The Irish story: telling tales and making it up in Ireland by R. F. Foster

By R. F. Foster

Roy Foster is without doubt one of the leaders of the iconoclastic new release of Irish historians. during this opinionated, pleasing e-book he examines how the Irish have written, understood, used, and misused their historical past during the last century.
Foster argues that, over the centuries, Irish adventure itself has been changed into tale. He examines how and why the main moments of Ireland's past--the 1798 emerging, the Famine, the Celtic Revival, Easter 1916, the Troubles--have been labored into narratives, drawing on Ireland's robust oral tradition, on parts of fable, folklore, ghost tales and romance. the results of this consistent reinterpretation is a moving "Story of Ireland," entire with plot, drama, suspense, and revelation.
assorted, excellent, and humorous, the interlinked essays in The Irish Story study the tales that folks inform one another in eire and why. Foster presents an unsparing view of how Irish historical past is manipulated for political ends and that Irish poverty and oppression is sentimentalized and packaged. He deals incisive readings of writers from Standish O'Grady to Trollope and Bowen; dissects the Irish government's commemoration of the 1798 rebellion; and bitingly evaluations the memoirs of Gerry Adams and Frank McCourt. Fittingly, because the acclaimed biographer of Yeats, Foster explores the poet's complicated figuring out of the Irish story--"the secret play of devils and angels which we name our nationwide history"--and warns of the risks of turning eire right into a old subject park.
The Irish Story should be hailed through a few, attacked via others, yet for all who care approximately Irish historical past and literature, it is going to be crucial examining.

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While the Northern nightmare was at its bloodiest, there was an imperative to turn a searchlight upon various disputed versions of our national past, and to investigate the supposed verities in the name of which both sides were conducting war. This produced, for instance, a self-conscious but wholly admirable and productive attempt among intellectuals in the Republic to try to understand the roots of the unionist view (not always reciprocated from the North). It is easy to have fun at the expense of the language used by politicians, but in many ways the public rhetoric of the state has altered astonishingly over the last ten or fifteen years; and this is the outcome of reconsiderations enforced in the first place by new approaches to our history.

51 King John was a good king. Norman barons and Irish chieftains were brothers under the skin, affectionately sharing beds with each other after signing peace treaties. ‘Ireland’ liked the Tudors. And Cromwell – merry, animated, decisive, charismatic, like the best kind of pagan – was ‘a most sagacious ruler and a most valiant fighter’, disciplining his soldiers, preventing looting, trying to discuss religion with the Dublin Catholics who ‘for one reason or another, probably bad reasons, frequented his rude and simple court’.

The illicit lovers were apprehended in the Parnell Suite, while the restaurant was called the Famine Room. How we laughed, in 1971. But the spectacle of the Famine Museum right beside the restaurant at Strokestown House, County Roscommon, or the old Wicklow gaol in its new tourist-friendly incarnation, full of resting actors in period costume, suggests that at least one great Irishman, Oscar Wilde, would appreciate the way that reality slavishly imitates art. At the same time, it is worth noting the anniversaries that do not get commemorated.

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