In this beautifully produced book, Siobhan Kilfeather delves into the history and literature of a most historical and literary capital. She touches on an array of landmarks, in both space and time, from Trinity College to Dublin Zoo, from Handels Messiah to the Playboy riots, and from Robert Emmets rebellion to Pope John Paul IIs visit. Along the way, she also unearths such neglected gems as the fifteenth-century coronation in the city of Lambert Simnel, pretender to the English throne; the fate of Spaldings Diving Bell; the visit of Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and former slave; and the demonstrations organised by Maud Gonne and James Connolly during Queen Victorias jubilee year, 1897.
Dublin: A Cultural and Literary History is not the first book that takes the visitor to Dublin by the hand and leads them through her winding streets. It is, however, the most eloquent, the most intimate. It captures the spirit of the city in a lyrical, lively style that will inform and entertain visitors and locals alike.
From the Foreword, by Terry Eagleton:
This book is a history of Dublin, with a remarkable feel for the way the past is embodied in bridges and alleyways, sculpture and slums. But in classical Dublin manner it also ambles and diverges, pausing to illuminate the reader about a whole range of subjects from duels to theatres, maternity hospitals to prisons, the Book of Kells to Bono. Politics, industry, painting, architecture, feminism, poetry, famine, armed insurrection: these are a mere handful of the topics explored in this extraordinarily rich account. Like all the finest surveys, it combines a deep affection for its subject with an astutely critical eye. There are a good many guides to contemporary Dublin, and a shelf-load of histories of the place; but to combine the two, as Kilfeather has done in this book, is a rare achievement.