Terence Brown


1944- ; born in China, the son of Presbyterian missionary parents; ed. Belfast Academical Institute; prominent in rugby and cricket as a schoolboy; grad. TCD in English; completed PhD; ed. Time Was Away with Alec Reid (1921- ); issued Northern Voices: Poets from Ulster (1975), followed by Louis MacNeice: Sceptical Vision (1975); appt. lecturer at TCD; m. Susan; appt. chief reader for Gill & Macmillan; issued Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1972 (1981; rev. 1985; rev. & enl. 2002);
contrib. The Whole Protestant Community (1985) to the Field Day Pamphlet Series (No. 7); elected TCD Fellow; appt. Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin, TCD, c.1998; issued A Critical Life of W. B. Yeats (1999); elected MRIA and appt. Chairman of the RIA Committee for Anglo-Irish Studies; serving committee member for Anglo-Irish Literature, European Soc. for the Study of English [ESSE];
a conference celebrating his contribution to Irish criticism, along with that of Seamus Deane, planned at Clonliffe for 2005; appt. Dean of Arts and Humanities at TCD in 2006; appt. visiting fellow at Cambridge Univ., 2007; he was the subject of a festchrift in 2010, with contribs. by leading academics and writers incl. a poem by Seamus Heaney which afterwards appeared as the title-poem of his collection The Human Chain (2010 - viz, “Human Chain”); emeritus in 2010; Brown is the recipient of the title-poem in Seamus Heaney’s The Human Chain (2010), and a tribute-poem - “Dundalk Signal Box” - by Michael Longley in A Hundred Doors (2011).

