Modern Ireland (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
“Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone/ It’s with O’Leary in the grave.” The words are by William Butler Yeats, and like much of his poetry they are memorable but not quite accurate. Romantic Ireland, the Ireland of myth and imagination, whether literary, sentimental, or political, is far from dead or in its grave: Indeed, it seems to be the only Ireland with real substance. The enduring fact of Irish history is the supremacy of perception over reality, the stubborn persistence of desire over mundane fact. From the late Elizabethan rebellions of the 1600’s through the sectarian troubles of the 1970’s and 1980’s, this discrepancy between perception and reality has been the major cause of confusion, turmoil, and violence.
Although never explicitly stated, this gap between perception and reality is the central theme of R. E Foster’s work, Modern Ireland: J6004972. Foster has written a study that is neither a survey, nor a chronological review, nor an in- depth investigation of any particular topic in Irish history. Instead, he had produced what is essentially a meditation on that history, studying how the fateful decisions were made, and why. As he follows the often turbulent course of Irish history from late Elizabethan times onward, Foster introduces and refines concepts which have been key to Ireland and its people: the displacement of the Catholic population from land ownership; the uneasy nature of the English occupation; the...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The Atlantic. CCLXIII, April, 1989, p.93.
The Economist. CCCIX, December 17, 1988, p.97.
Library Journal. CXIV, March 15, 1989, p.77.
London Review of Books. XI, March 16, 1989, p.8.
Maclean’s. CII, July 31, 1989, p.45.
The New Republic. CCI, July 10, 1989, p.39.
New Statesman and Society. I, December 17, 1988, p.30.
The New York Times Book Review. XCI V, June 4, 1989, p.3.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXV, January 27, 1989, p.458.
The Times Literary Supplement. February 24, 1989, p.196.
The Wilson Quarterly. XIII, Summer, 1989, p.88.
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