LPJIS 2016

Page 1

Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies


Cover Photograph © SEÁN HEWITT

This journal is available online at www.lpjis.wordpress.com

Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies (2016)

© Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies

Questions and queries should be directed to the General Editor, Seán Hewitt, on S.E.Hewitt2@liverpool.ac.uk

General Editor SEÁN HEWITT




Reviews Editor SEÁN HEWITT

Blogs Editor ANNA WALSH


Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies would like to acknowledge the support and kind assistance of a number of individuals, without whom this project would not have been possible. Firstly, to Dorothy Lynch, who organised, promoted and secured funding for the launch event, and whose enthusiasm has been a great source of energy. Our thanks also go to Davy Shaw, who led the Launch Event committee. The editors would like to thanks all those who contributed to this issue for their kind patience throughout the review process and their diligent work. Finally, we would like to thank all the staff, past and present, at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, without whose support and generosity we would not have made it to this point.




By Prof. Peter Shirlow

General Editor’s Introduction



‘Mad, Bad, Dangerous, and Dirty’: Perceptions of the Irish Soldier during the First World War MICHAEL ROBINSON


Idealised Self-Images in Joyce’s Fiction FERNANDO APARECIDO POIANA


Beckett’s Irish Bulls: A Logic in Absurdum EDMUND CAMPION WALSH


‘Out of the Box’: Punk and the Concept of “Community” in Ireland ANDREA GARCÍA GONZÁLEZ



Ireland’s Culturally-Engaged Neutrality Dorothea Depner and Guy Woodward, eds., Irish Culture and Wartime Europe, 1938-1948 (Four Courts Press, 2015) Reviewed by MUIREANN LEECH


Animals and Humans Kathryn Kirkpatrick and Borbála Faragó, eds., Animals in Irish Literature and Culture, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) Reviewed by ANNA PILZ


Decline and Fall Terence Dooley, The decline and fall of the Dukes of Leinster 1872-1948 (Four Courts Press, 2014) Reviewed by ROBERT HARTIGAN


Probing the Well Ciaran Reilly, Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine (Four Courts Press, 2014) Reviewed by DANIEL PANNETON


The Repressed Island Mo Moulton, Ireland and the Irish in Interwar England (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Reviewed by MICHAELA CRAWLEY


Ireland’s Forgotten Veterans Paul Taylor, Heroes or Traitors?: Experiences of Southern Irish Soldiers Returning from the Great War 1919–1939 (Liverpool University Press, 2015) Reviewed by MICHAEL ROBINSON



Foreword It is wonderful to welcome to life the first edition of LPJIS. This first edition highlights the enthusiasm and ability of a new generation of scholars who are devoted to Irish Studies and its reproduction into a new age. It is also encouraging to note that this welcome addition to academic debate and investigation has been brought forth through a mix of an original idea that was sponsored by the engagement of a post-graduate research student. From idea through effort, coordination and planning, we have now a showcase of new scholarly work from early career Irish Studies students from across the world who will create a new legacy of thought and analysis. LPJIS will be a first site for many emerging scholars to both publish and review and achieve the undeniable contentment of that first publication. It will also develop as a forum more generally for postgraduate thought, exchange and opinion forming.

We see this as an important development from and for the Institute for Irish Studies. This first edition highlights our vision of inclusivity, encouragement and ultimately outreach. These are exciting times for the Institute as it builds its outreach, relevance and impact and without doubt LPJIS aids that vision and mission. As LPJIS reminds us more established scholars, we are mere custodians of the stage upon which new scholars will define the future of Irish Studies.

Professor Peter Shirlow Director and Blair Chair


General Editor’s Introduction It is with great pleasure, and a certain amount of relief, that myself and the other editors can finally introduce the first issue of LPJIS into the world. In the summer of 2014, having noticed that there was no postgraduate journal in the field of Irish Studies, I decided that perhaps something could be done to remedy the situation. The Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool has a strong, close-knit and supportive community of postgraduate researchers, and they responded to the idea of a new journal with characteristic zeal.

After going public with our call for submissions, the editors were impressed by the quality of the responses. There was much good work which we didn’t have room for, but we hope that this selection represents something of the breadth and calibre of postgraduate work in Irish Studies at the present time. The response to the journal project was international, and this issue features contributors from the UK, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Brazil, USA and Cyprus. This is truly a testament to the impetus behind LPJIS: that the international community of Irish Studies postgraduate researchers should have a forum to publish, debate and collaborate.

From Beckett and Joyce to punks, community spaces and the tragedies of the First World War, the editors hope that this inaugural edition of LPJIS will have something for all tastes. In our ‘Reviews’ section, new researchers have taken the time to absorb and distill recent volumes in Irish Studies from a range of presses, and we would like to thank them for their hard work and to thank each publisher for their generosity in providing review copies. We offer this first edition of the journal to our readers in the hope that it will be shared and discussed, and that it will do some small justice to the postgraduate work being undertaken internationally in our discipline.

On behalf of the whole editorial team, I would like to express our gratitude to all our contributors and supporters, each of whom has helped to secure the project’s fruition. For my part, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the editorial team for all their work over the past months; for their cheer and camaraderie and patience. Without them, and without the entire staff of the Institute, this journal would not have been possible.

Seán Hewitt

ยง Articles


Michael Robinson

‘Mad, Bad, Dangerous, and Dirty’: Perceptions of the Irish Soldier during the First World War By 1914, British perceptions of the Irish were a consequence of firmly established ideas of race. These notions played a central role in European thinking placing different peoples and nations in a hierarchical order.1 Whilst the historiography charting the history and intricacies of anti-Irish racism is substantial, this article will demonstrate that the Irish were perceived by Britons as being violent, criminal, and unhygienic before the outbreak of the First World War, and that these perceptions influenced the treatment of Irish soldiers during the conflict.

The belief that different nationalities possessed individual military characteristics was established before the outbreak of the First World War. The Irish soldier was believed to possess a number of peculiar characteristics: aggression, ill-discipline, and filthiness.2 Indeed, founding culturist and Irish nationalist, Thomas Davis believed that ‘The Irish are a military people – strong, nimble and hardy, fond of adventure, irascible, brotherly and generous – they have all the qualities that tempt men to war and make them good soldiers.’3 Whilst the First World War should be viewed as a major departure in British and Irish history, this continuation of anti-Irish racism also highlights the maintenance of many pre-war attitudes. One perceived trait was that, because of their love of violence, the Irish made particularly keen and natural soldiers.4 Robert Knox, for example, emphasised the Celt’s apparent innate thirst for violence and ‘a love of war’.5 As David Fitzpatrick notes: ‘Militarism was one of the few Irish stereotypes which evoked almost universal approbation in a bellicose era.’6

During earlier conflicts, such as the Crimean War of 1853-1856, widespread perceptions of the Irish as brave, wild, violent, stupid, and ill-disciplined soon transferred themselves to the Irish soldier in the Crimea. This was a national phenomenon with similar descriptions attaching themselves to Irish soldiers who fought on either side during the American Civil War.7 It is doubtful how complimentary even notions of aggressiveness were as, like perceptions of the pre-war ‘Paddy’, it was implied that the Irish soldier enjoyed fighting because he was perceived as ‘the man who struggles’ as well as having a ‘patience in suffering’.8


The subsequent performances of Irish regiments during the South African War, 1899-1902, also deserve a mention. In the earlier stages of the conflict, the bravery of Irish troops was widelypublicised.9 Contradicting the Irish Parliamentary Party who adopted an anti-war rhetoric and continued demands for Home Rule, British commentators promoted the ‘real’ Irish voice as being in evidence in loyal Irish soldiers in a British Army uniform who were fighting in South Africa.10 Thus, the political context of the time helped to shape stereotypes of the Irish and the Irish soldier during the last conflict which involved the British Army before the First World War.

As had been the case with anti-Irish racism in British society, the introduction of scientific racial theory helped mould perceptions of different troops. Descriptions of the Irish soldier were associated with the theory of ‘martial races’ by the outbreak of the Great War. The most important theorist on this subject was psychologist, William McDougall whose influential study, Introduction to Social Psychology, published in 1908, used scientific theory to argue that different nations produced soldiers whose fighting characteristics were dependant on their inherited national characteristics. For McDougall the most aggressive troops were those who were lowly-regarded in the evolutionary scale.

Theories supporting martial instinct were repeated in public lectures,

autobiographies, literature, and even in publications such as the Irish Ecclesiastical Record.11 In the latter in 1916, Reverend T. O’Herily declared: The waywardness of mankind, like an intermittent rash or sporadic epidemic, bursts to the surface. The nature of man has not changed, notwithstanding the lapse of centuries. The ‘common brutehood’ of the [Irish] race is alive and rampant … History demonstrates that man is held in check by a fragile lease.12

As the British Medical Journal stated in 1918: ‘the nation is the army’, thus, ‘the boundaries between the civilian and military spheres were inexorably blurred’.13 Despite theories of ‘martial races’ being of unconvincing scientific origin, they were exaggerated and encouraged by English commentators during the Great War as they helped to emphasise unique regional and military capabilities. Despite being patronising, they were embraced by Irish army regiments who were seemingly proud to be viewed as the physical embodiment their country.14 This reputation for aggressiveness was repeated by writers during the First World War. Michael MacDonagh arguably helped to mould perceptions of the Irish soldier during the Great War more than any other writer.15 Writing under the influence of John Redmond, with the aim of conveying


the Irish as suitable for self-government, he accentuated the ‘military qualities of the Irish race’, insisting that they had ‘a natural genius and gift for war’.16 Similarly, in The Irish on the Somme, he recounted a notorious anecdote of a wounded Irish soldier responding to the remark ‘It’s a dreadful war’ with the words ‘Tis indeed, sir; a dreadful war enough … but, sure, ‘tis far better than no war at all’.17 Official historians of Irish regiments also subscribed to similar narratives,18 as did Irish MPs, poets, and military correspondents.19 MacDonagh also emphasised the attacking characteristics of Irish troops stating that ‘the Irish are best for brilliant and rapid attack’ and 'imperturbability, springing from indifference to danger' and 'the fire and force of their passionate temperament'. He did, however, concede that the Irish soldier’s innate eagerness for violence led Irish soldiers to attempt to engage with the enemy even when the situation did not require it.20 Similar accusations, and the detrimental effect that Irish eagerness to fight could have on the military objective, were repeated in the British press, by British commanders of Irish units, post-war memoirs, and even within reports to Field-Marshal Douglas Haig.21 In addition, several British officers believed that Irish units suffered avoidable casualties because of this ‘Irish temperament.’22 Accompanying this love of aggression, Irish regiments’ had a reputation for carelessness in the trenches.23 This reputation would survive into the mid/late twentieth century. During the Second World War, Irishmen were noted as being beneficial to commando units in light of their aggressiveness and eagerness for violence. Corelli Barnett, in his 1970 study of the modern history of the British Army, explained: ‘although the Irish were hardy and brave, they were also ignorant, mad for drink, violent and without self-discipline.’ Even the research of Peter Karsten, published in 1983, has been influenced by the judgement of ‘Irish bellicosity’ and the ideas regarding the Irish soldier’s fondness for fighting.24 Perceptions of Irish aggression and illdiscipline were, however, constructed along religious lines. British descriptions of Irish troops contrasted sharply as the discipline, steadfastness, and maturity of the overwhelmingly Protestant and Unionist 36th Ulster Division was complimented in comparison to the notoriously illdisciplined, ferocious and aggressive Catholic soldier.25 The military establishment also demonstrated a lack of trust towards the Catholic Irish. This had been evident from the outset of the conflict. John Redmond’s wish for a distinctly ‘Irish Brigade’, failed to be enforced by Lord Kitchener and the War Office whose distrust and contempt for Irish nationalism is acknowledged.26 Once again, a differentiation between the Protestant Irishman in the North and the Catholic Irishman in the South is demonstrated by the fact that Edward Carson was allowed to implement the U.V.F. as the core of an entire army division in the 36th (Ulster) Division


and underscore the War Office’s distrust of Irish nationalists. Despite protestations, Redmond eventually accepted the 10th and 16th Divisions as his ‘Irish Divisions’ although their national characterisation merely stemmed from the recruiting area of the division.27 Troops from Britain were also brave and courageous missile troops effectively utilised in attacking manoeuvres, but they were also ill-disciplined and careless on occasion. Such conduct, however, was not generally attributed to their Britishness.28 Indeed, by revisiting the role of Irish units during the First World War, modern research has effectively demonstrated that they displayed numerous instances of being resolute in defensive action as well being highly-drilled and well-disciplined in attack as demonstrated by Irish units during the attack on Guillemont in September 1916.29 Any lapse performance in Irish units can be better explained by factors such as the decisions of those in charge of the unit or fatigue rather than any inherent Irish characteristic.30 An analysis of the writings of British commanders in charge of Irish units also effectively portrays the respect and admiration that these men had for their Irish subordinates and there was praise from Field-Marshall Haig for the 16th Irish Division for their conduct during a gas attack around Hulloch and Loos in 1916.31 Within the same report, however, Haig commented on the division’s horse show: 'Men, horses and harness were all splendidly clean and the turn-out was excellent. A very difficult thing to get with Irishmen.'32 More generally the hygiene of Catholic Irish troops was often held in poor esteem by members of the military establishment.33 It is likely that standard of hygiene within Irish units was in no way exceptional to other units within the British Army, and several British commanders praised their Irish units for their hygiene and appearance.34 Regardless of nationality, life within the trenches, especially on the Western Front, made it impossible to achieve wholesale and constant cleanliness due to mud, marching, lice, and sporadic access to washing facilities. Such conditions led Ilana R. Bet-El to describe the experience of the Great War as ‘a never ending cycle of filth’.35 As a result, accusations that Irish units were particularly dirty and unhygienic are unjust. Pre-war views of Irish inferiority, ill-discipline, and criminality clearly influenced the treatment of Irish men serving in the British army. This had been evident prior to 1914 as the numbers of Irish soldiers sent to military prison between 1856 and 1899 was higher in comparison to other British soldiers.36 Whilst there is no reason to assume that Irish units were more liable to commit crime during the First World War,37 several British generals believed that Irish units had a poor record with regards to discipline and a predisposition for criminality.38 For example, the Connaught


Rangers were labelled the ‘Connaught footpads’ in light of their apparent thievery.39 Courts martials were also utilised much more frequently in Irish units with 5,645 Irish soldiers being tried by court martial by the end of the conflict,40 and these high figures were a direct legacy of anti-Irish perceptions that were firmly entrenched prior to 1914.41 Echoing similar sentiments, Dooley testifies: ‘British army officers did see the Irish soldier as being distinct from his English counterpart and it does seem likely that Irish soldiers were tried by courts martial for offences where an English soldier would simply have appeared before his Commanding Officer’.42 In 2005, the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs asserted that there were also noticeable differences in the likelihood of death sentences carried out on Irish soldiers in comparison to British troops during World War One.43 Irish troops were three to four times more likely to face execution than other troops within the British Army. Despite only one in every fifty British soldier being Irish, one in every thirteen of men sentenced to death was Irish. In comparison to English, Scottish, and Welsh units, whose death sentence ratios amounted to four per battalion, the overall average for Irish units was seven sentences per battalion. Whilst there had been differentiation between perceptions of the Protestant and Catholic Irish, there was no religious differentiation as death sentences were applied to Irish soldiers regardless of denomination and birthplace.44 This suggests notions of race were ultimately of more consequence than those of religion. As was the case for lesser military offences, such figures were likely to be explained not by a conscious prejudiced policy but by an underlying assumption that the Irish were untrustworthy and criminal. Therefore, the British Army implemented harsher disciplinary measures on Irish units.45 It is possible that military attitudes towards Irish troops may have deteriorated in the aftermath of the Easter Rising. Whilst there is little proof that Irish soldiers were in agreement with the events in Ireland, Irish battalions became adversely affected. The Second Royal Munster Fusiliers were held in reserve in Dublin for a fortnight, and the First Royal Munster Fusiliers were even withdrawn from frontline duty. Commanding Officers were also summoned by War Office officials to discuss the effect of the Easter Rising on Irish troops.46 Subsequent fears of Irish discipline led to prosecutions for mutinies which would have been dismissed as ‘strikes’ had they occurred in English, Scottish, or Welsh units.47 In addition to the Easter Rising, a souring in attitudes towards Irish units could also be attributable to the fact that conscription was not introduced to Ireland following the national strike in Ireland in April 1918. For some this was a further demonstration of the alien, foreign and Catholic Irish which had been recognised for centuries.48 The labelling of the


Irish soldier often paid little attention to the specific characteristics of the individual. Such concerns, however, were unjustified as Irish units’ conduct post-1916 and during the conscription crisis of 1918 remained unaffected.49 Similarly, the severity and frequency of courts martial and death sentences passed on Irish units remained largely unaltered by both events in Ireland.50 Ultimately, the perception that Irish units conducted themselves any differently to other British troops is increasingly difficult to maintain. The nature and the conduct of the Great War, with the disciplines of trench warfare and the development of all-arms concepts for the conduct of operations, meant that the difference between soldiers based on their regional or national backgrounds became obsolete.51 As Denman explains: ‘Out of a variety of motives, these differences were drawn attention to and exaggerated in a way that usually reflected badly on the Irish soldier.’52 This aptness to criticise Irish soldiers had the same wider-held purpose as perceptions of the Irish: to undermine Irish suitability for self-government.53 Taking this explanation and contemporary research into the conduct of Irish troops into account, previously held images of the Irish soldier during the First World War are not only inaccurate but also an affront to the thousands of Irishmen who fought in a British uniform.54 In the words of Joanna Bourke: ‘These myths of the individual man’s combat role could not be sustained in the Great War … In the end, the Irish soldier was little different from his English counterpart.’55 Whilst perceptions of the Irish soldier being particularly aggressive, criminal, and dirty, have been discussed and dismissed by historians, the conviction that the Irish soldier was child-like and emotional is yet to be engaged with in the same scholarly detail. Prior to the First World War, Rudyard Kipling, the most popular war writer in Britain for the best part of three decades, helped construct the image of the Irish soldier as being childlike and emotionally volatile in addition to being aggressive, drunk, and ill-disciplined,. Kipling’s characterisation became the fixed image of the Irish troop; contemporary Irish regimental historians became hugely influenced by his work.56 Related descriptions of the Irish soldier were to persist in the First World War. Like Indian and Black African troops, Irish soldiers were believed to be unruly, child-like, and emotional.57 MacDonagh, for instance, advanced this theory in his account of Irish troops at the Somme, summarising: It may well be that sometimes the English officers of Irish battalions are puzzled by the nature of their men – its impulsiveness, its glow, its wild imagery and over-brimming expression. It is easy to believe, too, that the changeful moods of the men, childlike and

petulant, now jovial, now fierce, and occasionally unaccountable, may be a sure annoyance to officers who are formal and precise in matters of discipline.58