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  • Louis MacNeice: Sceptical Vision (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan; NJ: Barnes & Noble 1975), vi, 215pp.
  • Northern Voices: Poets from Ulster (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975) [see contents];
  • Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1972 (London: Fontana 1981), 364pp. [& rev. edns.; see details];
  • The Whole Protestant Community: The Making of a Historical Myth [Field Day Pamphlet, No. 7] (Derry: Field Day Co. 1985), 23pp.;
  • Ireland’s Literature: Selected Essays (Mullingar: Lilliput Press 1988; NJ: Barnes & Noble Books 1988), ix, 262pp. [see contents];
  • W. B. Yeats: A Critical Life (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1999), xiii, 410pp. [see contents];
  • The Literature of Ireland: Culture and Criticism (Cambridge UP 2010), x, 281pp. [see contents].
  • Harvest’s Home: In Memory of Christopher Brown, 1946-1982: A Poem by Terence Brown (Dublin: Trinity Closet Press [1983]), [2]pp. [26cm.]
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  • with Alec Reid, ed., Time Was Away: The World of Louis MacNeice (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1974), 151pp., ill. [1 pl., front.];
  • Hard Times [Inscapes 8] (Dublin: [Gill] Educational Co. 1974);
  • with Patrick Rafroidi, ed., The Irish Short Story (Lille: Presses universitaires de Lille; Gerrards Cross: Smythe 1979), 3-305pp.;
  • The Joycean Year: paintings by Gerald Davis, commentary by Terence Brown [Irish University Review, 12, 1, 1982], rep. as Do. (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1985), [27]pp., col. ill. [23cm.; ltd. edn. 150 copies];
  • [annot.], The Hound of the Baskervilles [York Notes] (London: Longmans 1980), 69pp.
  • ed., with Nicholas Grene, Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Irish Poetry (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1989), xi, 201pp. [see contents];
  • ‘Saxon and Celt: The Stereotypes’, in Literary Interrelations: Ireland, England and the World, Vol. III: ‘National Images and Stereotypes’, ed. Wolfgang Zach & Heinz Kosok (Tübingen: Guntar Narr Verlag, 1987), pp.1-10;
  • contrib. to Ireland, Past and Present, ed. Brendan Kennelly (London: Prion 1992), 192pp. [30cm.; with Sean White, Sean Kilfeather, David Hanly, Brendan O’Eithir and Liam de Paor];
  • ‘Celtic Nationalism and Postcoloniality: A Questionnaire and Some Responses’, in SPAN, 41 (New Zealand: Univ. of Waikato Oct. 1995), pp.17-20;
  • ed. & intro., Derek Mahon, Journalism: Selected Prose 1970-1995 (Oldcastle: Gallery Books 1996), 241pp.
  • Preface to Chris Morash, ed., Creativity and Its Contexts (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1995), pp.viiff.;
  • ‘New Literary Histories’, in Irish Historical Studies, XXX, [119] (1997), pp.462-70;
  • ‘Shakespeare and the Irish Self’, in Irelands in the Asia-Pacific, ed. Peter Kuch & Julie-Ann Robson (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 2003), pp.[3]-17;
  • [section on Irish fiction], in The British and Irish Novel Since 1960, ed. James Acheson (London: Macmillan 1991) [q.pp.];
  • ‘Who Dares to Speak?: Ireland and the Great War’, in English Studies in Transition: Papers from the Inaugural ESSE Conference, Robert Clark & Piero Boitani (London: Routledge 1993), pp.226-37;
  • with others, Past and Present (London: Prion Books 1998), 224pp.;
  • ed., Celticism (Amsterdam; Atlanta GA Rodopi 1996), x, 200pp. [incl. Brown, ‘Celticism and the Occult’, pp.221-30];
  • ed., The Rooney Prize: A Celebration, 1976-2000 (Dublin: [s.n.] 2001), 187pp. [21cm.; ltd edn. of 250 copies; hors commerce].
  • [...]
  • ‘Two Post-modern Novelists: Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Irish Novel, ed. John Wilson Foster (Cambridge UP 2006), pp.205-22.
Reviews (sel.)
  • Terence Brown, ‘The Death of William Carleton, 1869’, in Hermathena, CX (1970), pp.81-85;
  • ‘Samuel Beckett: Tragic Comedian’, in Studies, LIX, 236 (1970), pp.419-21;
  • ‘New Literary Histories’ [review-article on James Fairhall, James Joyce and the Question of History (Cambridge 1993), in Irish Historical Studies, XXX, 119 (May 1997) [see under F. S. L. Lyons, infra];
  • ‘Later Silences’, review of Passion and Cunning and Other Essays, by Conor Cruise O’Brien, in Krino, 6 (1988), pp.59-62.
  • ‘A Tradition from Fractured History’, review of The Cambridge History of Irish Literature [2 vols], ed. Margaret Kelleher & Philip O’Leary, in The Irish Times (1 July 2006), Weekend [infra].
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Series Editor

with Brendan Kennelly, ed., “Irish Prose Writings: Swift to the Literary Renaissance” (Hon-no-Tomosha 1992). The series of 23 titles incls. George Moore, A Story-teller’s Holiday; Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent; Samuel Lover, Handy Andy; William Carleton, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry; Samuel Ferguson, Hibernian Nights; J. Sheridan Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly; John Mitchel, Jail Journal; James Clarence Mangan, The Prose Writings, ed. D. J. O’Donoghue; Charles J. Kickham, Knocknagow; Gerald Griffin, The Collegians; Charles Lever, Lord Kilgobbin; W. Steuart Trench, Realities of Irish Life; Canon P. A. Sheehan, Luke Delmege; C. R. Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer; Augusta Gregory, Cuchulain of Muirthemne; J. M. Synge, The Aran Islands; D. P. Moran, Tom O’Kelly, and The Philosophy of Irish Ireland; Padraic H. Pearse, Political Writings and Speeches; A.E. [George Russell], The National Being; Somerville & Ross, The Real Charlotte; Eimar O’Duffy, The Wasted Island; Padraic Ó Conaire, The Woman at the Window and Other Stories [all 1992.]

