees itself not so much as an academic review as a bridge between the academy and a wider readership of intelligent citizens. In general, between a third and a half of its content is related to Ireland and Irish questions. Otherwise, the review takes a very strong interest in Europe, its literary and cultural heritage, its turbulent twentieth century history, and the future of its institutions and forms of government.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline based a literary reputation on transgression. He was a prototypical troll, contemptuous of the truth, indefatigable in saying the unsayable, and couching his hatred in irony. And like trolls, he poses a dilemma: engage or ignore?
Ireland, Poland and the Western Balkans after the EP election
The European elections have been key to determining citizens’ priorities, albeit with one significant caveat in Ireland. In Poland, voters clearly care more about social welfare than abstract issues like rule of law. And issues of real consequence for the Western Balkans may finally be addressed, now that the elections are over.
The smugness of some Irish commentary on Brexit is ill-advised, writes Maurice Earls. Brexit is not an aberration but the expression of a deep-rooted cultural attitude – one that won’t simply disappear under the wheel of progress. Failure to grasp this could prove dangerous for the European Union.
‘Il Mulino’ calls on all Europeans; ‘Dublin Review of Books’ advocates a clean break; ‘Esprit’ hears first hand from whistle-blowers; ‘Index on Censorship’ reports on local news worldwide; and ‘Revolver Revue’ talks about the things that cannot be forgiven.
Poland, Cyprus and Ireland before the EP election
In the run up to the European Parliamentary elections in May, editors from the Eurozine network will be reporting on national debates from across the EU. First up in the series are views from Kraków, Nicosia and Dublin.
The tales of Austrian greatness and ethnic purity conflict with current-day Vienna’s diversity. Enda O’Doherty confronts touristic narratives with the controversies of Austrian history.
‘Soundings’ gets down to the nitty gritty of opposition; ‘Czas Kultury’ says LGBT+ in Poland has lost its way; ‘Dublin Review of Books’ reflects on Trumpian neediness and British moralism; ‘dérive’ examines informality in Vienna, Belgrade and Paris; ‘Atlas’ considers religious atheists, social outcasts and a cause without rebels; and ‘New Literary Observer’ closes in on Franco Moretti’s distant reading.
The ‘Irish slaves meme’– assertions that Irish immigrants to the US were once slaves – has been mobilized by the alt-right to promote a white nationalist agenda based on claims of victimhood. Yet its popularity cannot simply be blamed on the online propaganda of white supremacist groups, argues Bryan Fanning.
Understanding Brexit means understanding the history of English exceptionalism, writes Maurice Earls, editor of ‘Dublin Review of Books’. Anti-Catholicism, maritime expansionism, wartime heroism: the myth of splendid isolation is the common thread. With a hard Brexit looming, however, England may yet come around to the benefits of team-play.
The break-down in the latest round of talks between Greek and Turkish Cyprus has frustrated hopes about an imminent end to the decades-old conflict. However, comparison with the Irish peace process suggests that a solution could still be a generation away.
‘Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik’ takes a leaf out of Kohl’s book; ‘Vagant’ reruns the Scandinavian experiment; ‘Dublin Review of Books’ suggests an Irish precedent for the Cyprus question; ‘Index on Censorship’ asks what 1917 means for freedom today; ‘Razpotja’ measures rhetoric against reality; ‘Merkur’ challenges middle-class aversion to party politics; ‘Ny Tid’ designs the best-ever utopia; ‘La Revue nouvelle’ understands algorithmocracy; ‘Dialogi’ looks at interculturalism in Slovene theatre; and ‘Ord&Bild’ suspects that Neanderthals were more easy-going.
Whatever happened to the lively and apparently healthy democratic process in Central Europe, during the decade that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall? Answers are more likely to be found in economic circumstances, argues Enda O’Doherty, than supposedly innate tendencies to reaction.
On the political writings of George Orwell
George Orwell is often credited with elevating political writing to an art. However, writes Enda O’Doherty, it might be useful to separate out the terms “political” and “writing”. For while his writing is undoubtedly of the highest order, the quality of his political judgment remains questionable.
Go out to your local bookshop, advises Enda O’Doherty, and get in close with those Books You Haven’t Read, the Books To Read Next Summer and The Books To Fill Out Those Small Gaps That Are Still There On Your Shelves. Don’t come away empty-handed. They may not be there forever.
Urban politics in Brazil
Brazil may have been a favourite to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But the tournament failed to be the host country’s promised game-changer, writes Tom Hennigan. As triumphs of the tropical modernist movement continue to be swamped by new development, the dismal quality of urban life remains a sore point.
Like Joyce’s Ulysses, Nabokov’s Lolita was once smuggled through customs in suitcases. Tim Groenland tells the unlikely story of how Nabokov’s classic ever came to be published in the first place and then go on to become a commercial success.