English commanding officers of Irish battalions often repeated these sentiments. A Brigadier of the Royal Irish Fusiliers wrote in his memoirs that Irishmen conducted themselves like ‘a naughty child’.59 In a repeat of nineteenth-century British discourse, a paternal relationship with childlike Irish men was advocated at the Front. Rowland Fielding, a battalion commander of the Connaught Rangers who could not be described as being overtly anti-Irish, wrote home to his wife stating: ‘Ireland will always be Ireland. It is a land of children with the bodies of men.’ Again, like children, he confided in his wife that Irish troops were mentally fragile who were ‘easily made happy’ but, also, ‘easily depressed.’ He believed that his Irish troops belonged to an ‘extraordinary and inexplicable race’.60 One Protestant officer, serving in the 9th Munsters similarly claimed: ‘if you have to correct them for minor irregularities it is better to do so with a smile than a frown.’61 When recruiting initiatives produced poor returns in the West of Ireland, the Countess of Leitrim believed that the Irish were in need of conscription: ‘In so many ways they are like children and they don’t understand an invitation where they would quietly obey an order.’62 Future research should attempt to decipher to what extent these war-time opinions were again a continuation of pre-1914 narratives. Indeed, historians must also consider what effect these notions had on allowing dispersions to be cast on the Irish soldier’s mental state as the Irish soldier was believed to be especially susceptible to suffer from Shell-Shock and Neurasthenia.63 This assertion continued beyond the Armistice. In 1921, it was noted that treatment waiting-lists for Neurasthenia in ‘South Ireland’ was the highest in the United Kingdom. To explain the high levels of in-patient and out-patient treatment in ‘South Ireland’, where approximately 663 Irish ex-servicemen awaited treatment,64 the Commissioner of Medical Services there, Dr A. Boldie, attributed the high figures to ‘a definitive Neurasthenic temperament that was prevalent amongst the South Irish.’65 Yet, rather than an inherent weakness of the Irish psyche, it is possible that other factors such as a lack of employment opportunities and medical facilities detrimentally affected by the revolutionary Ireland played a decisive impact on explaining the disproportionately high waiting-list figures prevalent in ‘South Ireland’. Perceptions of the Irish were reinforced during the conflict. In addition to being inaccurate and unfair, they cost Irish men their lives in courts martial. University of Liverpool Michael.Robinson@liverpool.ac.uk


Notes Rather than simply denoting skin colour, the nineteenth century definition of ‘race’ and racial distinctions


were divided along physical features, language and ethnicity. As Santanu Das explains: ‘race was not exclusively associated with skin colour and remained a notoriously difficult concept to define’; ‘Introduction’, Santanu Das (ed.), Race, Empire and First World War Writing (Cambridge, 2011), p. 12; L. P. Curtis, Anglo-Saxons and Celts: A Study of Anti-Irish Prejudice in Britain (New York, 1968), pp. 18, 48. Joanna Bourke, “Irish Tommies': The Construction of a Martial Manhood 1914-1918’, Bullan, vol. 6


(1998), p. 15. Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery, ‘An Irish Military Tradition?’, in Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery


(eds.), A Military History of Ireland (Cambridge: 1996), p. 13. 4

Terence Denman, “Ethnic Soldiers Pure and Simple’? The Irish in the Late Victorian British Army’ in War

in History, vol. 3, no. 3 (1996), p. 257. 5

Liz Curtis, Nothing But The Same Old Story: Roots of Anti-Irish Racism (London, 1996), p. 55.


Ibid., p. 17.


Terence Denman, “The Catholic Irish soldier in the First World War: The ‘Racial Environment’”, Irish

Historical Studies vol. 27, no. 108 (1991), pp 352-3; Denman, “Ethnic Soldiers Pure and Simple”, p. 256; Sheridan Gilley, “English Attitudes to the Irish in England, 1780-1900”, in Colin Holmes (ed.), Immigrants and Minorities in British Society (London, 1978), p. 85; David Gleeson, The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States in America (North Carolina, 2013), p. 1. 8

Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, p. 17; Gilley, ‘English Attitudes to the Irish in England, 1780-1900’, p. 84.


Nicholas Perry, ‘Maintaining Regimental Identity in the Great War in the Great War: The case of the Irish

Regiments’, Stand To, vol. 54 (1998), p. 6; Denman, “Ethnic Soldiers Pure and Simple”, p. 268. 10

Ibid., pp 264-268.


Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, p. 18.




Tracey Loughran, ‘Shell-shock in First World War Britain: an intellectual and medical history, c.

1860-1920’, Unpublished PhD thesis, Queen Mary, University of London, 2006, p. 228. 14

Das, ‘Introduction’, p. 12.


Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, p. 18.


Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, p. 355.


Michael MacDonagh, The Irish on the Somme (London, 1917), p. 114.


Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, p. 355.


Ibid; Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, p. 16.


Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, p. 355.


Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, pp 355-357; Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That (London, 1999), p.


152. Ibid., p. 357; Timothy Bowman, Irish regiments of the Great War: Discipline and Morale (Manchester,


2006), p. 123. Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’ p. 357; John Lucy, There’s a Devil in the Drum, (Sussex, 2001


reprint), p. 313; MacDonagh, The Irish on the Somme, pp 58-60. 24

See Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, p. 16.


Taking in recruits from Ulster, the regiment also constituted many members of the Ulster Volunteer Force;

Bartlett and Jeffery, ‘An Irish Military Tradition?’, p. 18. James McConnell, ‘Recruiting Sergeants for John Bull? Irish Nationalist MPs and Enlistment during the


Early Months of the Great War’, War in History, vol. 14, no. 4 (2007), p. 441; Joseph Finnan, John Redmond and Irish Unity, 1912-1918 (New York, 2004), p. 91; Peter Simkins, Kitchener’s Army: Raising of the New Armies, 1914-1916 (Manchester, 1988), p. 7. 27

Joseph Finnan, John Redmond and Irish Unity, 1912-1918 (New York, 2004), pp 91 – 95.


Perry, ‘Maintaining Regimental Identity’, p. 6.


Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’ pp 355-356. Haig War Diary, National Archives, Kew (WO 256/21) 17 August 1917; Ibid., pp 356-7; Perry,


‘Maintaining Regimental Identity’, p. 7. Bowman, Discipline and Morale, p. 126; Colonel J. E. Nelson, ‘Irish Soldiers in the Great War: Some


Personal Experiences’, The Irish Sword: The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, vol. 11, (1974), p. 166; Bowman, Discipline and Morale, p. 125; Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, p 357-358. 32

Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, pp 358


Graves, Goodbye To All That, p. 152.


Denman, ‘The Racial Environment’, pp 360-1.


Ilana R. Bet-El, Conscripts: Forgotten Men of the Great War (Gloucestershire, 1999), p. 128. Alan Skelly, The Victorian Army at Home (Montreal, 1977), p. 134.

36 37

Bartlett and Jeffery, ‘An Irish Military Tradition?’, p. 15.


Bowman, Discipline and Morale, p. 43.


Bartlett and Jeffery, ‘An Irish Military Tradition?’, p. 15.


Bowman, Irish regiments in the Great War, p. 20 and p. 44.


Bowman, Discipline and Morale, p. 20.


Dooley, Irishmen or English Soldiers?, p. 202.



The Department of External Affairs was set up by the first Dáil in 1919. The Department of External

Affairs was renamed as the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1971. In 2011, the department was assigned responsibility for trade and promotion, and renamed as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As a result, no such institution existed during the Great War; Stephen Walker, Forgotten Soldiers: Irishmen Shot at Dawn (Dublin, 2007), p. 152. 44

Worthless Men: Race, Eugenics and the Death Penalty in the British Army during the First World War

(London, 1998), p. 118. 45

Walker, Forgotten Soldiers: Irishmen Shot at Dawn, p. 153. Oram, Worthless Men, p. 72.


Bowman, Discipline and Morale, p. 130.


Ibid., p. 19.


Oram, Worthless Men, p. 68.


Ibid., p. 63. Dooley, Irishmen or English Soldiers?, p. 131.


Oram, Worthless Men, p. 73; Dooley, Irishmen or English Soldiers?, p. 130.


Ibid., p. 6.


Such a theory was previously offered by Fielding who believed that 'people are apt to criticise Irish troops

perhaps more than others'; Denman, racial environment, p. 365. 53

Bartlett and Jeffery, ‘An Irish Military Tradition?’, p. 18.


Excluding Irish soldiers who had enlisted before the outbreak of war, Irish war-time enlistment figures

totalled 134,202 men; Oram, Worthless Men, p. 5. 55

Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, pp 23-24.


Curtis, Anglo Saxons and Celts, p. 55.


Bartlett and Jeffery, ‘An Irish Military Tradition?’, p. 18


Bourke, ‘Irish Tommies’, p. 20.






Bowman, Discipline and Morale, p. 19.


Curtis, Anglo-Saxons an Celts, p. 54.


Bourke, ‘Effeminacy, Ethnicity and the End of Trauma’, p. 60.


National Archives, London (PIN 15/56), Letter from H. Sugars, Ministry of Pensions, Ireland South

Region, for Dr John Harry Hebb, The Ministry of Pensions, London, 13 December 1921. 65

‘Memorandum on Conference of Neurological D.Cs.M.S. Held at Headquarters, 17 June, 1921’, p. 4.


Fernando Aparecido Poiana

Idealized Self-Images in Joyce’s Fiction JOYCE’S Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Gerty MacDowell in the ‘Nausicaa’ episode of Ulysses (1922) are both existentially isolated individuals. Indeed, as we read each novel, we realize that it is their excessively idealized self-images that seclude them from the other Dubliners. That said, this article will look into this shared aspect of their personality to argue that their forged self-images are romanticized attempts to cope with reality. Stephen and Gerty live in the turn-of-the-century Dublin, a city of strict moral codes and provincial habits that end up creating existential paralysis. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man traces Stephen Dedalus’s growth from childhood into early adulthood, when he goes to university. There, Stephen eventually develops an aesthetic theory based on ideas and concepts taken from thomistic and Aristotelian philosophies. The protagonist is troubled throughout the novel, and the narrative ironically depicts his encounters with the world of institutionalized education and religious practices, of sexual pleasure – and, in Stephen’s case, the overwhelming guilt he experiences from having sex with a prostitute – and culminates with him exposing his theory that art ‘is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end’ (PA, 185)1 . We see in Joyce’s typical Kunstlerroman that Stephen’s experiences and memories are depicted through a literary language which becomes increasingly complex as the narrative unfolds. This transformation in style, and Stephen’s progressive isolation as an individual, are particularly evident in the last chapters of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, when he leaves Ireland in self-imposed exile. Indeed, Stephen […] was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and willful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures, of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air (PA, 155).

Loneliness is the driving motif here, and the metaphors used to describe his inner feelings reinforce this idea. At this point, we see that Stephen’s attitudes and mood are driven by an impulse to look for isolation, ‘to be elusive of social or religious orders’ (PA, 148), the same ones that have been intensely oppressive to his consciousness. Stephen’s search for isolation bespeaks a sense of not


belonging in Irish society of the early twentieth century. It also reinforces his proclaimed need for ‘flying above the nets’ (PA, 167) that constrain his development as an artist and hamper his personal emancipation in a world of paralysis that proves hostile and indifferent. It is quite fitting that the conflicts of the young artist with himself and the world which tries to reduce him to morally simplistic categories appear in a tone and diction caught between silent revolt and outspoken rebellion. Stephen ‘was destined to learn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of others himself wandering among the snares of the world’ (PA, 148). Indeed, it is this self-imposed exile that forces him to leave Ireland in search of what he cannot find in his home country. Joyce’s irony in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is deeply rooted in Stephen’s pride, which, amongst other things, leads him to proclaim himself a genius. Indeed, quite often Stephen’s attitude towards the world brings him, at least in part, closer to the Nietzschean Übermensch. Joyce’s hero is never afraid to state his self-proclaimed superiority and systematically tries to detach himself from the shackles of Ireland’s provincialism, and its strict moral codes that govern the lives of its inhabitants. In fact, there can be no effective communication between Stephen and this world, and he bases his relation with it on ‘silence, exile and cunning’ (PA, 218). Paradoxically, however, Stephen’s name, redolent of both Saint Stephen, a Catholic martyr, and Daedalus, the Greek artificer, makes him believe he has a duty as a ‘father of creation’. At the name of the fabulous artificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a winged form flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air […] his heart trembled; his breath came faster and a wild spirit passed over his limbs as though he were soaring sunward. His heart trembled in an ecstasy of fear and his soul was in flight (PA, 153).

Hence, thinking that his destiny is inscribed in his name, Stephen invokes both the symbolism of the Catholic theology and that of the Greek Mythology to justify his right ‘to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!’(PA, 156), and pay in his ‘own life and person debts [his ancestors] made’ (PA, 181). At the same time, however, he tries to break away from the constraints the extensive use of catholic symbolism encapsulates. Joyce’s novel becomes a metaphor for the act of artistic creation in which Stephen is portrayed as an aesthete and aspiring writer by a third person narrator who oscillates between compassion and bitter irony. The ‘Nausicaa’ episode in Ulysses presents Gerty MacDowell as its central character; we learn that Gerty is caught up in her own world of adolescent fantasies, even though she is turning twenty-two in a few months. Indeed, Gerty is both an object of the narrator’s sympathy and satire as he ‘parodies her adolescent narcissism, vanity, and willful self-deception’.2 At the same time, ‘he


understands [her] foibles, and he respects her relentless compulsion to fictionalize experience’.3 In fact, both the tone and diction of ‘Nausicaa’ hover between irony and compassion, just as in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This reinforces the parallels between Stephen and Gerty we easily spot on the discursive level of these two novels. The narrator of ‘Nausicaa’ describes Gerty as follows: She was pronounced beautiful by all who knew her though, as folks said, she was more a Giltrap than a MacDowell. Her figure was slight and graceful inclining even to fragility but those iron jelloids she had been taking of late had done her a world of good and she was much better of those discharges she used to get […] the waxen pallor of her face was almost spiritual in its ivorylike purity through her rosebud mouth was a genuine Cupid’s bow, Greekly perfect. Her hands were of finely veined alabaster with tapering fingers and as white as lemonjuice and queen of ointments could make them though it was not true that she used to wear kid gloves in bed [and then there was also an] innate refinement, a languid queenly hauteur about Gerty which was unmistakably evidenced in her delicate hands and higharched instep (Ulysses, 452-3).

This portrait of Gerty strongly resembles Stephen’s narcissistic drive in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Besides, the phrase ‘Greekly perfect’, used by the narrator to describe Gerty, enables us to draw further parallels between Stephen and her. Moreover, the use of ‘pride’ as a motif which shapes and drives the narrative of Joyce’s first novel is revisited in ‘Nausicaa’. This can be viewed in the narcissistic impetus underlying the image that Gerty’s ‘highly elusive character’4 builds for herself, or else, around which she builds her self. Not surprisingly, then, Gerty ends up isolated; she pays the price for her highly idealized image. In fact, it is Gerty’s isolation that shows, by analogy with Stephen’s character, that she is as an ‘artist’ or ‘artificer’ of ordinary life. Gerty aestheticizes her existence by creating a clearly idealized own self-image within a social context standing in stark contrast with her life as it is. The scene in which Leopold Bloom masturbates on the beach while eyeing Gerty is the clearest evidence of this tension between idealization and reality. His physical attraction to Gerty ends when she gets up and walks away with a limp, much to Bloom’s disappointment and cynic compassion. The scene concludes with Gerty’s idealized self-image coming apart at every seam. This shows that whatever idealizations she builds around her self will eventually succumb to the bitter reality she has to face. Throughout Gerty’s narrated monologue, we see her life, amongst other things, as a commodity widespread by the cultural industry of the early twentieth century. In fact, Gerty’s mind is ‘thoroughly imbued with the orts, scraps, and fragments of Victorian popular culture’, and she


indulges in fantasies about herself as a result.5 In other words, she tries to aestheticize her own self through far-fetched idealizations. This reveals that ‘she believes in all illusions propagated by nineteenth-century fiction, and, to a large extent, she fashions her own image on the model of her literary namesake Gerty Flint, the central character of Maria Cummins’s 1854 novel The Lamplighter.’6 Gerty models herself after her fictional namesake like Stephen tries to find in the mythological Daedalus the justification for his self-imposed destiny. Stephen’ rebellious attempt to fly above the nets of society, to ‘create proudly out of the freedom and power of his soul’ (PA, 154) is rewritten in Gerty’s desire to ‘come what might [. . .] be wild, untrammelled and free’ (Ulysses, 475). However, neither of them can face up to a world that tarnishes every aspect of their selfimages. By comparing Stephen and Gerty, we see that there is a rewriting of the romantic artist/heroine figures in their forged self-images. This, in turn, projects in their consciousness a ‘sublime moment [which] comes as a compensation for some traumatic experience’.7 The romanticized self-images that Stephen and Gerty create become a ‘compensatory gesture that allows the writer to transform an upsetting experience into a sign of poetic greatness’.8 Stephen and Gerty reinscribe their lives ‘aesthetically’ deep into their unconsciousness. By doing so, they create a fantasized self-image in their minds unlike the reality of their experience to force their traumatic experiences into their unconscious. In the end, Stephen and Gerty invent their selves because they cannot fully recognize themselves as individuals not quite fitting with early twentieth-century Dublin. Stephen’s repressed traumas are a consequence of the epiphanic experiences he has in his life. He is traumatized by his period at Clongwoes, where ‘all the boys seemed to him very strange’ (PA, 25). It was also in that school he was unfairly punished by Father Dolan for not doing the lesson because his glasses had been broken. Father Dolan deems that ‘an old schoolboy trick’ (PA, 57), and punishes Stephen with pandybat strikes. Stephen closed his eyes and held out in the air his trembling hand with the palm upwards. He felt the prefect of studies touch it for a moment at the fingers to straighten it and then the swish of the sleeve of the soutane as the pandybat was lifted to strike. A hot burning stinging tingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick made his trembling hand crumple together like a leaf in the fire: and at the sound and the pain scalding tears were driven into his eyes. His whole body was shaking with fright, his arm was shaking and his crumpled burning livid hand shook like a loose leaf in the air (PA, 57).