Reference works
Brown is author of the entries on Louis MacNeice, John Hewitt, W. R. Rodgers and Richard Power in The Dictionary of Irish Literature, ed. Robert Hogan (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979). 

Invited lectures listed on the English School webpages at Trinity College, Dublin at 2005
“Samuel Beckett and Louis MacNeice”, Canadian Association for Irish Studies Conference, Winnipeg, February, 1975
“The Irish Writer and the Community in the 1920s”, American Committee for Irish Studies conference, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1979
“Irish Literature and History, 1880-1940, University of Oklahoma, July, 1978
“Literature and society in modern Ireland”, University of Vermont, July and August, 1980
“Poetry and Culture: the case of Northern Ireland”, Northern Ireland; the mind of a community in crisis, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, September, 1984
“Literary Criticism and History”, American Committee for Irish Studies conference, Tacoma, Washington, April, 1985
“Ireland and Romanticism”, Caen University/UCD/ University of Ulster Symposium, Dublin, April, 1986
“Samuel Beckett’s Ireland”, Beckett dans le siecle, Pompidou Centre, Paris, April, 1986
“Awakening from the Nightmare: history in some recent Irish literature”, Irish Society and Culture, Princess Grace Memorial Library, Monaco, May, 1986
“Ireland: a social and cultural history”, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil, January, 1988
“John Hewitt and the Lost Generation”, 1st John Hewitt International Summer School, July, 1988
“Louis MacNeice and Ireland”, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, September, 1988
“Yeats, Ireland and 1939”, Yeats International Summer School, August, 1989
“Yeats, Europe and 1939”, MIII Congreso Nacional de AEDEAN, Tarragona, December, 1989
“Yeats and the Unity of Irish Culture”, Modern Irish poetry at the Universities of Brussels, Universities of Brussels, Leuven and Antwerp, February, 1990
“Northern Ireland and Cultural Change”, Anglo-Irish relations and Northern Ireland, Woodrow Wilson Centre, Airlie House Virginia, May, 1990
“John Hewitt: an Ulster of the Mind”, Third John Hewitt International Summer School, August, 1990
“Joyce as satirist”, James Joyce Summer School, Dublin, August, 1900
“The Irish Worlds of Yeats and Beckett”, Second Annual Yeats International Theatre Festival, Dublin, August, 1990
“Joyce’s Magic Lantern”, Joyce and History, Yale University, New Haven, October, 1990
“Joyce as satirist”, University of Reims symposium, March, 1991
“Mangan and the worst of woes”, I.A.S.A.I.L. conference, Leiden, July, 1991
“Yeats as Victorian”, Inaugural Nineteenth Century Ireland Conference, Maynooth, July, 1992
“South of the Border Down Mexico Way: John Hewitt and the Irish State”, Fifth John Hewitt International Summer School, July, 1992
“The Irish Prose Tradition”, Kyoto and Tokyo, September, 1992
“MacNeice and the Second World War”, War in Irish Writing, University of Ulster, Coleraine, September, 1992
“The End of the Affair: Trinity and Ulster”, Queen’s University, Belfast, November, 1992
“Cultural Nationalism, Celticism and the occult”, Royal Academy, May, 1993
“W. B. Yeats: Revolution as Theatre”, Synge Summer School, June, 1993
“Yeats as Victorian”, Yeats Summer School, August, 1993
“Tom Moore: National Poet?”, Parnell Summer School, August, 1993
“Joyce’s "Calypso"”, Joyce Summer School, July, 1994
“Yeats and Revolution”, Yeats Summer School, August, 1994
“MacNeice and the Puritan Tradition”, University of Ulster, September, 1994
“Nationalism and the Cultural Borderland”, Bucharest and Timisoara, Romania, May, 1995
“Theorising the Nation: the cultural borderland”, Mainz, July, 1995
“Ireland, Europe, Republicanism”, Rennes, September, 1995
“Seamus Heaney and the tradition”, Confernence to honour Heaney’s Nobel award, Coimbra, Portugal, April, 1996
“Beckett and the Anglo-Irish tradition”, Conference on Beckett and London, Goldsmiths College, April, 1996
“Europe and the periphery, Grenoble, France, 1996
“Carleton and Violence”, Carleton Summer School, August, 1996
“Yeats and Sligo”, Yeats Summer School, August, 1996
“The Tower”, Yeats Summer School, August, 1998
“The Ghosts in the Machine”, TCD, April, 2000
“The Tower”, Yeats Summer School, August, 2000
“Joyce’s Dubliners”, Sorbonne III, January, 2001
“Dubliners and Sexuality”, James Joyce International Summer School, Dublin, July, 2001
“Matthews Memorial Lecture”, Birkbeck College, University of London, May, 2002
“Plenary lecture”, IASIL conference, University of Sao Paulo, July, 2002
“Revising the Irish Literary Revival”, University of Aberdeen, March, 2003
“Plenary lecture on Yeats and Shakespeare”, University of Orleans, France, April, 2003
“Frank O’Connor and a Vanished Ireland”, The Frank O’Connor Centenary Conference, TCD, September, 2003
“Ithaca and the Poetry of Things”, Literature and the Thing, Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), September, 2003
“Joyce and Materialism”, James Joyce Center, Dublin, March, 2004
“Commemoration”, Hertford College, Oxford and University of London, February, 2004
“Commemoration and the Peace Process”, Wake Forest University, North Carolina, March, 2004
“Ithaca and Materialism”, Joycefest, Dublin, June, 2004
“Joyce and Materialism”, Washington and Lee University, Virginia, April, 2005

