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Ireland and the Czech Lands

Contacts and Comparisons in History and Culture

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Edited By Gerald Power and Ondrej Pilny

In recent years Irish scholars have become increasingly interested in Ireland’s profound and ongoing relationship with continental Europe. This volume is the first multidisciplinary collection of essays on Irish comparisons and contacts with the Czech Lands from the early modern period to contemporary times. Written by leading specialists and emerging scholars, the essays explore Irish-Czech exchanges and parallels in a variety of fields including history, politics, literature, theatre, journalism and physical education. Collectively, these essays demonstrate that Ireland and the Czech Lands have much in common and that they have enjoyed deep cultural connections: both countries are small European states with imperial pasts and a tradition of mutual migration and cultural transfer. Until now, however, Czech-Irish commonalities and connections have largely been overshadowed by both countries’ interactions with bigger, more powerful nations. This book remedies this neglect, offering new research which not only sheds light on Irish-Czech connections and contacts, but also offers new perspectives on the positions of both societies within the wider European context.

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Gerald Power and Ondřej Pilný Ireland and the Czech Lands: An Introduction

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The present volume is the first book-length study dedicated to Irish-Czech connections and comparisons from early modern times to the present day. As such, it attempts to highlight some of the more important periods of contact and cultural exchange, to establish some interesting parallels and to suggest areas for further investigation. In other words, what our book has to of fer is, metaphorically speaking, a series of maps of several significant historical episodes and areas of cultural production, ranging from initial attempts at charting new perspectives and areas of study, to panoramic surveys of more established research fields. The sheer scope of the period addressed makes it impossible for the following essays to provide a comprehensive coverage. Moreover, the spe- cific focus is determined by the expertise available on the one hand, and by the decision of the editors not to reprint material which has already been published.1 A principal task of this introduction thus must be to establish the overall context of the individual studies. First, there is the question of nomenclature pertaining to the respec- tive territories. Ostensibly, terms like ‘Ireland’ and ‘Irish’ present little dif ficulty. However, like many modern states constructed on what some scholars have identified as an ‘imagined’ national community,2 a myriad of simplifications and omissions are contained in both noun and adjective. 1 A detailed online bibliography on Czech-Irish relations compiled by Daniel Samek, which also lists Czech (and some Slovak) translations of Irish writing, is available on the website of the...

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