Apart from the physical pain the scene depicts Stephen also suffers from the frustrations of being unable to demonstrate love when an unnamed girl flirts with him in another passage: ‘she came up


to his step many times and went down to hers again between their phrases and once or twice stood close beside him for some moments on the upper step, forgetting to go down, and then went down’ (PA, 73). Even though Stephen feels the girl wanted him to catch hold of her too, and that he could easily ‘hold and kiss her’ (PA, 73) because ‘nobody [was] looking’ (PA, 73), he decides not to take any action. His heart danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what her eyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dim past, whether in life or in revery, he had heard their tale before. He saw her urge her vanities, her fine dress and sash and long black stockings, and knew that he had yielded to them a thousand times. Yet a voice within him spoke above the noise of his dancing heart, asking him would he take her gift to which he had only to stretch out his hand (PA, 73).

Later on in the novel, Stephen undergoes another traumatic experience, when he has sex with a prostitute in Dublin. “Give me a kiss, she said.” […] “He closed his eyes, surrending himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon his lips as though they were the vehicle of a vague speech; and between them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of sin, softer than sound or odour (PA, 99).

Even though this encounter with the prostitute makes him feel ‘strong and fearless and sure of himself’ (PA, 99) in her arms, it also triggers the feeling of having sinned terribly. This initiates a phase of piety and self-denial in which Stephen solely devotes himself to religious service in order to expiate his sin of the flesh. Nevertheless, in spite of having seriously considered becoming a priest he eventually decides not to take his vows. Gerty’s traumas are closely related to her family life and to her having been ‘left on the shelf [while the other girls] did a sprint’ (Ulysses, 479). Indeed, Had her father only avoided the clutches of the demon drink she might now be rolling in her carriage, second to none. Over and over had she told herself that she mused by the dying embers in a brown study or gazing out of the window dreamily by the hour at the rain falling on the rusty bucket, thinking (Ulysses, 460).

We learn from her narrated monologue that ‘there were wounds that wanted healing with heartbalm (Ulysses, 466), and that these wounds had been inflicted by different forms of amorous, social and


familial rejection. In order to overcome her frustrations, Gerty tries to find pleasure in believing that her idealized self-image can be physically attractive to men. If we look at Stephen and Gerty from the perspective of Althusser’s reflections on ideology and how it works, we will notice that their idealized self-images are essentially a form of false consciousness. Indeed, despite their attempt to get through self-idealization, neither Stephen nor Gerty can effectively resolve their existential dilemmas within the Irish society they try to eschew. Indeed, both characters try to evade the reality that surrounds them, and by doing so, they emphasize the whole irony of their situation. They are idealized figures in world of stark reality, and their inherently human flaws blatantly contradict their idealized self-images as ‘superior beings’. The ironic distance thus created shows that Stephen and Gerty are limited in their actions by what Althusser calls ‘the Ideological State Apparatuses’.9 Even though they may believe that their attitudes are acts of rebellion done by entirely free spirits, both of them end up ironically conforming to moral codes that produce and reinforce paralysis in Dublin society. This is not to say that they are completely determined by it. What happens is that they simply cannot deliberately avoid this influence which they try to eliminate altogether. As Althusser observes, the ideological representation of ideology is itself forced to recognize that every ‘subject’ endowed with a ‘consciousness’ and believing in the ‘ideas’ that his ‘consciousness’ inspires in him and freely accepts, must ‘act according to his ideas’, must therefore inscribe his own ideas as a free subject in the actions of his material practice.10

These apparatuses appear in Stephen’s limited awareness of himself, exposed by the narrator’s irony. As a young adult, Stephen argues, for instance, that ‘when a soul of a man is born in [Ireland] there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets’ (PA, 182). Here, Stephen’s utopian revolt culminates in his desire to fly above the nets of religious moralism and political provincialism that were so determinant in early twentieth-century Dublin. However, although Stephen’s tone at the end of the novel suggests that he might have achieved perfect freedom by leaving Ireland, the first episodes of Ulysses show us that Stephen has failed. Back on Irish soil, we find Stephen trying to wake up from a nightmare called history in Ulysses. Commenting on early twentieth-century Ireland, when these novels were published, Kershner explains that ‘effective social action seemed to be impossible; the authorities like everyone else in the city appeared to be in the grip of what Joyce characterized as ‘paralysis’’.11


This paralysis had strong moral, cultural and ideological implications which are captured in both novels, mainly in the relationship their characters have with Irish society. Gerty succumbs more readily to these ideological apparatuses than Stephen does. She is fond of popular publications such as magazines and modern advertising, and cannot notice in her selfidealization that she has been hailed by the media of the period. Indeed, Gerty’s idealized selfimage results from her contact with cultural means which are anything but liberating to the spirit. In this sense, she merely reproduces ideals of behaviour and beauty that are, in the end, anachronistic. Weinstein comments that ‘Gerty’s foolishness was always highlighted, but [it is when we begin] to analyze her more precisely as a creature of her culture’12 that her self-image emerges as false consciousness. For him, Gerty is wholly tracked down within a narrative of ersatz satisfactions that will apparently make up for [her real] life. In Althusser’s terms, she has been interpellated—“Hey you!” the ads have proclaimed, and by responding “Me? You mean, Me?” she has defined herself as a woman with “dreams-no-one knew of “and been defined as a woman in thrall to those same culturally dispensed dreams. Subjectivity and ideology are mutually constitutive terms; in Gerty we see their virtually formulaic fusion.13

The relationship Stephen and Gerty maintain with their realities exhibits marked tensions between their state of consciousness and unconsciousness. This is clear, for instance, in the narrated monologues which reveal their repressed traumas. Besides, Joyce uses heavy irony to dismantle with mockery and sarcasm his character’s idealized self-images, which adds sophistication to the narrative of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Moreover, Joyce’s ironic tone opens these novels up for more complex readings of the personal and social desires of their characters. That is why we cannot simply reduce Stephen or Gerty to moral categories or social stereotypes when interpreting their actions within these novels. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce presents two radically different forms of conscience coexisting in Stephen’s mind. On the one hand, Stephen appears as a ‘young and silentmanned priest, entering a confessional swiftly, ascending the altar steps, incensing, genuflecting, accomplishing the vague acts of the priesthood which pleased him by reason of their semblance of reality and of their distance from it’(PA, p. 144). Here, he engages in a ritual enactment of the image of ‘god of artistic creation’ he struggles to forge for himself. On the other hand, Stephen is brought down to earth in harsh passages like ‘in your heart you are an Irishman but your pride is too


powerful’ (PA, p. 181). In it, Stephen is reminded that his pride clouds his judgment and makes him forget where he actually belongs, irrespective of whether he likes it or not. The Joycean narrator is both sympathetic and bitter towards Gerty. He manipulates the narrative in a way that her self-image, apparently free from mortal flaws, is completely contradicted as her repressed traumas are exposed in the narrated monologue. Wonder if he’s too far to. She rose. She had to go but they would meet again, there, and she would dream of that till then, tomorrow. She drew herself up to her full height. Their souls met in a last lingering glance and the eyes that reached her heart, full of a strange shining, hung enraptured on her sweet flowerlike face. She half smiled at him, a sweet forgiving smile—and then they parted (Ulysses, p. 478).

The passage only prepares for the ironic moment when she is brought back to her reality and destroyed, with Leopold Bloom noticing, after she rose, that ‘she walked with a certain quiet dignity characteristic of her but with care and very slowly because—because Gerty MacDowell was ... Tight boots? No. She’s lame! O!’ (Ulysses, p. 479). Part of the irony here has to do with the fact that Bloom tries to find a logical explanation for Gerty’s limping, thus showing his reluctance to admit that the image of quintessentially feminine beauty did not quite live up to the idealization he had created in that short period of time he eyed her on the beach. Besides, the scene concludes with Bloom’s exclamation of disappointment makes the passage especially ironic as well. It shows in the end that no matter how hard Gerty tries to forge an idealized self-image for herself, her efforts will always prove to be vain and useless, especially in the eyes of her male beholders. Critics like Colin MacCabe have drawn attention to what they called ‘the Joycean revolution of the word’. 14 As he explains, ‘[…] Joyce’s writing is concerned with the material effects of language and with the possibilities of transformation’15 embedded in literary discourse. Joyce’s concern with literary language involves not only the more evident progressive experimentation with the literary medium that culminates in the publication of Finnegans Wake (1939), but also his full command of the realist conventions in Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and even Ulysses. Also, MacCabe mentions that when […] reading Joyce we are continually forced to work on our discourses. The difficulty of reading Joyce is a difficulty in our notion of reading. Reading for us is passive consumption; with Joyce it becomes an active metamorphosis, a constant displacement in language.16


It is as this constant displacement of language that MacCabe discusses that Joyce’s fiction achieves what Adorno calls ‘a heightened order of experience’. For Adorno, Artworks are aftermarriages of empirical life insofar as they help the latter to what is denied them outside their own sphere and thereby free it from that to which they are condemned to reified experience. [In other words] only by virtue of separation from empirical reality, which sanctions art to model the relation of the whole and the part according to the work’s own need, does the artwork achieve a heightened order of existence.17 .

The events narrated in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and in ‘Nausicaa’ are ultimately an ironic portrait of everything their characters are denied, personally, morally, socially and historically. Every structural aspect of narrative, plot, scenery, characterization, and discourse works towards radically challenging our tendency to take theirs and our reality for granted. This can hone our perception of the individual anguishes that arise in a specific context yet can echo in different geographical and historical contexts as well. Besides, Stephen’s and Gerty’s idealized self-images reinforce the fact that they are personally, morally, socially, and to some extent, historically displaced figures. Also, their idealized self-images reinforce the double character of the novel as ‘both autonomous and fait social’.18 As a result, the fractures of Irish society emerge from the pages of these novels in the existential dilemmas Stephen and Gerty have to handle. In conclusion, when we historicize the idealized self-images Stephen and Gerty build we notice a complex interaction between personal traits and external issues in their minds. Stephen and Gerty cannot fully escape the institutional role of the family, nor can they break free from the moral fervour of religious piety or resist the idealizations somehow encouraged by mass media. Indeed, the influence of these ideological apparatuses shapes, at least partially, the characters’ conscious and unconscious choices, by helping them to create and reiterate cultural and personal patterns of behaviour in vogue in early twentieth-century Ireland. It is only by looking into the intricate details of the relationship between Joyce’s formal choices as a novelist and the content they produce and accommodate that we can fully understand the effects which paralysis and alienation have on his characters. The Dublin where his characters live is a mere afterthought of Europe, and this proves, in different ways, to be terribly suffocating for them. It should come as no surprise then that in the face of paralysis, Stephen and Gerty try as hard as they can to ‘create in the smithy [of their] soul[s] the uncreated conscience of [their] race’ (PA, p. 224). However, that only increases the distance between them and the world, thus generating more frustration and suffering.


The State University of São Paolo fernando_poiana@hotmail.com

Notes 1

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (London: Penguin Classics, 2000). Further references

will be cited parenthetically by PA and page number. 2

Suzette Henke, ‘Gerty McDowell: Joyce’s sentimental heroine’, in Women in Joyce, ed. by Suzette Henke

and Elaine Unkeless (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982), 132-149, p. 133. 3

Suzette Henke, ‘Gerty McDowell’, p. 133.


Suzette Henke, ‘Gerty McDowell’, p. 133.


Suzette Henke, ‘Gerty McDowell’, p. 133.


Suzette Henke, ‘Gerty McDowell’, p. 133.


Jay Clayton, ‘A Portrait of the Romantic Poet as a Young Modernist: Literary History as Textual

Unconscious’, in Joyce: the Return of the Repressed, ed. by Susan Stanford Friedman (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1993), pp. 114-127 (p. 123). 8

Jay Clayton, ‘A Portrait’, p. 123.


Louis Althusser, ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’, in Lenin and Philosophy, and Other Essays

(London: New Left Books, 1971). 10

Louis Althusser, ‘Ideology’, p. 167-168.


R. Brandon Kershner, ‘The Culture of Dedalus: Urban Circulation, Degeneration, and the Panopticon’, in

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. by R. B. Kershner (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006), 357-377, (p. 360). 12

Philip Weinstein, ‘For Gerty Had Her Dreams that No-one-Knew Of‘ In Joyce in the Hibernian

Metropolis, ed. by. Morris Beja and David Norris (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1996), pp. 115-121 (p. 115) 13

Philip Weinstein, ‘For Gerty Had Her Dreams’, p. 115-116.


Colin MacCabe, James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word (London and Basingstoke: The

MacMillan Press LTD, 1979). 15

Colin MacCabe, James Joyce , p. 2.


Colin MacCabe, James Joyce, p. 2.



Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. by. Robert Hullot-Kentor (Minneapolis: University of

Minnesota Press, 1997), p. 4. 18

Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 5.


Edmund Campion Walsh

Beckett’s Irish Bulls: A Logic in Absurdum Mix a powerful imagination with a logic in absurdum, and the result will be either a paradox or an Irishman. If it is an Irishman, you will get the paradox into the bargain. - Karl Ragnar Gierow, 1969 Nobel Prize Presentation Speech

Using a photographic analogy, Gierow in his speech went on to say, ‘what does one get when a negative is printed? A positive, a clarification, with black proving to be the light of day, the parts in deepest shade those which reflect the light source’.1 Beckett’s bleak topics serve as a sort of darkroom for these transformations. His writing yokes destitution with exaltation, tragedy with comedy, point with self-abnegating counterpoint. Irish bulls—self-contradictory statements—are a locus for the paradoxical joining of these apparent opposites. They are an example of ‘a form that accommodates the mess’ of modern life, an accommodation Beckett believed is essential to modern art.2

This essay proposes that Beckett’s drama provides through bulls a carnivalesque counterpoint to the totalitarian tendencies of modern rationalist thought. ‘For Beckett the task of creative thinking has always been to conduct the search for ‘a form that will accommodate the mess’ instead of repressing it through an excess of rationalist order’, Sylvie Henning observes in a Bakhtinian analysis of the author, adding that his ‘carnivalised satire comes to the fore in this context’.3 In particular his works satirize the inadequacy of language to express thought and emotion. Words often fail, and one of the ways they fail is through repeated self-contradiction. Yet that failure is no reason for language to end. As Beckett put in his late prose piece Worstward Ho, ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better’.4 He trafficked in statements that appear to fail, to self-destruct, and to self-deconstruct. In the process he effectively transposed the Irish bull, used previously by Irish writers like Thomas Sheridan, Maria Edgeworth, and Dion Boucicault to satirize colonial relations with England, to a broader European context where its targets include rationalism and rhetoric, both deemed incapable of expressing the human condition. Though Beckett was an iconoclastic Absurdist writer, he carried on the long tradition of Irish bulls. Through bulls Beckett was deconstructing language before deconstructive theory formally emerged. As Sigmund Freud said, ‘Everywhere I go I find that a


poet has been there before me’. It is a remark that could apply to Beckett’s proto-deconstructive stylistics, his tendency to write statements that subvert themselves and language in general.

Among existing criticism, Christopher Ricks addresses most directly the role of Irish bulls in Beckett’s work. In Beckett’s Dying Words, Ricks observes, ‘The bull is a form of linguistic suicide, and for an Irish writer as occupied with suicide as Beckett, it had its attractions’.5

He finds

something characteristic in Beckett’s frequent bulls on the topic of mortality: ‘Like the other ways in which Beckett’s very words embody a doing right by death as well as by life, the bull is itself an imaginative embodiment of a principled living death…the making friends with the necessity of dying’.6

Elsewhere Peter Saccio identifies Irish bulls as a key element of Waiting for Godot,

arguing that their mode of contradiction expresses Beckett’s critical stance toward Cartesian rationalism.7 But Ricks and Saccio are limited in their identification and analysis of actual bulls in Beckett’s works, and they do not explore the Bakhtinian and deconstructive aspects of these utterances. They also do not place Beckett in the context of a long-running tradition of Irish writers who used bulls as nationally characteristic language. Other critics have identified the Irish qualities of Beckett’s writing, his tendency toward self-contradictions and paradoxes, and his distinctive humor.

While cursory attention has been given to Beckett’s bulls, prior research has not examined the extent to which these self-contradictions permeate his writing.

Their proliferation reached an

almost dizzying peak with the novel The Unnamable, after which the author turned increasingly to drama as a medium better suited to his sense of the rhetorical inadequacy of written language. Bulls would typify Beckett’s postmodern characteristics, his self-reflexivity and sense of the end of the book.

The deconstructive approach to Beckett will focus on Irish bulls as types of aporias. Aporia has been translated from the Greek as ‘impassable path’.8 Aporia, the sense of being at a loss, of confusion or doubt, was a technique used by Socrates and Aristotle. An interlocutor would be led by Socrates’ questions to a point of aporia about some important topic, causing him to reconsider previous assumptions.

In Aristotle’s Metaphysics, aporias serve as points of departure for

philosophical enquiry. Richard Begam’s definition of classic aporia suggests a close affinity with Irish bulls: ‘an assertion that is swallowed up by its own contradiction’.9 J.A. Cuddon places aporia within the more modern theory of deconstruction: ‘Aporia suggests the “gap” or lacuna between


what a text means to say and what it is constrained to mean’ and as such it is crucial to Jacques Derrida’s notion of différance.10 Derrida’s neologism différance is a French pun yoking deferral of textual meaning with the difference of words that get their meaning from their places within semantic clusters; it is a term that lends itself to the continual deferral of meaning in Beckett’s selfcontradictions and aporias. Totalizing truth is continually deferred and therefore unnamable. Beckett was fascinated with the productive tension between language and truth.