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The European English Messenger [organ of ESSE]: contrib. to ‘Coming into Being’ [report on 2st conference in Norwich], 1, 1 (Autumn 1991), pp.9-11; ‘The New Novel Laureate’, IV, 2 (Autumn 1992), p.11.

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Bibliographical details
Northern Voices: Poets from Ulster (Dub: Gill & Macmillan 1975), 278pp. CONTENTS: Poetry in a Colony [5]; Samuel Ferguson: Cultural Nationalism [29]; William Allingham: Cultural Confusion [42[; Of Heroes, Gods and Peasants [55]; John Hewitt: Land and People [86]; Louis MacNeice: An Anglo-Irish Quest [98]; W R Rodgers: Romantic Calvinist [114]; Robert Greacen and Roy McFadden: Apocalypse and Survival [128]; Padriacc Fiacc: The Bleeding Bough [141]; John Montague: Circling to Return [149]; Four New Voices: Poets of the Present [171]; Conclusion: With Kavanagh in Mind [214]; Notes [222]. Select Bibliography [240; infra]; Index.

Ireland: A Social and Cultural History: 1922-1972 (London: Fontana 1981), 364pp.; and Do. [rev. 2nd. edn.] 1922-1985 (London: Harper Press 1985), 396pp.; Do. (Ithaca: Cornell UP 1985), 302pp.; and Do. [rev. 3rd. edn.] 1922-2001 (London: Harper Perennial 2004), viii, 496pp.

Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Irish Poetry, ed. Terence Brown & Nicholas Grene (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1989), xi, 201ed. Terence Brown & Nicholas Grene (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1989), xi, 201pp. CONTENTS: Robert Welch [‘Constitution, language and tradition in nineteenth-century Irish poetry’]; Seamus Deane, ‘Yeats - the creation of an audience’; N. Grene, ‘Yeats and the re-making of Synge’; Peter Denman, ‘Austin Clarke - tradition, memory and our lot’; Terence Brown, ‘Louis MacNiece’s Ireland’; Antoinette Quinn, ‘Patrick Kavanagh’s Parish myth’; Gerald Dawe, ‘an absence of influence - three modernist poets’; Brendan Kennelly, ‘Derek Mahon’s human perspective’; Edna Longley, ‘Poetry forms and social deformations’; Seamus Heaney, ‘the placeless heaven - another look at Kavanagh’.

