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Revolution and Evolution


Edited By John Strachan and Alison O'Malley-Younger

The essays in this collection all revolve around the notion of change in Ireland, whether by revolution or by evolution. Developments in the shared histories of Ireland and Great Britain are an important theme throughout the book. The volume begins by examining two remarkable Irishmen on the make in Georgian London: the boxing historian Pierce Egan and the extraordinary Charles Macklin, eighteenth-century actor, playwright and manslaughterer. The focus then moves to aspects of Hibernian influence and the presence of the Irish Diaspora in Great Britain from the medieval period up to the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century celebrations of St Patrick’s Day in Manchester. The book also considers the very different attitudes to the British Empire evident in the career of the 1916 rebel Sir Roger Casement and the Victorian philologist and colonial servant Whitley Stokes. Further essays look at writings by Scottish Marxists on the state of Ireland in the 1920s and the pronouncements on the Troubles by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
The book also examines change in the culture of the island of Ireland, from the development of the Irish historical novel in the nineteenth century, to ecology in contemporary Irish women’s poetry, to the present state of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Contemporary Irish authors examined include Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor and Martin McDonagh.


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Theatrical Representations of Easter 1916 and Sir Roger Casement: Flags, Walls and Cats CATHERINE REES 167


Theatrical Representations of Easter 1916 and Sir Roger Casement: Flags, Walls and Cats Catherine Rees This chapter addresses nearly one hundred years of theatrical controversy and protest. It focuses on representations of Sir Roger Casement and the Easter uprising leaders in Dublin 1916 by examining three plays by Sean O’Casey, David Rudkin and Martin McDonagh, which portray the events and personalities of those few days in very different ways. It suggests ways in which these plays create or explore levels of ambiguity particularly sur- rounding the character of Casement as a mythological figure, subject to processes of historical interpretation, analysis and reading, and how the events of Easter 1916 are recreated through artistic vision and poetic licence. Artistic and ‘performative’ aspects of the representation of these events are also considered through the examination of pictorial depictions such as Northern Irish wall murals and their impact on the city space. I The events surrounding Easter 1916 are in a constant state of interpreta- tion, re-interpretation and appropriation. The mythology of the event, disseminated through culture over years, becomes a narrative. As the story is re-lived through re-telling as well as artistic appropriation, the process of understanding and remembering is never fully complete or ended, and nor could it ever be total or finite. The perennial question ‘Where were you in 1916?’ (Moran, 2005: 113) perpetuates a nostalgia which encourages a forced cultural memory, perhaps asked of someone born years after the 168 Catherine Rees events in question. Of course, the...

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