Beckett’s decision to start writing plays may have been a natural progression from the terminal point suggested by the increasingly frequent self-contradictions of the trilogy of novels Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable. He reached his own ‘end of the book’ with The Unnamable before the major postmodern theorists emerged, and it is more than a coincidence that Derrida chose the title of this novel for one of his key terms. Begam argues that in the trilogy of novels Beckett was ‘struggling to move beyond the “book”’, and theatre was a new venue for his art when he had done with that struggle.11 The plays marked a de-emphasis of the philosophical preoccupations of the novels and a new emphasis on situation and psychology. From this new perspective, meaning could be experienced in the theatre better than it could be explained in text. As Eugene Webb observed, ‘the plays are explorations into the meaning of human life as it is in its full reality, and this meaning is not an abstract idea of the kind that can be known objectively with the intellect, but a mystery that is lived in with the whole self’.12 Beckett’s ‘art…can show what it means but not say it, since to say it would be to run headlong into epistemological contradiction’.13 Speaking of Absurdist Theatre generally (of which he counts Beckett as an exemplar), Martin Esslin finds that ‘what happens on the stage transcends, and often contradicts, the words spoken by the characters’.14 The theatre’s settings, situations, and actions can belie its words in a way that is hard to capture on the page.

Bulls were one of the veiled or transmogrified traditions that the budding playwright inherited from Irish and other European dramatists. As Knowlson puts it: ‘although Beckett’s theatre is startlingly original, he works within certain established traditions—even though he may modify these traditions quite radically by pushing certain elements to their limit or by deleting others’.15 Knowlson suggests Vaudeville humor as one such tradition. This type of humor is abundant in Beckett’s early plays, humor.

and comically self-contradictory statements are at home in Vaudevillian


Waiting for Godot, which premiered in French in 1953, inspired Mercier to a bull in his review of the play: ‘Nothing happens, twice’.16 While the play contains paradoxes, bulls, and aporias in its dialogue, perhaps its most essential bull is one of action—or inaction. Repeatedly the two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, say they are leaving the scene yet they remain. In the first act, Vladimir says ‘I’m going’ or ‘Let’s go’ three times, with Estragon joining in the final time at the end of the act, but the stage directions at the end of this act read, ‘[They do not move.]’.17 In the second act, the effect is intensified. Estragon says ‘I’m going’ or ‘Let’s go’ ten times, and Vladimir joins in twice. Yet again the final lines of the play show their action betraying their words: ‘VLADIMIR: Well? Shall we go? ESTRAGON: Yes, let’s go. [They do not move.]’ (Godot, 88). The ‘nothing’ of their inactivity paradoxically becomes something, namely the heroic waiting of the title. Audiences grow to admire these loquacious loiterers for their ability to endure and their commitment to keeping appointments, no matter how frustratingly those appointments are postponed. Their continued presence on the stage despite avowals to leave underscores the visual power of drama, the way that action and environment can complement or belie words in a way that prose fiction has trouble simulating. The play begins with Estragon remarking that there is ‘nothing to be done’, yet he and Vladimir still do what they can on stage with the weary persistence of a Vaudevillian duo. Drama offered an escape route from the apparent terminus of Beckett’s prose. As if to emphasize the cul-de-sac Beckett had encountered in prose, Lucky’s famous ranting monologue satirizes the futility of philosophical prose and academia in general, or as Lucky puts it ‘the Acacacacademy’ (Godot, 42).

If, as Ed Jewinski argues, Beckett was a proponent of ‘anti-epiphany’ whereas James Joyce famously created epiphanies, Waiting for Godot may be a play about the continual postponement of meaning, of epiphany.18 Even Lucky’s fragmented speech suggests this postponement, ending as it does with the word ‘unfinished’ (Godot, 43). As Godot’s purpose is repeatedly deferred, the play brings to mind both Bakhtinian unfinalizability and Derrida’s différance. Deferral of meaning in Beckett’s work often takes the form of instructive and inescapable aporias. Derrida speaks of trying to accommodate and to learn from—rather than to transcend—aporia, ‘to move not against or out of the impasse but, in another way, according to another thinking of the aporia, one perhaps more enduring’.19 It is also easy to see how Beckett became associated with the Theatre of the Absurd. Didi and Gogo waiting for a Godot who continually demurs is a dramatic analogy for the absurdist philosopher’s desire for ultimate meanings in a universe that apparently refuses to comply. ‘Beckett’s characters’, says Maureen Waters, ‘achieve a Sisyphian nobility by their willingness to


confront an existence which is lonely, agonizing, and apparently bereft of meaning’.20 Eagleton finds much of Beckett’s humor in his sense of absurdity: ‘There is something funny about meaninglessness or absurdity, which Freud would no doubt explain as the pleasurable release which comes from no longer having to invest our energies in the laborious business of sense-making’.21

Didi and Gogo follow the tradition of stage-Irish knockabouts found in Sean O’Casey and Dion Boucicault’s drama.

Essential to the two characters’ Vaudevillian banter are their contrary

statements. In addition to their self-contradictions, they repeatedly contradict each other, creating a continual sense of aporia through their frequent disagreements, a sense that ‘nothing is certain’: VLADIMIR: So there you are again. ESTRAGON: Am I? (Godot, 11) ESTRAGON: We came here yesterday. VLADIMIR: Ah no, there you’re mistaken ESTRAGON: What did we do yesterday? VLADIMIR: What did we do yesterday? ESTRAGON: Yes. VLADIMIR: Why…[Angrily.] Nothing is certain when you’re about. (Godot, 16) VLADIMIR: When you seek you hear. ESTRAGON: You do. VLADIMIR: That prevents you from finding. ESTRAGON: It does. VLADIMIR: That prevents you from thinking. ESTRAGON: You think all the same. VLADIMIR: No, no, impossible. ESTRAGON: That’s the idea, let’s contradict each other. (Godot, 59) ESTRAGON: You don’t have to look. VLADIMIR: You can’t help looking. ESTRAGON: True. (Godot, 60) VLADIMIR: …We’re saved!... ESTRAGON: I’m in hell! (Godot, 68-69) ESTRAGON: I can’t go on like this. VLADIMIR: That’s what you think. (Godot, 87-88)


Ruby Cohn identifies this contrary bantering as the dramatic technique of stichomythia, involving repetition and antithesis through clipped, rhythmic dialogue.22 Esslin calls this ‘the cross-talk of Irish music-hall comedians…miraculously transmuted into poetry’.23 It is a technique that complements the contradictory nature of bulls. It is a contrapuntal, polyphonic method that typifies what Henning calls ‘the carnivalizing force of Beckett’s style’.24 The status quo ante and its associated certainties are overturned through contradiction.

As in Beckett’s novels, the play contains contrarian statements that suggest the absurdity of doing nothing, the unfathomable qualities of human mortality, and the persistent sense of things continuing ‘on’. When Gogo remarks that he ‘wasn’t doing anything’, Didi responds, ‘perhaps you weren’t.

But it’s the way of doing it that counts, the way of doing it, if you want to go on

living’ (Godot, 55). In a later exchange, they reflect on the haunting persistence of life with the oxymoronic term ‘dead voices’: ESTRAGON: All the dead voices. […] VLADIMIR: To have lived is not enough for them. ESTRAGON: They have to talk about it. VLADIMIR: To be dead is not enough for them. ESTRAGON: It is not sufficient. (Godot, 58)

Pozzo comments on the absurd brevity of life: ‘they give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more’; while Vladimir expands on this idea: ‘astride of a grave and a difficult birth’ (Godot, 83-84).

However transient life may be, the play repeatedly suggests

continuation despite an insistent sense of ending. Towards the end of the play, Vladimir says, ‘I can’t go on’, but immediately seems to correct himself: ‘what have I said?’ (Godot, 85).


persistence of contradictions, self-contradictions, and aporias in this play suggests a central irony about the uncertain waiting it dramatizes: ‘Godot’s absence from the world may have plunged all into indeterminacy, but that means among other things that there is no assurance that he will not come’.25 By the end of the play, it becomes clear that the two acts have mirrored each other to a large degree; nothing has happened twice in Mercier’s words. As in several of his plays, this repetitiveness serves in Waiting for Godot as an example of mise en abyme (literally ‘placed into the


abyss’), which according to deconstructive theory is a sort of mirroring or internal reduplication that tends to destabilize the linear meaning of the work.

Premiered in 1957, Endgame has an apocalyptic setting in which the characters move toward a terminal point that is never quite reached. Hamm, the central character, is blind and confined to a wheelchair. His wry servant Clov is unable to sit. In the background Hamm’s parents Nagg and Nell are stuck in garbage cans from which they occasionally raise their heads and speak. In an opening monologue, Hamm remarks paradoxically, ‘The bigger a man is the fuller he is. [Pause. Gloomily.] And the emptier’ (Endgame, 93). His mother Nell scolds his father Nagg for laughing at his son’s maudlin musings then hits upon another paradox: ‘nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that’ (Endgame, 101). As bleak as this one-act play can be, it contains some comic relief. Clov asks, ‘do you believe in the life to come?’, and Hamm responds with the pun, ‘mine was always that’ (Endgame, 116). Katherine Worth finds characteristic comedy in this play: ‘the echoes we hear…are Irish, the gallows humor of Synge, O’Casey’s gusty farce with its black undertones’.26

In a signature line that suggests Bakhtinian unfinalizability, Hamm declares an end to the play’s proceedings but then has to correct himself: ‘it’s finished, we’re finished. [Pause.] Nearly finished’ (Endgame, 116).

As Linda Ben-Zvi has observed, these verb phrases ‘retreat from absolute

certainty to a questioning of the irrevocability of ending’.27 As in much of Beckett’s work, the dramatic arc of the play is asymptotic, approaching an end but never quite achieving it. Hamm remarks paradoxically, ‘the end is in the beginning and yet you go on’ (Endgame, 126). As in the novels and Waiting for Godot, something always seems to remain, to go on; there is a tapering off but not a complete ending. Indeed Hamm’s final words in Endgame are ‘you…remain’ (Endgame, 134). Begam has remarked upon the paradox that ‘Beckett’s moribunds are…notoriously tenacious of life’.28 Absolute endings seem impossible, as do absolute expressions of disbelief in God. When Hamm grows frustrated with his attempt at prayer, he utters a bull: ‘the bastard!

He doesn’t

exist!’ (Endgame, 119). With this self-contradictory exclamation, a statement of disbelief is made in terms that imply belief: it is impossible to be angry at a non-existent God. He also comments paradoxically on the impossibility of being absolutely alone for he feels that through language he always has company of a sort: ‘words, like the solitary child who turns himself into children, two, three, so as to be together, and whisper together, in the dark’.29 With this bull he yokes the ideas of being alone yet also ‘together’. Like Didi and Gogo, Clov announces his intention to leave but


remains on stage in the closing tableau, leaving open the question of whether this game will continue.

Bulls would also be an attribute of Beckett’s monologic plays, which became more frequent over time.

Written in English in 1958, Krapp’s Last Tape presents the solitary 69-year-old titular

character as he listens to tape recordings of himself as a younger man. Krapp makes paradoxical remarks about himself on the tape. ‘With all this darkness round me,’ the 39-year-old Krapp says, ‘I feel less alone. [Pause.]

In a way’ (Krapp, 217). The elder Krapp comments on the paradoxical

quality of ruminating on memories, a process that is both sedentary and, in a way, adventurous: ‘lie propped up in the dark—and wander’ (Krapp, 223). For Krapp, memory has paradoxically become the future, the undiscovered country.

The play ends with what might be described as a bull of action. The 69-year-old Krapp belies the conviction of his 39-year-old self who claims ‘perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back’ (Krapp, 223). Yet the older man’s very fixation on his recorded musings indicates that he does want his best—or at least earlier—years back. Contrary to the taped resolution, the only fire apparently left in Krapp is to cast back in his memory. Here self-contradiction reflects the varied attitudes of distinct selves at different periods of life. Krapp fixates on his memory of a lost love, of a failed attempt at interpersonal unity. He is left with a dialogic relationship with himself, or his past selves. The play effectively has three distinct characters: Krapp as an elderly man, as a middle-aged man, and as a young man. And the three disagree with each other on key points. Krapp has through his internal contradictions become an artist—albeit a frustrated one. As Henning observes using Bakhtinan terminology, ‘where dialogic strife has…been maintained, there art and creativity are possible’.30 Krapp’s conclusion is that of the Proustian artist. He chooses the past and his representation of it over a more active life, preferring the transcendence offered by memory to the immanent present.

In Happy Days, another virtually monologic play, a bull illustrates comically the pathos of the central character’s predicament. First written in English in 1961, the play dramatizes the plight of Winnie, a middle-aged woman buried for unknown reasons at first up to her waist and later up to her neck. As part of her heroic effort to keep order in an absurd environment, Winnie attempts to quote from literary classics. In this most literarily self-conscious of his plays, Beckett has her


allude to Shakespeare, Milton, Omar Khayyám, Charles Wolfe, Robert Herrick, Thomas Gray, Keats, Byron, Yeats, Robert Browning, and the Bible. Sliding asymptotically into oblivion, Winnie cannot properly recall many of the writers she tries to quote in her middle-class preoccupation with canonical literature. This poignant failure is crystalized by her Irish bull: ‘what is that unforgettable line?’ (Happy Days, 160). The question on one level contradicts itself but on another makes sense in as much as the lines have not been forgotten entirely; they remain in fragmentary form. Faulty memory and an inability to live up to her own image of respectability contribute to her pathos. She cannot remember her classics, but they remain in fragments and they matter deeply to her. In act one, she remarks: 
 all comes back. [Pause.] All? [Pause.] No, not all. [Smile.]

No no. [Smile off.] Not quite.

[Pause.] A part’ (Happy, p. 144). In act two she adds: ‘one loses one’s classics. [Pause.] Oh not all. [Pause.] A part. [Pause.] A part remains. [Pause.] That is what I find so wonderful, a part remains, of one’s classics, to help one through the day. (Happy Days, 164).

Audiences may not recognize the lines from literature that Winnie finds so wonderful, and in a way that lack of recognition is the point. They can share her foggy familiarity with the lines and through empathy be drawn into the drama.

Beckett’s notes on the play underscore the importance of the literary allusions, with meticulous sourcing and fuller quotations for the fragments that appear in the final version.31 His production and draft notes show he was deliberately alluding to literary classics. The quotes are relevant to the themes of Happy Days and Beckett’s other monologues.

In particular the Shakespearean lines

Winnie vaguely remembers—from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Cymbeline—reflect situations in which characters cannot communicate with loved ones: Romeo because Juliet is unconscious; Ophelia because Hamlet appears to be mad; and Guiderius because Imogen appears to be dead. All three highlight Winnie’s compelling need for communication despite an unwilling other, the selfabsorbed Willie. The allusions also show something about Beckett that is much less obvious in most of his other work: his erudition. As John Calder put it, ‘Beckett’s reading as a young man was vast, but he seldom alluded to it’.32

In Happy Days, he had a specific reason for including

numerous allusions: he wanted to demonstrate the poignancy of a character under such duress that she could partially forget the unforgettable.


Winnie has other self-corrections, self-contradictions, and aporias. She remarks the she feels ‘no pain—[puts on spectacles]—hardly any’ (Happy Days, 140).

She reverses herself about her

memories: ‘strange thing, time like this, drift up into the mind. [Pause.] Strange? [Pause.] No, here all is strange’ (Happy Days, 157). Paradoxically she notes, ‘Never any change. [Pause.] And more and more strange’ (Happy Days, 158) In a self-contradiction, she says, ‘oh no doubt you are dead, like the others, no doubt you have died, or gone away and left me, like the others, it doesn’t matter, you are there’ (Happy Days, 160). This passage echoes other plays and novels by Beckett where the line between life and death is blurred; the two paradoxically coexist. In another line, Winnie comments on the way that she is at once unchanged and profoundly different: ‘to have been always what I am—and so changed from what I was’ (Happy Days, 161). Like the narrator of The Unnamable, she has at the same time a pressing sense that her story must end and a compulsion to continue: ‘I can do no more. [Pause.]

Say no more. [Pause.]

But I must say more’ (Happy

Days, 166). The play has been described as ‘a characteristically Beckettian form of purgatory’.33 Purgatory, imagined by Dante as a mountain between the antinomies of heaven and hell, is an appropriate place for paradoxes, self-contradictions, and aporias—a place that defers the totalizing truth of heaven.

In Rockaby, written in English in 1980, a maternal voice seems to speak to the moribund, solitary character of the play as she rocks metronomically in her chair. The play’s subject has been described paradoxically as ‘the desire to end the “compulsion to repeat”, the desire to end desiring’.34 In it the maternal voice remarks paradoxically that it is ‘time she went right down/was her own other/own other living soul’ (Rockaby, 441). ‘Own other’ suggests oxymoron but also profundity inasmuch as it implies a consummation in solitude—in the embracing arms of a ‘mother rocker’—that appears to have failed in community (Rockaby, 440).

Within Beckett’s oeuvre,

Rockaby is a visually and aurally haunting coda for many eschatological meditations in monologue. Haunting, a motif of many of Beckett’s later plays, was something Derrida associated with aporia.

A sense of aporetic haunting accompanies the two characters of one of Beckett’s final plays. Written in English in 1981, Ohio Impromptu focuses on a reader and listener, possibly representing the young and impressionable Beckett and the older, wiser, more accomplished Joyce, who had asked the younger man to read to him because of his failing sight. Coining profound oxymorons,


the reader tells of having seen ‘the dear face and heard the unspoken words, Stay where we were so long alone together’ (Ohio, 446). The oxymoron, ‘alone together’, hints at the paradoxical feeling of an insular personality in the company of an intimate friend. Later the reader speaks of being ‘alone together so much shared’ (Ohio, 446). In a further oxymoron, he says, ‘I saw the dear face and heard the unspoken words’, as if the unspoken could be heard (Ohio, 447). The reader is left to self-correction and self-contradiction as his story reaches its end: ‘or was it that buried in who knows what thoughts they paid no heed? To light of day. To sound of reawakening. What thoughts who knows. Thoughts, no, not thoughts. Profounds of mind. Buried in who knows what profounds of mind.

Of mindlessness’ (Ohio, 448).

The very notion of profundity is contradicted here.

Mindfulness and mindlessness are yoked together.

Audiences sense that the intimacy between

listener and reader in this play is so intense that binaries conflate. The reader and listener—who the stage directions say should be ‘as alike in appearance as possible’—may even be haunting aspects of the same person, the mind and the heart (Ohio, 445).

