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Ireland: Authority and Crisis

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Edited By Carine Berbéri and Martine Pelletier

This volume sets out to investigate how various forms of authority in Irish culture and history have been challenged and transformed by a crisis situation. In literature and the arts, a reappraisal of the authority of canonical authors – and also of traditional forms, paradigms and critical discourses – principally revolves around intertextuality and rewriting, as well as the wider crisis of (authoritative) representation. What is the authority of an author, of a text, of literature itself? How do works of fiction represent, generate or resolve crises on their own aesthetic, stylistic and representational terms?
The Irish Republic has faced a number of serious crises and challenges since it came into existence. In recent years, the collapse of the Celtic Tiger has acted as a catalyst for change, revealing various structures of political, religious and economic authority giving way under pressure. In Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement has led to major developments as new authorities endowed with legislative and executive powers have been set up. In its focus on the subject of authority and crisis in Ireland, this book opens up a rich and varied field of investigation.
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Ciaran Brady - An Old Kind of History: The Anglo-Irish Writing of Irish History, 1840–1910

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CIARAN BRADY

An Old Kind of History: The Anglo-Irish Writing of Irish History, 1840–1910

ABSTRACT

Two exceptional features characterize the evolution of history writing in late nineteenth-century Ireland, both of which may be expressed in the negative. One is the absence of any trend toward the so-called ‘professionalization’ of historical study which is such a marked feature of cultural development in Europe and America in this period. And the second, closely related, but by no means identical process was the unwillingness of Irish scholars and intellectuals to participate overtly in the absorption of the widespread conviction that the study of history could be transformed into an authoritative scientific discipline. This essay examines the Anglo-Irish reconstruction of Irish history and the resulting successful refurbishment of an old kind of history which served more effectively than any pretension to scientific models to reassert their claim to cultural leadership.

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