Ireland’s Literature: Selected Essays (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1988), essays on Ferguson, Dowden, et al. incl. ‘Yeats, Joyce and the Irish Critical Debate’ [77-90], ‘Thomas Moore: A Reputation’ [prev. in Gaeliana (Caen 1987)]; ‘Ireland, Modernism and the 1930s’ [in progress].

W. B. Yeats: A Critical Life (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1999), xiii, 410pp., ill. [8pp. of pls., incl. ports.; 24 cm.]. CONTENTS: List of Illustrations. Preface and Acknowledgements. Abbreviations. Prologue: Chaps: Sindbad’s Yellow Shore. 1. Victorian Cities: London and Dublin. 2. The English 1890s. 3. Poems 1895. 4. Conflicts and Crises. 5. Patronage and Powers. 6. An Irish Ireland. 7. The Strong Enchanter. 8. The Mid-Life Mask. 9. Darkened Rooms. 10. The Lonely Height. 11. All Changed. 12. Occult Marriage. 13. The Weasel’s Tooth. 14. Senator and Seer. 15. Visionary Modernist. 16. Home and Abroad. 17. An Old Man’s Frenzy. 18. Stroke of Midnight. Epilogue: Afterlife. Works Cited. Select Bibliography and Guide to Further Reading. Index. [Note: the book is poem- rather than chronology-based and ‘written with great critical distinction’, acc. to R. F. Foster, in Yeats: The Arch-Mage [Life of Yeats, Vol. 2], 2005, p.xxi.] (See also Publsher’s notice, under Notes, infra.)

The Literature of Ireland: Culture and Criticism (Cambridge UP 2010), x, 281pp. CONTENTS. Introduction; 1. The Literary Revival: historical reflections; 2. Joyce’s magic lantern; 3. Music: the cultural issue; 4. Modernism and revolution: re-reading Yeats’s “Easter 1916”; 5. Shakespeare and the Irish self; 6. Irish literature and the Great War; 7. Irish modernism and the 1930s; 8. Post-modernists: Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien; 9. Patrick Kavanagh: religious poet; 10. MacNeice’s Ireland: MacNeice’s Islands; 11. Louis MacNeice and the Second World War; 12. MacNeice and the Puritan tradition; 13. John Hewitt and memory: a reflection; 14. Michael Longley and the Irish poetic tradition; 15. Seamus Heaney: the witnessing eye and the speaking tongue; 16. Derek Mahon: the poet and painting; 17. Telling tales: Kennelly’s Cromwell and Muldoon’s ’The More a Man Has the More a Man Wants’; 18. Redeeming the time: the novels of John McGahern and John Banvillle; 19. ’Have we a context’: transition, self and society in the drama of Brian Friel; 20. Hubert Butler and nationalism; 21. The Irish Dylan Thomas: versions and influences.

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W. J. McCormack, ‘Terence Brown and the Historians’, in The Battle of the Books: Two Decades of Irish Cultural Debate (Dublin: Lilliput 1986), pp.40-47; Jacqueline Hurtley, interview Terence Brown, in Ireland in Writing: Interviews with Writers and Academics, ed. Hurtley, et al. (Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi 1998), pp.125-42.

See also Nicholas Allen & Eve Patten, eds., That Island Never Found: Essays and Poems for Terence Brown (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), pp.200 [contents].