The numerous examples cited here—and others unmentioned—show that Irish bulls permeate Samuel Beckett’s major works and that they are essential to understanding his art.


relationship with Ireland was fraught but significant, and it is not surprising that an Irish stylistic tendency expressed his similarly fraught relationship with language. Synge and O’Casey had clear influences on him that he acknowledged, and of course Joyce had a deep impact on him as a young man both personally and professionally. More generally Beckett was the inheritor of an Anglo-Irish literary tradition and a product of the culture that produced the Irish literary revival. Among his inheritances were a post-colonial suspicion of the imperial English tongue, a tragicomic view of life, a propensity for poetic and figurative invention, and a tendency toward self-contradiction.

Irish bulls, which had veered widely over the centuries from pratfalls to paradoxes, gained new currency in Beckett’s abstracted and universalized settings. No longer merely verbal props for stage Irish buffoonery, bulls became expressions of the paradoxical tensions between art and chaos, reason and absurdity, life and death. They remained carnivalesque statements that challenged authorities and upset traditional order, as they had been for many previous Irish writers. They took


on new theoretical significance as deconstruction began to spotlight the ways language can subvert itself.

By adjusting a long-running tradition to his times, Beckett anticipated one of the most

influential movements in modern literary theory.

Catholic University of America 84walsh@cardinalmail.cua.edu


Notes 1

Nobel Prize for Literature 1969 Presentation Speech. Viewed Sept. 30, 2014: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/ literature/laureates/1969/press.html 2

Lawrence Graver and Raymond Federman, eds., Samuel Beckett: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) p. 219. 3

Sylvie Debevec Henning, Beckett’s Critical Complicity: Carnival, Contestation, and Tradition (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1988), p. 87. 4

Samuel Beckett, Samuel Becket: The Grove Centenary Edition: Volume IV: Poems, Short Fiction, Criticism (New York: Grove Press, 2006) p. 471. 5

Christopher Ricks, Beckett’s Dying Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 153.


Ricks, p. 202.


Peter Saccio, “Lecture 5: Samuel Beckett Waits for Godot” in Modern British Drama, The Teaching Company, Audio download (1996). 8

J.A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Fourth Edition (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1998), p. 50. 9

Richard Begam, Samuel Beckett and the End of Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 179.


Cuddon, p. 50.


Begam, p. 142.


David Pattie, The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 143.


Terry Eagleton, Crazy John and the Bishop and Other Essays on Irish Culture (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998) p. 299. 14

Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1969), p. 7.


Samuel Beckett, Happy Days/Oh Les Beaux Jours: A Bilingual Edition with Afterward a n d N o t e s , E d . J a m e s Knowlson (London: Faber and Faber, 1978), p. 93. 16 Vivian

Mercier, Beckett/Beckett (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. xii.


Samuel Beckett, The Complete Dramatic Works (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1986), p. 37. All future quotations from the dramatic works will be taken from this edition, and referenced in the text with the title of the piece and page number. 18

Ed Jewinski, ‘James Joyce and Samuel Beckett: From Epiphany to Anti-Epiphany’, in Re: Joyce ‘n Beckett ed. by Phyllis Carey and Ed Jewinski (New York: Fordham University Press, 1992), pp. 160-174 (p. 167). 19

Jacques Derrida, Aporias (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993), p. 13.


Maureen Waters, The Comic Irishman (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1984), p. 116.


Eagleton, p. 307.


Ruby Cohn, Samuel Beckett: The Comic Gamut (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1962), p. 217.



Esslin, p. 39.


Henning, p. 197.


Eagleton, p. 298.


Katherine Worth, The Irish Drama of Europe from Yeats to Beckett (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), pp. 248-49.


Linda Ben-Zvi, Samuel Beckett (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986), p. 147.


Begam, p. 125.


Begam, p. 126.


Henning, p. 155.


Samuel Beckett. Manuscripts and typescripts from the Beckett Collection at the University of Reading, 1547/1.


John Calder, The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett (London: Calder Publications, 2001), p. 6.


James Knowlson, James and John Pilling, Frescoes of the Skull: The Later Prose and Drama of Samuel Beckett (New York: Grove Press Inc., 1980), p. 96. 34 Anna

McMullan, Theatre on Trial: Samuel Beckett’s Later Drama (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 106.


Andrea Garcia Gonzalez

Out of the Box: Punk and the Concept of ‘Community’ in Ireland ‘Tell you another thing I hate, that word "communities". Whenever anybody in Northern Ireland says "community", what they're really saying is "side"’ (Good Vibrations, 2013). The concept of community has played and still plays an important role in the study of the Irish culture. In this article, I will first trace and question the use of this concept and the meanings given to it. I will do this specifically from an anthropological perspective. Secondly, I will illustrate the need to critically examine this concept through analyzing the experiences of people involved in the punk scene in Northern Ireland.

The following ethnography, undertaken during four months of the year 2014, draws on the claim made by some scholars about the necessity for a ‘sceptical investigation’ of the concept of community (Amit and Rapport 2002:14). It will extend that criticism to what has been called as the 'two communities’ model that has been predominant in the analysis of Northern Irish society. By exploring the development of a punk scene in Belfast, I aim to challenge the assumptions made by some scholars about the homogeneity within a community, the unquestioned belonging of its members, the concept of community as a safe place, and the dualistic view of a society where people supposedly confront the 'other' group. I will also explore the particularities of the punk rock scene in Northern Ireland as a meeting space, and the contradictions and diversity within it. From the 1970s, punks called for the right to be ‘out of the box’, rejecting that 'identity model' which 'pressurizes individuals to conform to a particular group culture' (Nic Craith 2002: 180). In carrying out this ethnography, I interviewed three people (whose names have been anonymized) connected to the punk scene in Belfast, each one from a different generation: one who has been involved from the late 1970s, another who joined punk and metal bands in the 1990s, and a younger member currently committed to the running of The Centre -the place where punk and not-punk people meet for concerts and other activities. In addition, participant observation was undertaken while volunteering in The Centre. Videos and documentaries made in the last thirty years about punk in Belfast have been used as supporting documents.


'Community' as a questioned study method

The anthropological approach to the concept of community in Ireland finds its roots in the classic work of Arensberg and Kimball, who conducted field research on the western coast of Ireland in the 1930s. Their work established the ‘community’ as a study method, a ‘sample or unit of observation for the study of a culture or society’ (Arensberg 1961: 241), the locus where the culture is performed. In their first study, they looked for a representative community in rural Ireland, and examined kinship and social structure using the theoretical model of structural-functionalism (Wilson and Donnan 2006: 17-19). Their book 'Family and Community in Ireland', first published in 1968, was the main reference point for ethnographies carried out in Ireland up to the 1980s and remains a starting point for some researchers (e.g. Byrne and O’Mahony 2012; idem. 2013; French 2013). Thus, Arensberg and Kimball's method influenced ethnographies throughout the island of Ireland.

During the 1970s and 1980s in Northern Ireland, anthropologists studied rural ‘communities’ with the same atemporal approach of the early structural-functionalist studies, but their work incorporated an analysis of the division of Northern Irish society (Wilson and Donnan 2006: 27-29). In those years, the division was exacerbated by what has been known as the Troubles: the violent conflict that lasted from 1969 to 1998 in which more than 3,000 people were killed and more than 42,000 injured in Northern Ireland, a small territory with a population of less than two million. In 1969, the escalation of sectarian violence in Belfast resulted in massive relocations of Catholic and Protestant working-class populations (Feldman, 1991: 23). In the ethnographies of Harris (1972), Leyton (1974), Larsen (1982), Buckley (1982) and Bufwak (1982), the ‘community’ is divided in two units of analysis - two groups of the 'same house' (such as the title of Larsen’s 1982 study suggests) - to attempt to understand the levels of tolerance and hostility between them. This approach to the society is dichotomized in what has been labelled as the ‘tribal conflict’ or 'two communities' model. Here, analysis is based on two ‘disputing clans', ’which correspond with two populations identified by religion, ethnicity, national identities and political ideologies: Protestant, British, unionist and loyalist, on the one hand, and Catholic, Irish, nationalist and republican, on the other' (Wilson and Donnan 2006: 27-30). The critique towards the community-based model in the Republic and the analysis of the ‘two communities’ in Northern Ireland has addressed similar elements: the generalization, the lack of history, and the lack of diversity. If Arensberg and Kimball tried to find a representative community for the analysis of the Irish countryside, the ethnographies


in Northern Ireland cited above have been criticized for extrapolating their research of relatively peaceful rural villages to the whole society (Jenkins 1992; McFarlane 1986; Wilson and Donnan 2006). Furthermore, their research has been characterized as unable to 'see the wood for the trees’, narrowly focused on local levels of division in Northern Ireland and failing to consider factors from the wider environment, such as political and economic interests, and the distribution of power in society as a whole (Donnan and McFarlene 1986: 32-33).

The community-based model has also been referred to as too static, just as the analysis of the sectarian boundaries in rural areas has been described as fixing the fluidity of everyday life (McFarlane 1986), and as regarding Northern Irish societies as unchanging (Wilson and Donnan 2006: 28). Anthropologists such as Leyton (1974) analyze the values and symbols of each of the ‘two communities’, Catholic and Protestant, conceptualizing the ‘community’ as if it was a natural entity, which individuals belong to from birth and continue to do so throughout their lives. These anthropologists do not analyze what meanings people give to the community, and its boundary, which is essential to the understanding of the community in people’s experience (Cohen 1985: 12-13). Thus, their use of the concept of community is also homogenizing. Arensberg and Kimball’s methods and theory were criticized for not taking into account the ‘behavioural variations and disparate social structural formations throughout the island’ (Wilson and Donnan 2006: 23). The anthropological model of the ‘two communities’ in Northern Ireland similarly eliminates the diversity within each social group, and entails the danger of essentializing the conflict between ‘Catholics’ and ‘Protestants’, disregarding the different meanings placed upon the 'community' by its members, the lived experience of everyday life, the contradictions within and the influences of political forces in its fixed maintenance.

The danger of fixing a political creation

The concept of community has been used broadly, not only in the academic arena, but also in popular and political discourse, as well as in policy and legislation in Northern Ireland. In designating not just a ‘set of locally based social relationships’, but also a ‘sense of belonging which connects it closely to identity’ (Bryan 2006: 606), 'community' is a term which, if used as an analytical value, may prove problematic in academic approaches to the study of Irish culture. Each ‘imagined community’ needs a narrative to maintain the sense of belonging of its members. It can


be the narrative developed in educational institutions - as Hobsbawn (1983), for example, indicates in the invention of tradition of the nascent French nation-state. Imagined social cohesion may also derive itself from an official narrative of novels and newspapers, as Anderson (1983) analyzes when referring to the construction of the concept of 'the nation.' In this sense, following the 'two communities' model without questioning what it excludes and reinforces might be validating that imagined entity and related political discourse. The anthropologist Dominic Bryan (in the short film ‘What is a community?’ 2014) draws attention to the fact that the ‘two communities’ are political creations, manipulated by politicians to give a sense of belonging to people. He emphasizes the necessity of understanding the role that the idea of community plays ‘in processes of political control at both macro and micro level in Northern Ireland’ (Bryan 2006).

The ‘tribal conflict’ model dominated anthropological research on Northern Ireland up to the 1990s (Wilson and Donnan, 2006: 22), with some critiques rising from the decade before and important changes at the end of the century1. Mainly after the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998, diverse anthropologists have questioned the concept of 'community' itself, suggesting the necessity of a critical analysis (Bryan 2006). Their analyses have broken with the idea of the ‘homogenous senses of belonging and affiliation’ to the community (Shirlow 2003), showing instead the mechanisms of control that are developed within particular 'communities' and the instrumental use of the concept by forces of power (see Jarman 2004; Curtis 2008). Some have raised the difficulties of ascribing one's sense of identity to just one of those communities -from children of mixed marriages (Donnan 1990) to the creation of different identity groups (Mccall 2002). Following Nic Craith’s work (2002), Whitaker (2005: 590-591) affirms that there are cultural and political diverse identities, and even different nationalist feelings, within those dichotomized ‘communities’, and also shared elements between them that ‘often go unrecognized’. McFarlane (2011: 19) also refuses the idea of ‘two monolithic communities’ since he refers to the fact raised by Mulvihill and Ross (1999) and Southern (2007) that ‘they are divided within themselves along attitudinal, class, and educational lines, while different experiences of the Troubles have shaped their needs today’. Other anthropologists have paid attention to those groups who have been excluded from the ‘two tribes model’ - like people from different origins living in Northern Ireland2 (Marranci 2006; idem. 2007; Liubinienė 2009; Delargy 2008) . The work of these scholars may contribute to a change in the dualistic view of the culture of Northern Ireland and its 'communities', and to challenge the false perception that all the problems in this Northern Irish society are related to the division between two cohesive groups.


It is important, as a researcher, to be aware of the discussion around and implications of the use of the word 'community.' First, one must question what the term is describing and in what context is used. Its meaning might be complex, multidimensional and expressed in a variety of ways (Somerville, 2011:1,9), It might refer to identity groups, ethnic groups, social groups, or it might be used as a expression of the ‘sides’ in a conflict (as the character of Terry Hooley stated in the film ‘Good Vibrations’, quoted at the beginning of this article). All of those uses require critical examinations. Second, the community is not a stable entity, but rather a process influenced by different forces, interests and practices of legitimation which all deserve to be analyzed. It is important also to pay attention to how boundaries between 'communities' are maintained, since the cognitive construction of the community needs a continual expression and validation (Barth 1969), a set of practices that are repeated to give a sense of continuity (Hobsbawn 1983), rituals and symbols which create mutual identification among members and delineate an 'other', outside group (Cohen 1985). Finally, it is crucial not to take for granted the cohesiveness of the group and look critically to the mechanisms of control and the diverse experiences of the people within and outside the group, considering what this concept excludes and what it silences. It is necessary to break with the idea of 'two communities´ as homogenous entities, to raise the difficulties, contradictions and different experiences within them, to cast light on the multiple social groups and networks that exist in a diverse society, and to examine the different problems and concerns that are not limited to the division between those 'two communities´, and that may be silenced by political priorities.

Punk and the breaking with homogeneity

‘[T]he reality is of heterogeneity, process and change: of cultural communities as diverse symbolizations which exist by virtue of individuals’ ongoing interpretations and interactions’ (Amit and Rapport 2002:8). We have seen that some ethnographers (such as Layton 1974), in attempting to describe the relationships between the two divided communities in Northern Ireland, have considered them as monolithic and static entities. In contrast, attending to the experiences of people involved in the punk ‘scene’ (a term which is used to refer ‘to the punk subculture taking place in a city’−Pomeroy 1987: 83−), the possibility of non-ascription to any of those communities arises.

People in the punk scene in Northern Ireland recognize the pressure of homogeneity - but they cry


out to be different, and to reject imposed identities. One of the first and most famous punk songs from Northern Ireland underlines this idea: ‘They say they’re part of you/ But that’s not true’ ('Alternative Ulster', Stiff Little Fingers 1978a). Born against musical commercialism and cultural conformism, the punk scene started in the early 1970s in New York, spread around the United States, developed in Australia and took different shapes in the context of socio-economic decline in England. Later on, it expanded to many other contexts. Punk ‘provided a voice of protest in relation to unemployment, police harassment and youth alienation’ (Rolston, 2001:58). Punk involved values or rebellion, non-conformity, and an anti-establishment attitude and philosophy. It was more than music; it was also a lifestyle that included the ‘Do It Yourself ‘(DIY) ethos that encouraged people to be able to organize and create by themselves, experimenting an alternative to mainstream culture. In Belfast, during the late 1970s, some young people were drawn into the movement. They had met coincidentally by attending the same concerts - one of the most infamous the cancelled The Clash show of October 1977 at Ulster Hall.3 Many of these young people realized that others were listening to the same music: 'I realized then that there was not just the four of us', explained Jake Burns, the singer of Stiff Little Fingers (BBC 2014).

In different areas of Belfast, these 'punks' were breaking with the uniformity of their neighbourhoods with their own bodies. As raised by Foucault (1977), bodies might be both the site of the exercise of the disciplinary power and the site of resistance. Body activities and appearance are subjected to processes of control, but they may also express the opposition to disciplinary practices. As the ‘ordinary’ people described by De Certeau (1984) using ‘tactics’ to challenge in their everyday practices the impositions of the structures of power, these young people showed in their daily walks in the city their opposition to ‘taking part in the process of cultural reproduction of the communities they belonged to’ (Heron, 2015: 9). Having the same skin colour as their neighbours, the same accent, and being born in the same place - their most explicit rebellion against homogeneity was their appearance, by dressing in an alternative way. ‘It was not that I wanted to be different by being a punk, but there was something about the idea of just being an individual in an area where everyone is the same', said Bernie when referring to the moment he decided to dress 'punk' after listening to ‘God Save the Queen’ by the Sex Pistols. It was like nothing I'd heard before. There was an element of rebelliousness, and there was also a connection with me because of my politics then. I grew up as a republican, and this was a band from England singing a song against monarchy. (Interview with Bernie, April 2014)


Punk could have attached him further to his republican community, with its similar frustrations and anti-monarchy ideology. However, his decision to look different alienated him from that community. It caused him to experience first-hand the ‘intolerance of any difference’, and the abuse directed at him or other punks. Being punk was for Bernie ‘like an identity, it was distinct from everyone else.’ This feeling led him to attend punk shows at the Harp bar and buying records in the shop Good Vibrations. The Harp, along with others like the Pound in Belfast or the Trident in Bangor, ‘became spaces where young people could meet and socialize without having to worry about their religion, class, age’ (Heron, 2015: 6). The Good Vibrations small record store opened at the end of 1976 and was a reference point for young punks. Its owner, Terri Hooley, was one of the recognized promoters of punk music in Northern Ireland through an independent record label4. Bands like Rudi, Undertones, The Outcasts and Ruefrex were part of this label.

