Denis Donoghue is Emeritus University Professor of English and American Letters at NYU. (April 2016)


Ireland: ‘A Terrible Beauty Is Born’

Students being drilled at St. Enda’s, the school founded by Patrick Pearse, Dublin, circa 1910. The teacher leading them is probably Con Colbert, who was later executed for his part in the Easter Rising.

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890–1923

by R.F. Foster
On the morning of Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, members of the Irish Volunteers, a nationalist military organization, and the Citizen Army, a group of trade union volunteers, numbering in all about four hundred, marched into Sackville Street—now O’Connell Street—in Dublin and seized the most notable public building, the General Post Office. Uncertain in number, they were certain in aim: to declare a sovereign Irish republic that was independent of Great Britain.

Coming in from the Cold

The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

by Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen has written three novels, The Twenty-seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), and—his best to date—The Corrections(2001). A book of essays, How to Be Alone, was published in 2002. And now we have a memoir, a “personal history.” He has also given many interviews, some of which have been …

A Version of Pastoral

All Will Be Well: A Memoir

by John McGahern
All Will Be Well is John McGahern’s account of his life, from a grim childhood to the start of his career as a novelist with the publication of The Barracks (1963) and The Dark (1965), books that established him as one of Ireland’s most prominent writers. He was born on …

Brotherhood without Fatherhood

Why I Am a Catholic

by Garry Wills
“I am a born Catholic,” Garry Wills reports. And in addition: I have never stopped going to Mass, saying the rosary, studying the Gospels. I have never even considered leaving the church. I would lose my faith in God before losing my faith in it. That reference to the rosary …

The World Seen and Half-Seen

The Hill Bachelors

by William Trevor

Death in Summer (1998)

by William Trevor
William Trevor is an Irish writer by birth, and I take it he considers himself an Irish writer still, although he left Ireland in 1954 and has settled in Devon. He was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, on May 24, 1928 (but I have seen another birthday ascribed to him), …

The Fabulous Yeats Boys

Jack Yeats

by Bruce Arnold

The Life of W.B. Yeats

by Terence Brown
On May 17, 1916, John Butler Yeats in New York wrote to his favorite daughter, Lily, in Dundrum: So Lord Justice Holmes is dead. Several years long ago he dined with me when we lived near Sandymount. A few days before I left Dublin for London in 1867 he invited …

Lives of a Poet

Crux: The Letters of James Dickey

edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman

James Dickey: The Selected Poems

edited with an introduction by Robert Kirschten
In November 1968 James Dickey told readers of the Atlantic Monthly that Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) was “in my opinion the greatest poet this country has yet produced.” He also took the opportunity to rebuke Beatrice Roethke for allegedly setting a limit on Allan Seager’s disclosures in The Glass House, his …

Frost: The Icon and the Man

Robert Frost: A Life

by Jay Parini

Robert Frost and the Challenge of Darwin

by Robert Faggen
In the middle of June 1957 Robert Frost arrived in Dublin at the end of a goodwill tour for the State Department: he had been to London, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, and Durham. His next assignment was to receive an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland; then he was …