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Bibliographical details
Nicholas Allen & Eve Patten, eds., That Island Never Found: Essays and Poems for Terence Brown (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007). Contents: John Wilson Foster, ‘Foreword’; Paul Muldoon, ‘A Mayfly’; Chris Morash, ‘The Remains of Ellen Hanley’ [subject of Gerald Griffin’s The Collegians]; Brendan Kennelly, ‘The Search’ [poem]; Nicholas Grene, ‘Yeats and Dates’; R. F. Foster, ‘Yeats, Joyce and Modern Ireland’; Derek Mahon, ‘Chorus from Antigone’ [poem]; Nicholas Allen, ‘Louis MacNeice and Autumn’s Ghosts’; Eve Patten, ‘Olivia Manning, Imperial Refugee’; Greg Delanty, ‘The Rising’ [poem], ‘To a Teacher’; Declan Kiberd, ‘Growing up Absurd’; Sighle Breathnach-Lynch, ‘Commemorating whose Dead?’; Gerald Dawe, ‘The Pleasure Boats’ [poem]; Edna Longley, ‘Back in the 1960s’; Helen Vendler, ‘Seamus Heaney’s “Sweeney Redivivus’’; Seamus Heaney, “The Human Chain” [poem].

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W. J. McCormack
, ‘Terence Brown and the Historians’, in The Battle of the Books (Dublin: Lilliput 1986), pp.40-47: discusses the nexus of history and literary culture in F. S. L. Lyons, Oliver MacDonagh, et al., and adjudges Brown’s Social and Cultural History ‘simply the very best available’ (p.45; see further under Conor Cruise O’Brien, Commentary, infra.)

J. J. Lee, ‘The Irish’, in ‘O’Faoláin Special Issue’, Cork Review, ed,. Seán Dunne (Cork 1991), p.66-67, describes Brown’s Ireland: Social and Cultural History as a fulfilment of Sean O’Faolain’s prediction and hope that ‘somebody may write an Irish Social History and give a different value to events.’ (Lee, op. cit., p.67.)

Thomas Kinsella: Kinsella is scathing of Terence Brown’s conception of ‘Northern Voices’ and a distinct tradition of Ulster poetry which he believes to be Unionist propaganda for a separate province - with the non-Unionist counties ‘edited out’, but praises what he regards as Brown’s evolving political consciousness. (See The Dual Tradition, 1995 Edn.) Note: Kinsella’s remarks in this connection became part of his curmudgeonly legend - see under Kinsella, infra.

Hermione Lee, review of Terence Brown, The Life of W. B. Yeats [with Brenda Maddox, Yeats’s Ghosts], in NY Times, “Book Review” (21 Nov. 1999): ‘[Brown] repeatedly tells us that “apparent contradiction” was the basis of Yeats’s “developing artistic personality”, that his “lack of assurance”, and his “ineluctably divided nature” became the “dynamic of his writings.” Lee approves Brown as ‘properly severe on Yeat’s quarrelsome brutality, snobbery, ruthlessness and extremism’, but laments the writing as too often ‘stuffy and verbose’, calling for a Poundian red-pencil in relation to such sentences as: ‘Yet it is wide of the mark in failing to grasp the tragic import [of] an excoriating vision of irrevocable action as ineluctable destiny.’ Epithets like redolent, bespeak, purport, adumbrate are targeted also. (See quotations, under W. B. Yeats, infra.)

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Language revival: ‘The revival attempt, therefore, despite its apparent radicalism, can be seem as rather more a reactionary expression of the deep conservatism of mind that governed public attitudes in the period than as a revolutionary movement.’ (Brown, Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1972, 1981, p.67.)

Irish Catholicism: ‘The Church […] offered to most Irishmen and women in the period a way to be Irish which set them apart from the rest of the inhabitants of the British Isles, meeting the needs thereby of a nascent Irish nationalism at a time when the Irish language and the Gaelic culture of the past were were enduring a protracted decline. Bound up in the past with the traditional Gaelic way of life […] historically associated with the repression of the eighteenth century when the native priesthood had heroically resisted the proscription of their faith, permeated with that profound sense of the supernatural which had characterised the countryside for centuries, Catholicism was richly endowed with attributes appropriate to its modern role in the nation’s life. Strengthened by the Roman vigour of the devotional revolution […] the Catholic faith of the majority of the Irish people became therefore intimately linked with the national feeling. Accordingly […] Irish Catholicism increasingly became a badge of national identity.’ (Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1972, London: Fontana 1981, pp.28-29.)