David started listening to punk bands ten years later than Bernie while growing up in a mixed housing estate5, and in a mixed home with a Protestant father and a Catholic mother. He also felt the disaffection with binary identities: ‘I didn’t feel from one side or the other’, he explained, remembering his childhood when he was called offensive terms like ‘fenian or taig’ in reference to his Catholic education. He stated that he ‘didn’t want to be in a box’. David joined different punk and metal bands, and he said he never experienced sectarianism in what he called the 'music scene': ‘When people play guitars, they don’t listen to the religion’ - he affirmed. Neither does the youngest interviewee, Martin, identify with either 'side'. When I told Martin about the punk scene in the Basque Country and in the Mapuche territory in Argentina where punk is connected to the claim of an identity (Kasmir, 2002; Ferrari, 2005), he said that punk in Northern Ireland is definitively different: `During the Troubles, the issue of identity was exacerbated in working-class areas. Catholic or Protestant: that was what identity was. Anyone outside of that was 'rocking the boat' and people didn't accept it.’ For Martin, punk goes against strict identities, those identities connected with religion and politics which entailed 'people from working class areas killing each other' - as he stated. Despite the republican background of his family, he rejected the murdering committed by republicans, and he repudiated any nationalism and any kind of flag. Punk was explained by Martin as ‘a channel for people to have a different identity outside from those two’. For Martin, David and Bernie, punk provides a space for diversity and a safe environment for feeling, looking and performing differently.


A different place of safety

The concept of community has been characterized in the modern world as a place of safety (Delanty 2003 and Bauman 2001 in Bryan, 2006: 606). In Northern Ireland, Bryan states that 'we seemed to have identity politics masquerading as community, offering the possibility of security whereas it actually forms a mechanism of control' (Bryan 2006: 614). In analyzing the idea of community in the 1970s in Belfast, Curtis highlights the networks of support and solidarity developed within, but also the contradictions inherent in it: 'community' was as a place 'of both safety and terror', where the 'sanctions for non-conformity' showed 'the ugly side of “solidarity” ' (Curtis 2008: 420, 413). Standing out as different in another neighbourhood might be dangerous, but also looking different in your own area could be a risk. For example, David described how he was chased and verbally and physically assaulted because he ‘didn’t conform’. However, Bernie explained that he felt ‘comfortable enough' to go to Protestant areas because 'you were with someone who you trusted, they were punk’. David considered the centre where punks met as ‘a safe place’.

In the interview, Bernie affirmed that the polarization in Belfast kept people in their own areas because of fear. In this city, the population movement due to the violent conflict was, up until the Balkan conflicts, ‘the most significant shift of people attributed to violence within Europe since the conclusion of World War II’ (Shirlow, 2003: 79). Catholic and Protestant areas were surrounded by ‘interfaces’ or boundaries that influenced spatial patterns of movement and the mental maps of its inhabitants (Lysaght and Basten, 2003). The topography of the city has been described as ‘a grouping of settlements that spread in patches along the trench and its sides, separated from one another by rivers and woods and water-meadows, and now by motorways’ (Brett 2004 in Bairner, 2006: 124). The mono-religion areas were considered ‘sanctuaries’ (Feldman, 1991). They ‘functioned as safe and unsafe mental maps’, that were intensified ‘through the telling of fear, victimhood, and risk’ (Shirlow, 2003: 79, 81). These ‘no-go areas’ ceased to ‘fully protect or insulate the community’ when killings happened at the front door of people’s houses (Feldman, 1991: 41). Leisure places were usually constrained to the relationships established in those areas. In addition, pubs and social centres were not safe places, as murders also happen there –which led these to become fortresses with security measures such as ‘cages’, cameras, and buzzers installed at the doors in order to identify people before entering the bar.

Creating a space of encounter that might be considered safe by their users was a challenge during


the violent conflict. In a city that became a ghost town after 6pm (Stewart 2012: 4; BBC 2014), punk took the city centre and initiated the youth culture in Belfast 'providing a meeting place where overwhelmingly working-class punks could get together outside the sectarian pressures of their home housing estates' (McLoone 2004: 35). It was a real alternative to hostility, violence and division that were part of the daily life in Northern Ireland.

Bernie explained that punks first

congregated in the city centre around Fountain Street and Cornmarket, but it was the inclusion of punks in The Anarchist Centre, opened in 1981, which first gave him his political convictions. 'That was this thing about being-out-of-the-box element of the punk, which anarchism developed', he affirmed. After that, he and others informally started the ‘Warzone Gig Collective’. They promoted punk gigs in different venues and became more organized when taking the responsibility of running the café of the Just Books building around 1984. The building was home to the Belfast Anarchist Collective and housed a bookshop, café and print workshop. People from Belfast and outside gathered there. In 1986, they were at the core of setting up a self-ran DIY place called Giro’s because of the name of the vegetarian café they run there (Mittens XVX, 2014; Glasper, 2014: 425-426). Animal rights, anarchist, lesbian and gay collectives and other diverse groups met and organized events. It was a place for bands to practice, for concerts, for borrowing books and creating fanzines, for meeting people from different backgrounds, including class and occupation. Bernie remembered office workers and solicitors eating at the cafe in the centre of Belfast. He referred to that time as 'really inclusive’: Punk is a very important thing and it's where we all came from, and it’s still important because of our ideals and politics, but there is other music. The place was not necessarily punk. It wasn’t purist.’ (Interview with Bernie, April 2014).

People who ran the social centre were proud of organizing themselves, following the anarchist punk DIY ethos. In a documentary from that time (Warzone Collective_Sledgehammer, n.d.), some of them claimed that the place affirmed their anarchist ideas about sharing, cooperation and taking care of other people. Louanne, a singer in one of the punk bands that often practiced there, also explained in that documentary what made her feel different from the 'norm': not in terms of appearance, but what she chose to consume, the absence of a paid job, her lack of desire for a house, a car or getting married. Bernie was involved in Giro's for 17 years. The social awareness that he got there, the exchange of experiences when inviting bands to the centre and being on tour with his own bands to different squatted centres in Europe, the realization of punk being ‘about


people, about respect’, and the creation of a collective alternative to commercialism, all were elements that he affirmed changed his life and others'. David started volunteering in 1994 until it was closed in 2002, and from 2012 to 2013. He stated that in Giro's 'people saw different ways of living their lives' and could 'express themselves'. The centre was not just another venue for gigs, it was a place where people were taken care so they can ‘get home safe’. In a society of control and hierarchical structures, punk put into practice the anarchist rejection of authority and hierarchies, and also commercialism. If you want to come here and think you are the boss, you are in the wrong place, or if you want to come here and make money you are in the wrong place. But if you come and genuinely try to help us, to get involved, you are in the right place. (Interview with Bernie, April 2014).

The Centre reopened in 2011 and it is better known as ‘Warzone’ because of the ‘Warzone Gig Collective’ that is still in charge of organizing the concerts, although their members have changed through the years. The current Warzone website highlights the idea of this space as 'a focal point of alternative culture in the city' (Warzone, n.d.). Examining the interviews collected in the documentary 'Shellshock Rock' (1979), McLoone (2004: 35) states that punk in Northern Ireland was ‘a positive social and cultural force’ that was deemed by the punks as ‘an alternative to both the parent culture and the culture of dissent that was represented by republican and loyalist paramilitaries'. The experiences of punks show how the connection of community and safety is not always true for those who do not conform. However, some of their discourses establish that link of community and safety when they conceptualized the network of caring created by the punk‘community’ (as Martin expressed to me in informal conversations, and also Kate Wimpress in Giro's 2010), moving the concept of community from the imposed to the chosen.

Challenging dualisms and expectations

By creating a different place to express themselves, punks challenged the notion of Northern Ireland as a dualistic society. In doing so, they also challenged the extended idea in Northern Ireland that 'you get on better with your own' −referring to 'those who are on the same side of the ethnic/ religious/political boundary' (McFarlane 1986: 92). Punk has broken with the notion of homogeneity within the community and the implicit opposition to the ‘other’ community. It has also


challenged the expectations of what being a punk should be, in the creation of a space that is far from homogeneous itself.

There were no ‘others’ to defeat in the punk encounters. In Northern Ireland, where communication is mediated by the affiliations of one side or the other, where people ‘draw upon a variety of cues in an attempt to ascertain each other's religio-political identity’ (Finlay 1999), and ‘the boundary is constantly reaffirmed in the smallest interactions' (Donnan and McFarlene 1986: 26) in what has been called as the practice of ‘telling’6, a break with the status quo might be simply to refuse to affirm that division. ‘There were no questions. […] You were into punk and that was it’, stated Bernie. He lived in a small working-class neighbourhood in the North of Belfast and going to the punk spots of the Harp Bar −opened in 1978−and the Good Vibrations record shop ‘was the first experience of meeting Protestants’. In his experience, ‘punk was something that united people’.

Nowadays The Centre is composed of volunteers of different backgrounds. I came to volunteer for the first time during my fieldwork, at a monthly reggae night. The place is situated in a first floor of a building located in a dark alley with one simple sign bearing the legend: ‘The Centre’. Posters of past punk shows and in solidarity with international anarchist struggles welcome the visitor. Sitting at a table, two or three people sold tickets that night. They dressed mainly in black colours, jackets with patches; some had long hair, others shaved heads; most of them wore military boots. That day volunteers were only young men. People of different ages and appearances danced and chatted in a colorful room warmly decorated for the reggae event. A DJ played music on the stage. There were about two other volunteers taking care of the safety of the people inside. My main activity consisted of trying to find change in shops nearby when we ran out of coins, and having conversations with other volunteers. John comes from a ‘Protestant’ background and that prevented him from learning Irish, although he affirmed he would like to be able to speak that language. Sitting close to him, the guy who was introduced to me with the ironic label of ‘West Belfast Godfather’ explained to me the origin of that joke, because when his friends went to his Catholic area he was the only one who could stop a taxi for them. Martin affirmed that 'people's religion doesn't matter, you don't ask about that'. McLoone (2004: 35) highlights that one of the political messages of punks in the late 1970s was their rejection of 'the sectarian nature of their parents’ culture’ and of ‘the designation by society of religious labels and the consequent division of young people into opposing religious camps'. From his ethnographic work about punks in Belfast, Stewart (2012: 4) states: `Segregation was irrelevant; it was anathema to punk's ethos of all can do it. Catholics, Protestants and atheists


co-mingled, interacted, danced and played together´.

Bernie pointed out the issue that the punk scene in Belfast was not formed solely by working-class people. A lot of musicians and volunteers in Giro's were middle-class people 'in some way isolated from the Troubles', so 'they felt the sectarianism but not as brutally' as the working-class people Bernie explained. He recognized that these people created an environment where there were no 'sectarian arguments or religion into it'. Martin affirmed that currently The Centre is formed by a mix of middle-class and working-class people: 'It doesn't matter if you like the music and having good relationships'. That diversity is also found in the lyrics of the bands. Stiff Little Fingers were one of the few bands explicitly addressing the violent conflict and the division in Northern Ireland. Others raised political problems that went beyond the Troubles. Bernie commented that in some of the bands he played they criticized intolerant attitudes, like racism and sexism, which happened to be not just in the society in general, but also ‘within the punk movement’. Bands like Undertones focused their lyrics on themes like love, desire, rejection and other adolescent themes (Heron, 2015: 12), breaking with expectations of the political message they had to convey living in the middle of a war zone.

Punks in Northern Ireland challenge both the expectations associated to growing up in this territory, and also the expectations associated to being punk. As 'punk elsewhere, […] Belfast punks articulate a general anti-establishment philosophy' (McLoone 2004: 35), but the opposition to the status quo had to deal with the persistent binary identities and those who promoted and defended it. Punk in Belfast has had a clear opposition -as punk in other places- to the police and army, but also to the paramilitaries: 'We hate them. Punk is separate from the violence that caused so many deaths', affirmed Martin. In this sense, For many young people who had grown up during the violent conflict in Northern Ireland, those who advocated, perpetrated and supported violence were as much a part of the establishment as the Thatcherite state was for British punks. (Rolston 2001: 59).

Lyrics of punk bands explicitly reject violence. The song of Stiff Little Fingers ‘Wasted Life’ (1978b) repudiates ‘Live and die for their ‘important’ cause/ A united nation/ Or an independent state with laws’ and calls the paramilitaries ‘nothing but blind fascists’. The young band ‘1000 Drunken Nights’ (2009) also rejects in their lyrics the violence in the streets, describing


fights and killings at the interface areas as ‘injustice’. In contrast to the English punk scene, 'punk in Northern Ireland offered a confrontational style that in the end seemed to endorse the old hippie dream of peace, love and understanding' (McLoone 2004: 33). However, that `hippie´ image does not fit with the punks that are currently in The Centre. As Martin affirmed, they do not identify as ´pacifists´, but `just reject the sectarian and nationalist violence that occurred during the troubles and still occurs today’.

What has been called as a 'third space' (McLoone 2004: 38), a 'third tradition' or 'an alternative community' (McDonald 2002) is not homogeneous in itself. David considered that the running of Irish classes weekly at The Centre was not a good idea because it could be seen as ‘they are aligning themselves with one side, they may perceive you as Catholic’. On the other hand, Martin affirmed he likes learning the Irish language and he also frequently joins Irish dancing classes, activities which he deemed as ‘enjoying the culture’ and not as ‘part of the state, not violent nationalism’. He was aware that punks may be afraid of the connections between Irish culture and republicanism, but he believed it is positive 'to like your tradition and your culture’. For Martin that did not contradict his idea of punk, which he described as ‘going against the mainstream, and not caring about what other people think’.


This article has intended to critically analyze the use of the concept of community in Ireland. Paying attention to its use in anthropological studies, it has been revealed that how this concept is managed not just within academia but also in other political discourses affecting everyday life in Ireland and, particularly, Northern Ireland. This article has also shown that in the study of Irish culture, it is vital to understand the meanings which people attach to the concept of community, how people experience it, and the processes of negotiation and attachment.

The diversity that some ethnographers failed to see when analyzing Northern Irish society through the 'two communities’ model appears evident when examining the experiences and understandings of those involved in the punk scene in Belfast. They question the ‘sufficiency of the dichotomy’ (Whitaker 2005: 592). They make explicit the need of attending to the difference: through their bodies, their attitudes, their daily choices, their relationships, and the lyrics of their


bands. They create an alternative narrative to the hegemonic one that maintains the idea of the two cohesive communities in Northern Ireland, a model of analysis which contributes to exclude and silence many people’s experiences, which may ‘justify the manoeuvres of various historical political leaders and to deny the full variety of cultures’ (Nic Craith 2002: 178). In its opposition to the mainstream culture, punk is a call in the field of Irish studies to attend different viewpoints, to remain suspicious of the main narratives, to shake any frame used to analyze a culture. The analysis of the punk scene in Belfast not only challenges the ubiquitous 'two communities’ model, but it is also a reminder of the need to question any given cultural concept, and to draw upon the company of different people’s voices.

University of Brighton A.GarciaGonzalez@brighton.ac.uk



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McLoone, Martin. 2004. Punk Music in Northern Ireland: The Political Power of 'What Might Have Been'. Irish Studies Review. Vol. 12, No. 1. April: 29-38. Mittens XVX 2014. The Warzone Collective. DIY Conspiracy. Internet document accesed 12.12.2015 at http://diyconspiracy.net/the-warzone-collective/ Nic Craith, Máiréa. 2002. Plural Identities Singular Narratives: The Case of Northern Ireland. (New York: Berghahn Books) Pomeroy, Robert P. 1987. Punk Rockers. City & Society, 1, No. 1, 80-89. Rolston, Bill. 2001. 'This is Not a Rebel Song': The Irish Conflict and Popular Music. Race and Class, 42, No. 3: 49-67. Russell, Raymond. 2012. Migration in Northern Ireland: an Update. Northern Ireland Assembly. Internet document accessed 23.11.2015 at http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/globalassets/documents/ raise/publications/2012/general/3112.pdf Shirlow, Peter. 2003. ‘Who Fears to Speak’: Fear, Mobility, and Ethno-sectarianism in the Two ‘Ardoynes’ The Global Review of Ethnopolitics. 3, no. 1: 76 -91. Somerville, Peter. 2011. Understanding community: Politics, policy and practice. Bristol: Policy Press. Stewart, Francis. 2012. Alternative Ulster: redefining the notion of ‘religion’ in relation to violence and conflict resolution, with particular emphasis on Northern Ireland. Denton Conference. Internet d o c u m e n t a c c e s s e d 1 2 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 5 a t h t t p : / / w w w. a c a d e m i a . e d u / 3 5 3 7 4 1 3 / Punk_Rock_during_the_Northern_Irish_troubles Stiff Little Fingers 1978a Alternative Ulster. Inflammable Material. (Rough Trade) Stiff Little Fingers 1978b Wasted Life. Inflammable Material. (Rough Trade) Warzone Collective_Sledgehammer (n.d.) Video document accessed 12.10.2015 at https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcRIdtJQ5QY Warzone, n.d. About us. Internet document accessed 12.10.2015 at http://warzonecollective.com/? page_id=2 What is a community? 2014, animation film produced by Patrick Leonard. Viewed 12nd October 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRzpOmpWZuU Whitaker, Robin. 2005. Questions of national identity. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 12, No.4, 585-606.


Wilson, Thomas M. and Hastings Donnan. 2006. The Anthropology of Ireland (Oxford: Berg)

Notes 1

See the range and depth contributions of ethnographic investigation into public policy in Northern Ireland

collected by Donnan and McFarlane (1997), and the compendium of interests in the Anthropology of Ireland developed during the last years of the twentieth century listed by Wilson and Donnan (2006: 35-40). 2

From the Peace Agreements in 1998, the number of people moving into Northern Ireland has been

significant. From 2000 to 2010 an estimated 122,000 international immigrants moved to live in this territory, changing different aspects of the cultural and social live of the population. For further data see Russell 2012 and migration statistics at NISRA (www.nisra.gov.uk). 3

The protest on the streets after the last minute cancellation of that show has been known as the ‘Bedford

Street riots’. This gave visibility to punks in the media, and the event became a starting point of many narratives of the history of punk in Belfast. 4

The film ‘Good Vibrations’ (2013) narrates the history of Terry Hooley and the begginings and

development of punk music in Northern Ireland. 5 A place 6

where 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' families were living in the same area.

‘Telling’ was explained by Burton as ‘the pattern of signs and cues by which religious ascription is arrived

at in the everyday interactions of Protestants and Catholics' (Burton, 1978 in Aretxaga, 1997: 35). Feldman (1991: 56) adds that in Northern Ireland ‘(t)elling fuels the daily maintenance of a dualistic social order through a system of “common sense” that is in effect and ideological fiction’.

