We figure out what paternity means by emulating or reacting against our fathers and their fathers and their fathers’ fathers. Photograph: Getty

Fatherhood is a kind of makey-up thing, it has to be invented every time, but it has come into its own in lockdown During the lockdown, almost e(...)

The US boxer John Carmel Heenan fighting England’s Tom Sayers in 1860

Despite being contested by men named “Wilder” and “Fury”, the latest world heavyweight boxing title bout was a calmer affair than the one that inaugur(...)

 James Joyce: no escaping him, even in Japan. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty

There is no escaping James Joyce, even in Japan. Last weekend there, I learn, not long after the Irish rugby team laboured to victory over Russia, ano(...)

Cardinal Henry Newman: his journey to Dublin began with an invitation in 1851 from Archbishop Cullen of Armagh, later archbishop of Dublin, to advise on the proposed establishment of a Catholic university.

On Friday, November 3rd, 1854, the Catholic University, under its rector John Henry Newman, opened its doors at 86 St Stephen’s Green in Dublin to rec(...)

 Hugh O’Conor - ‘the cheery Dubliner has emerged as one of our busiest hyphenates.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

Hugh O’Conor is pondering the years after his breakthrough role in My Left Foot. “I didn’t do some jobs I was offered,” he says. “My parents said I h(...)

Social media is now a battle ground for those presenting their own versions of the world. Photograph: Getty

Ineluctable modality of the visible. What? It’s the first five words of the Proteus episode of Ulysses: which I wanted to use because, you know, it mi(...)

The then US president Barack Obama presents the National Humanities Medal to Philip Roth at the White House in March 2011. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

“If I’m not an American, I’m nothing,” the writer Philip Roth once said. Roth, one of the giants of American literature, passed away on Tuesday night (...)

Students from Notre Dame at the Forty Foot near Joyce’s Tower in Sandycove during Bloomsday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

There was no Chapel of Love, no Unchained Melody and certainly no Rock the Boat in Ulysses. Neither was there a wedding but it it did not stop the No(...)

John Ryan, Anthony Cronin, Brian O’Nolan, Patrick Kavanagh and Tom Joyce on Sandymount Strand on the 50th-anniversary of Bloomsday, June 16th, 1954.

It feels strange to be celebrating Bloomsday without the living presence of Anthony Cronin. The genesis of our modern Bloomsday celebration is a famil(...)

John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough: his main crime in Swift’s eyes was having enriched himself on the public purse

A certain Joycean masterpiece aside, today’s literary anniversaries also include the death of one John Churchill, aka the Duke of Marlborough, after w(...)

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