Artists & the Troubles (in the 1970s): ‘No longer do artists and writers find themselves able or willing to work in anything like a distinctive national mode, nor do they feel able to mount a social criticism of a society with clearly defined targets for attack. Paradoxically, this inclination on the part of artists and writers to fulfil clearly defined social and national roles has co-existed with demands that they do so. As Irish people began to sense their changing circumstances and as the Northern crisis challenged much that they had taken for granted about the national life, it was the artist and particularly the writer who was often expected to provide some kind of guidance as to the way forward. Writers were therefore asked to reflect […] on […] the substance of Irish identity and on how that bore on the contemporary struggle in the North.’ (p.321-22; quoted in Loredana Salis, ‘“So Greek with Consequence”: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.)

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IE joins EC: ‘Was it the case that when the issue of reunification became for once a real one the Republic preferred to look the other way and to proceed with business as usual - in the EEC, in trade, with Britain, welcoming British tourists, refusing to confront Britain in too direct a fashion, adopting at moments an unworthy ambivalence of word and action in relation to conflicting ideological imperatives?’ (Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1985 [2nd edn.] (London: Fontana 1985, p.283; in Loredana Salis, op. cit., 2005.)

Censorship Act (1929): ‘[M]uch more than a law to suppress the grosser forms of pornography, [it] had been revealed to be a legal instrument that could be used to protect Ireland from contamination by “alien” influences and by Irish writers who did not accept the dominant moral and social consensus. The political censorship of the war years can accordingly be understood as a further attempt by the political class in Ireland to use laws restricting freedom of expressin for ideological purposes. In oth the literary and political censorship, national identity was at issue. Both involved notions of Irish exceptionalism, which presumed spiritual and moral superiority to other nations at its heart.’ (Review of Donal Ó Drisceoil, Censorship in Ireland, Cork UP 1996, in Irish Studies Review, 20, Autumn 1997, pp.45-46; cited in Gerry Smyth, Decolonisation and Criticism: The Construction of Irish Literature, London: Pluto Press 1998.)

Translating Ireland’, in Gerald Dawe & Jonathan Williams, eds., Krino (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1996), pp.137-40: ‘Often enough in the past, translation from the Irish was an act of nationalist piety; an expression of atavistic need, or even the consequence of a deliberate programme. One gets no sense of such from the recent work. Rather, the translations often seem to take for granted that the meium through which most people in Ireland experience their world and live their lives is English and that it is wholly appropriate that an Irish poet should write, if he or she wishes, in that language. The sense of guilt which sometimes dogged English language poets of an earlier generation no longer seems endemic. That the ascination for translation from Irish seems to imply is not a nostalgia for some truly indigenous expression, nor any revivalist enthusiasm, but a sense that the complexity of the Irihs poet’s contemporary experience requires an interpretative resource which current English language usage somehow fails fully to supply.’ (p.137.) Further, ‘Concurrent with this recent reinvigoration of bilingual poetic endeavour has been the related phenomenon of translation of poetry from the European languages. Once again in much of this work one senses a desire to expand the field of contemporary vision and to add to possible ways of conceiving of the present in an English language poetry. For the poems from such places come with the imprint of a savage and terrible history on their very structures, bearing the mark of pain in the flesh of their language, courage in the syntactical scruple with which they comport themselves in the face of terror. They afford the Irish poet a way of deepening the local sense of a frighteningly flawed national life while they offer a means of escape from a futility and inanity which must result form the fact that our flawed Irish world only occasionally presses with a defining immediacy on the individual.’ (p.138.)