ยง Reviews


Ireland’s Culturally-Engaged Neutrality Dorothea Depner & Guy Woodward, eds., Irish Culture and Wartime Europe, 1938-1948. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015. 206 pp., €49.50, hardcover. This collection of essays is a timely and thoughtful reminder of the importance of the arts to understanding conflict and reassessing established memorial practices around official commemoration and national amnesia. As the editors correctly point out: “All these essays confirm that the arts, capturing, questioning and particularizing different experiences of the past, should be central to any examination of how the Second World War has been interpreted, translated and transformed “ (22). The publication’s strength lies in the diversity of primary sources discussed and its plural approach to Irish cultural productions in the lead up to, during, and directly after the Second World War. For example, there are chapters on T. H. White (who lived in Ireland during the war years) and Neville Johnson (an English artist, writer and photographer who lived in Belfast and Dublin from 1934-1958).

The introduction nicely sets up the theoretical underpinnings of the collection, with a useful distinction between ‘functional memory’, that is, the types of events that society selects and uses to legitimise official discourse, and ‘storage memory’, the holding of data regardless of the present (Aleida Assman). In an effort to examine memory that has been placed in storage, the chapters within this volume mainly examine lesser known texts: so, for example, a chapter on Stephen Gilbert’s relatively obscure wartime autobiographical novel, Bombardier (1944) is comfortably placed alongside the lesser known works of the more established reputations of Denis Johnston and Kate O’Brien. The editorial decision of avoiding an overarching thesis in reading texts wisely warns against adopting a uniform narrative in the current reassessment of World War Two and memory in Ireland. Having said that, there are threads that connect essays, such as the literary influence of The Bell periodical and Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy. It is surprising therefore, that Sean O’Faolain’s own writing is side-lined, especially considering that his contemporary articles assessing and examining Ireland’s contribution to war-torn Europe presage the concerns of this collection.


Simon Workman’s opening chapter compares Patrick Kavanagh and Louis MacNeice’s approach to recording everyday life in Ireland during the Second World War. The links between both poets seem incidental rather than thematic, but Workman’s assertion that the focus on the mundanities of everyday life in Kavanagh’s poem ‘Lough Derg’ positions him as the “bard of unwritten spaces” sets up the following chapters’ emphasis on the personal rather than grand historical processes (30). Connecting the next two chapters is the figure of the visual artist John Luke. Especially persuasive is Conor Linnie’s assessment that Neville Johnson’s surrealist paintings, empty of activity and people are a form of subtle protest against official narratives of contented communal work in times of war. Linnie’s chapter is useful for the broad general overview of the types of artistic experimentation being conducted in 1930s Belfast. A minor criticism is that the analysis uncritically relies on Johnson’s own autobiography as an historically accurate portrayal of the person and the time. Kathryn White’s assessment of the influence of the visual arts on John Hewitt’s aesthetic is less convincing overall, being marred by a conflation of Northern Ireland and the newly emergent Republic of Ireland. The focus on Northern Irish cultural productions continues with Guy Woodward’s chapter on Stephen Gilbert’s novel Bombardier, which suggests that the novel is unusual in its subtle dissent from British official narratives of Dunkirk. Indeed, as Tom Walker argues in relation to Denis Johnston’s Nine Rivers: “The Irish lesson is that a European future based on any side’s sense of straightforward moral superiority will be problematic” (173).

Alex Ruchman convincingly demonstrates that English contributors to the 1942 Irish issue of Horizon eschewed Irish writers’ drive toward realism, instead recreating a romanticised ideal of rolling hills and eccentric locals, thus removing neutral Ireland from contemporary literary debates. Ruchman argues that John Betjeman’s writing displays nostalgia for the Anglo-Irish house as representing a lost, ideal Englishness. English writers’ tendency to use Ireland as a canvas for the projections of English wartime anxieties is developed by Eve Patten in her examination of Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh’s personal and literary engagements with 1940s Ireland. Patten usefully examines Waugh’s wartime attempts to purchase and live in an Irish country estate as indicative of his desire to appear oppositional to English modes of being. Patten’s well researched assertion that “the nature of English literary recourse to Ireland in the period tells us a good deal about the complex gradations and differentiations of attitudes to Irish neutrality among a literary (and perhaps also political) intelligentsia” compellingly draws larger conclusions from her close reading of two writers (112).


Julie Bates’ comparison of Samuel Beckett’s and W. G. Sebald’s ‘fugitive literature’ considers the holocaust and its more general effect on subsequent literary expression. Beckett and Sebald attempt to express the horrors of World War Two obliquely through landscape and absences rather than through realism. Perhaps the drive toward realism of the counter-revivalists in Ireland, as explored in the Betjeman chapter, could not be sustained in the realities of post war Europe. Bates uncovers a literature of doubt “disorientated, ephemeral, impotent, vagabond and culturally preoccupied with exile” (176-7). The essentially modernist turn toward exile and wandering is an avenue that is curtailed for female writers. Indeed, the consistent dearth of engagement with female cultural productions of this period in an Irish context is marked not only in this publication (with a single chapter devoted to Kate O’Brien), but in scholarship in general.

The most absorbing chapter in this collection is Dorothea Depner’s study of Francis Stuart, perhaps because he is one of the most challenging figures in Irish literary engagements with the war. The fact that Stuart’s own questionable version of his engagement with Nazi Germany was accepted as fact for so long suggests that “the Second World War itself could continue to be treated as extraneous to Irish cultural memory” (132). Depner persuasively calls Stuart to task for his selfinvolved, egotistical writings and for claiming the unreflexive status of victim. Overall, these essays suggestively gesture toward the relationship between national neutrality and literary objectivity, with Depner concluding that facing the horrors of the holocaust with a neutral/objective eye equates to turning away from a proper engagement with the world, while Maurice Walsh’s analysis of Denis Johnston’s Nine Rivers from Jordan suggests that objectivity during wartime is unfeasible. Yet as Elizabeth Bowen pointed out with regard to Nine Rivers “an Irishman of whatever kind, is a born freelance”, thus suggesting that if objectivity is impractical, then at least an element of detachment and individuality is desirable in order to level-headedly analyse the situation (157). Walsh praises Johnston’s ability to look beyond the specifics of the conflict he is reporting on and to write about war in general rather than ‘The War,’ yet the placing of this chapter directly after the examination of Stuart’s attempts to evade the specifics of the holocaust raises some interesting questions. S t u a r t ’ s avowed desire for detachment is critiqued as self-serving, whereas the relative distance initially achieved by Johnston’s war reportage allows him to witness history from below and to question official narratives (similar to Johnson and Gilbert). Johnston’s valued objectivity/neutrality is challenged and shown to be erroneous upon his revelatory entry into Buchenwald at the end of the war. Tom Walker speculates that Johnston – in agreement with Ute Anna Mittermaier view of Kate


O’Brien’s unaffiliated politics – sees a cure for totalitarian regimes and aggressive nationalism through the anarchic power of the individual.

The final autobiographically infused chapter by Gerald Dawe powerfully elucidates the ethical importance of memoir and autobiography in cultural appropriations of the past. Dawe draws attention to areas of potential further study by mentioning texts such as Brian Moore’s The Emperor of Ice-Cream (1965) and Helen Lewis’ A Time to Speak (1992). Indeed, the logical conclusion of this collection, it seems to me, is to turn to autobiographical writings of the late twentieth century in attempt to make sense, with the advantage of hindsight, of this divisive, unstable, but highly articulate period.

Some chapters are stronger than others, but, read together, a thought-provoking and complex argument emerges regarding personal, national and cultural neutrality. The intersection between mid-twentieth century desires to objectively record life – epitomised by Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 desire to be a camera, uninvolved in the story that is being recording – and the ideas of national neutrality during wartime Europe raises ethical questions on a national, literary and individual scale.

Dr. Muireann Leech muirleech@yahoo.co.uk


Animals and Humans Kathryn Kirkpatrick and Borbála Faragó , eds., Animals in Irish Literature and Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 270 pp., £55, hardcover.

This timely collection breaks new ground by carving out a space for an Irish animal studies. The sixteen contributions combine approaches from both animal studies and ecocriticism, encouraging – as Kathryn Kirkpatrick notes in her ‘Introduction’ – ‘an exploration of the ways conceptual constructions of animals help fuel hierarchical human relationships grounded in racism, sexism, and class privilege’ (2). Foregrounding the colonial, postcolonial and globalised contexts of humananimal relations in Irish cultural productions from the early modern period to the twenty-first century, close readings of a variety of texts ranging from poetry to drama and prose as well as film are presented. (The time-frame is slightly generous, considering that only 4 out of 16 chapters consider cultural productions prior to the twentieth century.) Overall indebted to Derrida’s ‘The Animal That Therefore I Am’, Deleuze and Guattari as well as the works of leading eco-feminist Carol J. Adams and bioethic and posthumanist critic Cary Wolfe, the individual essays apply a refreshing array of methodological approaches, from historicised readings of particular types of species to stimulating theoretical approaches in single-author case studies. All contributors share the admirable ambition to challenge and query the conceptual categories of nature, animality and humanness.

Arranged in four sections, the collection opens on the theme of ‘Hunting and Consuming Animals’. The volume’s strongest section, it demonstrates the importance of historical frameworks and colonial contexts within an Irish animal studies, found throughout the volume. Lucy Collins’s historicized reading of ‘blood sports’ in the poetry of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries and Kirkpatrick’s ecofeminist and postcolonial analysis of the red fox in Irish women’s writing both compellingly chart the shifting literary representations of hunting with a focus on aspects of class and species hierarchies, bringing to the fore connotations of colonial dominance. Kirkpatrick points toward the problematic ‘invisibility of violent practices against animals’ (37), a discussion that resurfaces explicitly and implicitly in proceeding chapters. In her study of Dennis O’Driscoll’s Celtic Tiger poetry in Exemplary Damages and Reality Check, Amanda Sperry shows how the poet


projects social issues encountered by humans onto animal subjects whereby the ‘portrayal of consumption as the literal consuming of animal flesh provides a metaphor for the excess economic consumption in the era of late capital that turns the human body into a product’ (42). Focusing on Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy and Enda Walsh’s play Disco Pig, Sarah L. Townsend skillfully explores ‘porcine language in discussions of post-Celtic Tiger economy’ (55) in light of the colonial stereotype of the ‘porcine Irish’.

The second section on ‘Gender, Sexuality, and Animals’ offers four chapters that are linked by a shared attention to the symbolic import of animals with regards to questions of identity. Particularly, the contributions challenge traditional modes of representation and perspectives by focusing on, for instance, narratives of shape-shifting as in the case of Irish-language author Éilís Ní Dhuibhne’s play Dún na mBan trí Thine, or on ‘linguistic strategies of denial’ (75) when it comes to the suffering animal at the hands of humans as explored in Katarzyna Poloczek’s discussion of the poetry of Sinéad Morrissey, Caitríona O’Reilly, and Mary O’Donoghue. According to Poloczek, Irish women’s ‘reclaiming their own voices corresponds to their attentive listening to the hushed or ignored voices of animals’ (75). However, animal symbology is not only employed to achieve empathy, but also to enforce the human-animal distinction through Othering. In one of the most engaging contributions to the collection, Ed Madden interrogates the moral implications of ‘the invocation of animality’ (106) in homosexual discourse as a justification for violence. Discussing the works of gay writers between 1977 and 2007 including Keith Ridgways’s The Long Falling and Animals, Madden calls for a more holistic approach within queer theory to attend to questions of animals and animality.

The four contributors to the section on ‘Challenging Habitats’ share an interest in breaking down the category of what it means to be human. Discussing the works of Edmund Spenser, Maria Edgeworth, W.B. Yeats and Francis Harvey, these chapters focus on the interconnectedness of humans and animals. Raising questions of an ethic of care, compassion and empathy, this section makes an important contribution by contemplating that ‘we are animals’ (166) – a postulation that is perhaps the most challenging within the field. Christine Cusick, in her ecological analysis of representations of Irish birdlife in the works of contemporary poets Moya Cannon, Michael Longley and Francis Harvey, makes an intervention by pointing towards the inadequacies of human perception of animal life that calls for a reframing and redifining in critical discourse.


The final section on ‘Unsettling Animals’ considers the parasitic, contagious, mutating, undefinable, metamorphic and deathly aspects of animals and human-animal interaction. In her excellent chapter on an Irish equine imaginary in the films Into the West, Crush Proof and Garage, Maria Pramaggiore reads the horse as a focal point of contested identities prior to, during and after the Celtic Tiger. Juxtaposing rural and urban horses, metaphoric and metonymic relations between horse and human, Pramaggiore shows how horses ‘negotiate anxieties of class, gender, and cultural difference’ (216) and function as ‘proxies for marginalised people’ (228). For all their symbolic import, however, she also calls attention to actual horses suffering under global capitalism. Whether it is the symbol of dogs and wolves in Dracula read in the context of fin de siècle degeneration; or ‘a sense of violation of human-animal reciprocity’ (252) in the farcical, chaotic, and haunting disand reappearances of animals in Paul Muldoon’s Maggot; or the ambiguous status of insects not only as anxiety-causing monstrous Others but also as adaptable and mimicking creatures that present themselves as excellent metaphors for the transnational subject in contmeporary migrant Irish poetry: unsettling animals emerge here as testing and challenging the boundaries of belonging, whether to a planet or a country or a category, an actual or imaginary realm. They also open questions of ethics of care, temporality, mortality, and compassion. Here, the limitations of humans are pushed to the fore as Borbála Faragó notes, ‘The inability to name, the running out of words to put insects under human control … fundamentally defies the illusion of human supremacy on earth’ (232).

Animals in Irish Literature and Culture is a project to be applauded for its scope and ambition and it is an invaluable text book for those with an interest in animal studies, ecocriticism, Irish literature and culture. While the content might give an eclectic impression, the chapters are interconnected and the historical context of colonialism proves to be key in understanding representations of animals and human-animal relations, past and present. To this end, a more comprehensive introduction and a stronger presence of the early modern period would have been beneficial to the volume. As a text book, the collection is slightly led down by the index which fails to list individual works of authors discussed as well as missing entries for key words within an animal studies context such as ‘vegetarianism’, ‘abattoir’, and ‘slaughterhouse’ or references to legal contexts given in the chapters. No matter. The volume charts new ground in its aim to break down the binary between human and nonhuman animals and opens up exciting new avenues for further research,


including the impact of legislation on the politics of animal representations in the contexts of capitalist consumerism, gender politics, environmental degradation and transnationalism.

Dr. Anna Pilz University College Cork anna.pilz@ucc.ie


Decline and Fall

Terence Dooley, The decline and fall of the Dukes of Leinster 1872-1948. Dublin: Four Courts Press. 288 pp., £16.43 (€22.45), paperback.

Generally, though not specifically, the historiography of the landed gentry in nineteenth century Ireland has placed landed elites in the context of their relationship with the peasantry or as the antithesis of nationalist Ireland. While it may be unavoidable not to discuss the social upheaval involving these groupings (such as the Famine, Land League and Home Rule and the revolutionary period), the personal account of successive Dukes of Leinster relayed by Dooley allows this work to transcend these old narratives and provides the reader with a enlightening portrait of aristocratic life in the British Isles during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The central arguments and analysis of this book are laid out across ten core chapters. In an introductory chapter entitled ‘Gerald Fitzgerald’s coming of age, 1872’, Dooley maps the rise of the Fitzgerald family from the original arrival of the Anglo-Normans under Strongbow in 1169 to their apex in the 1870s where the rest of this story begins. The decline of the family is documented through the successive individual stories of the inheritors of the estate, with the pedigree of the family established over the first two chapters, Dooley marks the downfall of the landed classes with the onslaught of the land league. It is from chapter three and following the marriage of the 5th Duke, Gerald, to Hermione Duncombe that, despite the injection of her large dowry into the estate, the decline of the Fitzgeralds accelerates. In the ensuing chapters Dooley explores how, in the aftermath of Hermione’s death and during the formative years of her children, when the estate was overseen by their uncle, Frederick Fitzgerald, Dooley sets the scene for the family’s ultimate demise. However, the overarching theme that permeates each chapter is the burden of the family’s history placed upon the successive generations, an approach that Dooley uses to awaken the reader’s compassion for the last of the dukes. Fourteen years before Gerald Fitzgerald’s coming of age celebration on the estate, his father, the 4th Duke, Charles, published a history of the family from the twelfth to eighteenth century, reminding Gerald and those of his lineage to follow of the legacy they had to uphold. It is through such an approach, combining the biographical with the wider themes


and topics of the period, that this book is set apart from an orthodox academic study of the gentry in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland.

The standard of research and use of archival material is of the high standards associated with Dooley’s previous works on the landed estates of Ireland. What particularly sets this study apart is the in-depth analysis of the private letters of the 5th Duke’s wife, Hermione. Although there are gaps in these letters, Dooley utilizes them to full effect to depict the seeds of the downfall of the family from the inside-out giving particular insights into the more intimate details of aristocratic marriage. Her abject loneliness and later extramarital affair and resulting pregnancy make for compelling reading that once again demonstrate Dooley’s ability to develop the reader’s empathy. Dooley continues in this vein, albeit with darker undertones, through the formative years of their children, particularly through the events of the life of the 6th Duke, Maurice. Through this man’s education at Eton, Dooley highlights the malevolence often associated with elite boarding school culture at this period, as Maurice seems to have been the victim of sustained bullying from the moment of his entering the school. Consequently, Dooley highlights the fact that on a social level, though the Dukes of Leinster were unequalled in Ireland, in England they were merely another aristocratic family which often did not command the same level of respect or social status as many titled English families. Once again, the author uses the misfortune of Maurice to draw on the reader’s compassion as darker undertones of sexual abuse and mental illness left the 6th Duke redundant from his duties much to the shame of the family. However, the basis for elite education was social mobility and creating life networks and it was Maurice’s younger brother, Desmond who thrived in this environment by fulfilling the role that many aristocratic second and third sons had done for generations before him, giving military service to the empire (Reilly, 2014, pp. 2-4) Through Desmond Fitzgerald, Dooley links the family’s story to the First World War and its aftermath: with the eldest two brothers dead or incapacitated the reckless spending of the youngest brother, Edward sets the scene for the ultimate decline of the family post 1918.

While the study is a fascinating insight into the last vestiges of aristocratic Ireland, Dooley traces this decline against the backdrop of wider social events of the period. Estate life was at the centre of all aristocratic life and the Fitzgeralds remained loyal to their Kildare estates where other landed elites in Ireland had long become absentees. However, as the personal misfortunes of the Fitzgeralds are explored they are interwoven throughout the book with the breakdown of paternal landlord-tenant. Dooley’s approach to this is twofold. Firstly, he notes how the Fitzgeralds were as


guilty as others of their class of clearing their estates of tenants in the 1830s and 1840s, such practices being the cause of much agrarian disturbance, and one that in many parts of the country lived on through the memory of the peasantry that remained on in these estates. When the Land Act of 1870 was introduced to compensate out-going tenants for any improvements made to the land, the Fitzgeralds were the first landlords to challenge this legislation on a legal loop hole and introduced what became known as the Leinster lease, an act that set out to deny out-going tenants remunerations. The net result of these actions was the end of the traditional deferential relationship on the Kildare estate and though Dooley provides an insight into the continuation of older traditional customs displayed by the peasantry of the estate, such as singing and dancing in times of celebration, by Gerald’s time these seem to have been empty gestures.

The second factor Dooley effectively explores in his portrayal of the increasingly strained dealings on this estate is the combination of external pressures that helped to sour the Duke’s relationship with his tenants, this death of paternalism coincided with the rise of the middle classes. From the outset of Gerald’s story these middle classes and Catholic Church are continuously in the background and as the personal story of the family unfolds, so the author traces the evolution of the estate and town of Maynooth along with it. These themes are, however, only touched upon; the intention of the author is not to offer a wider discourse on the social and economic issues of the period but to show how these challenged the dominance of aristocratic Ireland, a challenge from which the Fitzgerlads were not exempted. It is through the election of Frederick Fitzgerald to the local county council that the author also demonstrates some of the ways that aristocrats sought to retain a local footing as the political and economic world around them began to move on. In the end it was a mixture of mismanagement and external socio-economic tensions but particularly personal tragedy that led to the decline and fall of Ireland’s premier aristocratic family. Robert Hartigan Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Robert.Hartigan@mic.ul.ie Works Cited: Ciaran O’Neill, Catholics of consequence: transnational education, social mobility and the Catholic Irish elite 1850- 1900 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)


Probing the Well Ciaran Reilly, Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014, 228pp, €17.50, illustrated paperback.

The Great Irish Famine occupies a curious space in Irish historiography. In the decades immediately following the calamity, few could stomach addressing what had occurred. What was produced tended to be emotional and accusatory. In the 1990s, a flood of scholarship emerged to coincide with national 150th anniversary commemorations. Nationalist memories and myths coloured much of this output, which could be broadly placed into two camps: works that assign culpability, and works that exist to depict suffering. Since that time several excellent works on the Famine have been produced by historians like James Donnelly Jr., Peter Gray, and Cormac O’Grada, but accusations of genocide remain prominent in Irish and Irish-American popular understandings. In 2013 Tim Pat Coogan released The Famine Plot, in which he accused England (curiously, not the United Kingdom or Irish-born themselves) of deliberately starving the Irish peasantry. The book became a best seller, and has earned rave reviews from popular audiences and non-specialists.

In Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine, a quietly subversive work, Dr. Ciaran Reilly successfully bridges the gap between accessible presentation and rigorous scholarship. Through an examination of the Famine’s effects on estate management and communal behaviours at a local level, Reilly seeks to challenge widespread and deeply entrenched historical assumptions. The introduction serves as a primer on the sources that inform the rest of Reilly’s book. The author draws upon a wealth of nearly fifty thousand documents from the Strokestown estate archive, which narrowly evaded destruction in the 1970s. A major theme is the varied nature of Famine experiences. The words of cottiers and landless labourers, who have “largely been denied a voice in the Famine narrative” (6), are used effectively to add nuance to our understanding of the locality.

Chapters 1-5 set the scene for Major Denis Mahon’s infamous 1847 murder. Denis Mahon was the patriarch of an Anglo-Irish family and landlord of their estate. The killing, which became a media sensation across Ireland and was seen by many as a salient expression of cottier and labourer frustrations with local conditions. The Mahon family were not popular amongst their tenants; local lore held it that the family acquired their property from Oliver Cromwell. Secret societies who


engaged in nighttime raids and beatings proliferated across the estate. Early relief efforts, while well-meaning, were insufficient. The reluctance of landlords and infighting amongst the peasantry contributed to the collapse of food distribution, while the realities of the coffin ships and lack of financial support ended several assisted emigration programs.

Many tenants resented the lavish lifestyle lead by the Mahons in the midst of their suffering. The Reverend Michael McDermott, the parish priest for Strokestown, became a prominent critic of the family, and of Denis in particular. The breakdown in relations between the two men forms the meat of Reilly’s fifth chapter, and acts to set up Mahon’s murder in the sixth. McDermott, once deferential to Mahon’s authority, ended a mass the day before the murder by describing Mahon as being “worse than Cromwell, yet he lives” (97). After Mahon’s killing, Roscommon police launched an investigation on the estate, relying on oft-conflicting testimonies and evidence from informants. The murder became a media and political sensation that would remain in the public eye until the Young Ireland trials the next year.

Chapters 7-8 focus the aftermath of Mahon’s murder on the Strokestown estate. The clearances which had contributed to local turmoil continued, which led to a wave of violence against the family’s middlemen. Huge numbers of tenants continued to emigrate, mainly to Canada. Chapter 9 details mapping and reorganization efforts made at Strokestown after the Famine. The Mahon family attempted to make improvements upon their estate, but could only do so much. Reilly notes that, “despite efforts at improvement, Strokestown still retained the appearance of devastation” (160).

Chapter 10, ‘Social Memory and Culpability’, is the most illuminating and challenging in the book, as it focuses upon social memory and assigning culpability. The theme of varied Famine experience emerges again here, to great effect. Major Mahon’s murder and Famine-era evictions cast long shadows over the perceptions of the area’s Famine experience. Local folklore tended to paint Mahon as a typical absentee landlord, troubled only by the rent and blind to suffering. The Mahon family’s supporters and associates argued that Denis was a fair man, and that his murder was not representative of communal feeling. Local responses to specific events and actions, be it a clearance or provision of relief, illustrate the difficulty in evaluating communal consensus. A conclusion ends the book with a sensible survey of the controversies involved with opening a museum that engages a topic still considered painful by many.


Reilly’s book shines in two respects; its exploration of various experiences on the ground during the Famine, and its clear presentation of the topic’s basic facts. This is a book clearly intended for a popular audience, and Reilly balances background information and primary material in a clear, logical format. Almost every page is dominated by a large illustration or document which adds colour or context to the Strokestown case study. Single-page addendums provide essential contextual information to unfamiliar readers. For the scholar, the book provides a convincing argument for using local case studies to problematize general understandings of the Famine. Using the Strokestown archive alone, Reilly raises significant questions about the nature and scale of relief efforts, land clearances, emigration, and social change.

Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine emerged from an exhaustive research project conducted by the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates at Maynooth University, which explains the familiarity with which Reilly uses his source material. The result of Reilly’s interpretation of Strokestown’s archive is a convincing demonstration of the complexities and moral relativity that need to be acknowledged in Famine studies. Hopefully, Reilly’s work is indicative of a coming trend.

Daniel Panneton University of Toronto dan.panneton@mail.utoronto.ca


The Repressed Island Mo Moulton, Ireland and the Irish in Interwar England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 385pp, £65.00, hardcover.

Mo Moulton has joined the chorus of historians who challenge the popular view that through the 1921 Treaty David Lloyd George had miraculously ‘conjured’ the Irish question ‘out of existence’ (Taylor, p.161). While A.J.P. Taylor was referring specifically to diplomatic relations, this is nonetheless indicative of the prevalent narrative of forgetting, which informs some of the key historiography on Anglo-Irish relations during this period, that Ireland and the Irish in Interwar England seeks to address. Indeed, Moulton asserts that ‘Irishness remained embedded in the very fabric of English life’. It was, however, ‘repeatedly forgotten’, as a means of repressing the ‘trauma of the Anglo-Irish War’ (1919-21) and the intensely complex relationship that existed between England and Ireland. This analysis draws upon Raphael Samuel’s thesis that what memory ‘contrives symptomatically to forget is as important as what it remembers’ (pp.2-3). Moreover, what is repressed always returns and with its return it ‘shapes and shades everything around it’ (p.336). Moulton’s thought provoking first monograph is, therefore, a welcome addition to the literature concerning the Irish in Britain during the inter-war period.

Absorbing the ‘potentially dislocating threat posed by the Irish War and continued Irish presence’, Moulton argues that some aspects of Ireland were made foreign and others domestic. Further, this process was characteristic of the way England successfully managed social schisms. As such, the Irish in England were, as much as possible, kept out of party politics and militancy. Irishness was, instead, safely reinterpreted ‘as an enthusiasm, a heritage or leisure’. Certain aspects of Irishness then were made to “fit in” to civil society. It is the contention that Irishness was a ‘crucial component of interwar Englishness’, and its ‘salience varied widely’, often ‘deeply personal and idiosyncratic’. It was thus far more than mere decoration; rather it was ‘indicative of important mechanisms of social accommodation in the face of ethnic diversity’, and ‘the beginning of decolonization’ (p.7).

Unlike other histories of the final years of the Union between Britain and Ireland, this book does not concentrate on high politics and government papers. This perhaps accounts for the reading of


history backwards with regards ‘decolonization’, as it was widely believed amongst British leaders at the time that the transfer from empire into commonwealth could maintain British influence. That is, long-term trade agreements within a commonwealth of nations would be as binding as former legal obligations because of the inter-dependence they would create. Instead, Moulton embroiders a rich tapestry of the lives of ordinary men and women who attended Gaelic League dances, meetings of the Irish Literary Society, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, using correspondence, memoirs and diaries. Indeed, three strands of experience in particular are followed: first, the perceptions, prejudices, and politics of English people engaging with Ireland or the Irish; second, the political and cultural activities of the working-class, mostly Catholic and nationalist Irish communities in England; and third, the declining world of the Anglo-Irish, especially those who chose to settle in England after their hybrid lifestyles were curtailed by political division.

Moulton’s multidisciplinary analysis is an invaluable study of the interconnectedness of both islands in a largely neglected period. Yet, whilst this book engages with British institutions and notions of Britishness as distinct from Englishness, it is, at a fundamental level, an account of the relationship between England and Ireland. Conveniently it has been produced at a time when Anglo-Irish relations have never been so good. Indeed, the Queen’s visit to Dublin in 2011 and the Irish President’s first official visit to the UK last year suggests a new epoch in Anglo-Irish affairs, drawing a line under the fractious relationship characterised by the events during the first half of the twentieth century. It is unfortunate, however, that this book adds little to our existing knowledge or understanding of the way Northern Ireland and its people were perceived by Britain in this period. Little attention is paid to Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1939, when it suddenly explodes (quite literally) back in view of the IRA bombing campaign, culminating in the bomb in Coventry, in which five civilians were killed and over a hundred wounded (p.308).

Structurally, the book has two constituent parts. In the first part Moulton convincingly demonstrates that the Anglo-Irish War was a ‘species of civil war’, fought across the Irish Sea. In the hope of severing the connection with England, Irish republicans took up arms and relied, to some extent, upon the Irish in England (and Scotland), for logistical support and sometimes sabotage. Consequently, this ‘blurred any neat distinction between the two islands, underscoring their very human connections even as it [Ireland] sought to sever their political ties’ (p.47). In the second part Moulton takes a longer historical view, arguing that ‘varieties’ of Irishness persisted after the demise of the Anglo-Irish Union, although in the private sphere, primarily through literature and


culture, outside of public politics. As a result, discussion of events like the Boundary Commission (1925), the Anglo-Irish Economic War during the 1930s and the Constitution of Ireland (1937) is perfunctory. Rather, distinct Irish communities in Britain are examined. For example, chapter 7 focuses on loyalists and the decline of an Anglo-Irish culture in England. In another chapter, the Catholic Church’s attempts to ensure the persistence of a ‘privatized ethnic identification’ through education – illustrated by the removal of Irish history from the curriculum in its schools – is examined (p.273).

Finally, Moulton situates the Irish case in the contexts of the break-up of multi-ethnic empires resulting from the Great War and the more comprehensive decolonization of the British Empire following World War II. Concluding that the Irish occupied a curious ‘middle space’ in Britain, Moulton provides a compelling and persuasive argument for studying the two nations histories together. For indeed, Ireland and England were ‘never fully united, never entirely separated, and above all, never agreeing on the details of either union or separation’ (p.1).

Works Cited A. P. J. Taylor, English History, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965)

Michaela Crawley University of Oxford michaela.crawley@wolfson.ox.ac.uk


Ireland’s Forgotten Veterans Paul Taylor, Heroes or Traitors? Experiences of Southern Irish Soldiers Returning from the Great War, 1919-1939, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015, 273 pp., £75, hardcover. Paul Taylor’s monograph provides valuable insight into the post-war experiences of Great War veterans who returned to ‘South Ireland’ and the latterly defined Irish Free State. The study looks at a broad range of issues including their role and experience during the Revolutionary Period, and the treatment and assistance offered them by the British and Free State Governments between 1919 and 1939. Taylor’s central theses are that the British Government provided considerable financial assistance in the form of pension payments, and that Irish society and government did not discriminate against them. Split into three core subject areas, the first section allows Taylor to contribute to the discussion of whether ex-servicemen were discriminated against and targeted by the IRA during the Revolutionary Period. Whilst this question has been discussed by a small number of historians for almost two decades, Taylor argues that British ex-servicemen were not targeted because of their British connections. An exploration of the files of the Irish Grants Committee, set-up by the British Government to investigate claims for compensation for loyalists who were intimidated or physically assaulted, reveals that only 262 claims out of 3,439 recorded incidents involved ex-servicemen. A further investigation of these claims highlights that the majority of these men believed that there were other explanations as to why they were the focus of republican attention. These motivational factors included being landowners, being suspected of informing Crown Forces, or breaking boycotts. Thus, whilst previous historians have argued that British ex-servicemen were targeted because of their war service, Taylor offers compelling quantitative analysis to question this narrative. Whilst Taylor makes a valuable contribution to a pre-established debate in his first section, it is in the second two-thirds that the book enters new historical ground. As pointed out by Taylor, little research has analysed the experiences of Irish Great War veterans beyond the revolutionary period and looked into life beyond the establishment of the Irish Free State. A thorough analysis of a range of British governmental sources at London’s National Archives effectively highlights that the British government continued to uphold its obligation to Great War veterans who resided in the Free State. Whilst the British government proved unable to dictate governmental policy regarding ex-


servicemen residing in the Irish Free State, a quantitative analysis of proportional pension costs across the United Kingdom demonstrates that the financial outlay on men residing in the Irish Free State far outweighed Northern Irish and British figures. In the final section of the study, Taylor looks at the conduct of the Irish Free State government. Utilising a range of British and Free State governmental sources Taylor highlights that, contrary to claims made by ex-service organisations and contemporary coverage in Free State newspapers, British ex-servicemen were not discriminated against. Instead, special preference was provided to veterans of the National Army, and the Great War veteran simply experienced the same detrimental socio-political and economic hardships shared by the majority of Irish men who had not served in the British Army. The fact that an estimated 30,000 British ex-servicemen were able to enlist in the National Army and benefit from this government preference provides ample evidence to Taylor’s thesis that their former war service was not an undue hindrance. Whilst Taylor’s work is a major contribution to the historiography, much more research remains to be done. For example, Taylor does not analyse the treatment of disabled Great War veterans in Northern Ireland. As Taylor writes on the first page of his monograph: ‘Northern Ireland (six counties) has been excluded; religion and politics ensured the experiences of the soldiers from north and south varied significantly.’ Until such a study is completed, an Irish case study regarding Great War veterans remains incomplete. In addition, whilst Heroes or Traitors offers fascinating insight into the post-war experiences of physically and mentally disabled veterans within the broader narrative of 100,000 returning combatants, a historical analysis solely dedicated to this unfortunate body of ex-servicemen remains to be done. Finally, whilst Taylor argued that it was the Civil War of 1922-23 which helped to create irrevocable divisions in Irish society, and, as a result, it was the anti-treaty IRA who were discriminated against as many became social outcasts, were denied employment, or were forced to emigrate, a closer analysis to verify such a claim remains necessary. Finally, international comparatives could offer further avenues for historians to explore. Whilst Taylor provides reference to returning veterans to other nations sharing dominion status such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, no reference to ex-servicemen who returned to the colonies within the British Empire is referenced. Finally, Great War veterans living in the Free State faced the unenviable situation of returning to a country having fought in an army that was considered by some to be the enemy. Thus, it would be interesting to compare Taylor’s work with similar case studies. This context could apply to ex-servicemen from Alsace and Lorraine, who fought in the German Army or men from Croatia, who had fought against the Serbs, as a member of the Austrian


Army, who returned to the newly established Yugoslavia. However, these observations are not a disapproval of Taylor’s work as this area of research is under-investigated in the wider field of veteran studies. As the fifth entry of Liverpool University’s Press’ Reappraisals in Irish History, the monograph continues the series’ immaculate style with tables, maps, abbreviations, and a glossary ensuring that the text is a meticulous and informative read. Ultimately, Taylor’s study is to be congratulated for bringing this timely topic to light, and it is no criticism to suggest that his work brings many more questions to the fore. Taylor’s work will be considered as the foundation for this future research to build upon.

Michael Robinson University of Liverpool michael.robinson@liverpool.ac.uk


Books Received Stanley Van Der Ziel, John McGahern and the Imagination of Tradition (Cork: Cork University Press, 2016)

Medhbh McGuckian, The Unfixed Horizon: New Selected Poems (Winston-Salem: Wake Forest University Press, 2015)

Deirdre McFeely, Dion Boucicault: Irish Identity on Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Christopher Maginn and Steven G. Ellis, The Tudor Discovery of Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015)

Lauren Arrington, Revolutionary Lives: Constance and Casimir Markievicz (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016)

Lisa Godson and Joanna BrĂźck, eds., Making 1916: Material and Visual Culture of the Easter Rising (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015)

Tom Walker, Louis MacNeice and the Irish Poetry of His Time (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

Anyone interested in reviewing any of the above should contact the reviews editor, SeĂĄn Hewitt, at S.E.Hewitt2@liverpool.ac.uk


Submissions for LPJIS, No. 2 (2017) will open in summer 2016. All enquiries should be emailed in the first instance to the general editor, Seรกn Hewitt, on S.E.Hewitt2@liverpool.ac.uk.

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