War memorials: Brown remarks on ‘the larger suppressions and resurfacings in Irish consciousness of the profound effects upon Irish life of the Great War itself, as well as the difficulty of addressing these in the public domain since memories of the war and attitudes to it differ so greatly, bespeaking current points of stress and division. The Great War is one of the great unspokens of Irish life, something which rattles skeletons in many a family closet, something which even now cannot find that full expression which would lay to rest for ever all its Irish victims. It is, one supposes, part of hte unfinished business of our curent imbroglio.’ (‘Who Dares to Speak?: Ireland and the Great War’, in Robert Clark & Piero Boitani, eds., English Studies in Transition: Papers from the Inaugural ESSE Conference, London: Routledge 1993, pp.227-28; quoted in Heinz Kosok, ‘The Easter Rising versus the Battle of the Somme: Irish Plays about the First World War as Documents of the Post-colonial Condition’, in Munira H. Mutran & Laura P. Z. Izarra, eds., Irish Studies in Brazil, Sao Paolo 2005, pp.91-92.) Note, Brown elsewhere speaks of Northern Unionists and ‘the tragic conflict of legitimate interests which had generated the recent conflict in their native land, which but for the catastrophic events in the greater European theatre might have resulted in an Irish civil war between the forces of Nationalism and unionism.’ (review of Paul Bew, Ideology and the Irish Question: Ulster Unionism and Irish Nationalism 1912-1916, OUP 1995, in Irish Literary Supplement, Spring 1996, p.9.)

Independent Ireland: ‘[T]he period since independence had seen a kind of putsch which had brought an intellectually and culturally impoverished middle class into power. This ruling élite had innured itself against an awareness of the dismal facts of Ireland’s social reality as a nation but newly formed in the nineteenth century, and as yet lacking in many of the appurtenances of civilization, in dreams of the Gaelic past, the noble peasant, the seamless garment of Irish history and culture.’ (Brown, Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1972, 1981, pp.200-201; quoted in Germán Asensio, ‘Flann O’Brien’s creative loophole’, in Estudios Irlandeses, March 2015, pp.1-13, q.p. - available online; accessed 22.07.2021).

Further (Brown, A Social and Cultural History (1922-1972): ‘the fires of economic nationalism and the quest for cultural self-sufficiency were waning, but as yet they had not been replaced by a coherent set of values’ (Ibid., [1981]. p.221; quoted in Germán Asensio Peral, “Myles na gCopaleen’s Cruiskeen Lawn (1940-66) and Irish Politics” [Phd. Thesis] Universidad de Almería 2020, p.81 [available as .pdf online; accessed 22.07.2021].)

Ulster group: Brown attributes a ‘tense astringency’ to the Belfast poets [Longley, Mahon, et al.] in Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1972 (London: Fontana 1981) [q.p.]

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W.B. Yeats: A Critical Life (1999) - Publisher’s notice: ‘widely regarded as the greatest English-language poet of the twentieth century, believed that the life of a lyric poet was an experiment in living that should be told. This new critical biography seeks to tell that story as it unfolded in the various contexts in which Yeats worked as an artist and as a public figure. It considers a career that began in the late Victorian world of 1880s and 1890s London, which involved a deep commitment to the life of an emergent Ireland in the twentieth century, disillusionment and the alienation from the modern world that made Yeats, who began as a symbolist poet, one of the major figures of the Modernist movement in the second decade of the century. A central focus of this study is Yeats’ perennial pursuit of sacral power which he saw as being vested in traditional institutions. It examines how at various stages of his life he sought to acquire such power for himself in such “institutions” as a magical order, a nation, a theatre, the community of the dead, and, climactically, an occult marriage. The concluding stages of the book assess Yeats’ final years as a crisis of that faith in institutions, which had hitherto sustained him in all he attempted. At the last only the institution of the verse itself retained its efficacy in the end. This study allows us to gain a much deeper appreciation of the poet’s engagement with occult knowledge and power and with spiritualist illumination. It explores this problematic aspect of the poet’s career as bearing on key elements in the experience of modernity: the roles of science and religion, the emancipation of women and the artistic representation of the body. In this book all Yeats’ major works as poet and dramatist are considered in the contexts in which they came to be written and published.’

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