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Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature: The anxiety of transmission and the dynamics of renewal
Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature: the anxiety of transmission and the dynamics of renewal

Our Price:29.00
Authors: Fionntán de Brún
Affiliation: Maynooth University
Publication Year: Hardback April 2019
Pages: 272
Size: 234 x 156mm

ISBN: 9781782053149

The influence of revivalism is writ large in the history of modern Ireland, particularly as we commemorate a 'decade of centenaries'. Yet, whether in Ireland or elsewhere, no study of revivalism as a critical cultural practice exists, rather one tends to speak of specific revivals such as the Gothic Revival, the Gaelic Revival and so on. Surely, beyond the specific circumstances of these revivals, lies a set of fundamental concerns which arise from our experience of time, cultural memory and the quest for continuity?

This book seeks to address this question by firstly locating revivalism within the broader history of ideas and, secondly, undertaking a conceptual case study of revivalism within Modern Irish literature. The conceptual development of revivalist discourse is explored here from the Counter-Reformationists of the seventeenth century, to the guardians of the scribal tradition in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Protestant evangelicals and Irish nationalists and Gaelic League in the nineteenth century, the Easter Rising and the challenges of independence in the twentieth century through to the concerns of contemporary literature in Irish. While literature in Irish has encountered a steady degree of adversity over the course of the last four centuries this itself has led to a consciousness of it own medium. With this has come an awareness of the precariousness of continuity on the one hand and a glimpse of the transformative potential of renewal on the other. Revivalism emerges as a response to a crisis of continuity and a means to realise our own agency.

Fionntán de Brún is Professor of Modern Irish at Maynooth University

Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 2 Write a review »

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature May 8, 2019
Reviewer: Philip O’Leary Boston College from USA  
It will make an important, groundbreaking book. I certainly read it with the same sense of excitement and discovery that I experienced when first reading works like Declan Kiberd’s Inventing Ireland, John Wilson Foster’s Fictions of the Irish Literary Revival, or Máirín Nic Eoin’s Trén bhFearann Breac: An Díláithriú Cultúir agus Nualitríocht na Gaeilge. If Irish Studies ever does come to full maturity as an academic discipline it will be because of books like this  - broad and original in scope, theoretically sophisticated, based on meticulous research across several disciplines (history, literature, philosophy, psychology, language, post-colonial studies, utopian studies, to name some). Also, this work takes for granted a fact regularly overlooked by many scholars, that is that Ireland has long been characterized by cultural and literary bilingualism (even if today Irish has little place in the everyday life of the country). Without such an openness to the Irish language, it is all but impossible to comment with any authority on the 16th, 17th, and 18th century developments that make up much of the subject matter of this book. (And by the way, the fact that this book is in English makes it both a particularly rich research and a challenge to those who would write of these topics from a purely Anglophone perspective.

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  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature May 8, 2019
Reviewer: Brian Ó Conchubhair , Notre Dame from USA  
This book is theoretically sophisticated and draws on new archival research. It is, however, the impressive synthesis of five centuries of cultural and literary history, literature and politics that mark it as masterful and highly original. Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature is, in fact, without peer in the field of Irish Studies in its broad range and sweeping scope. It is no exaggeration to claim that it represents a stunning intervention in the field of Irish-language literary studies and will become required reading for any student or scholar in the field of modern Irish literature and/or Irish Studies in Ireland, the UK, the USA and Canada, in fact anywhere Irish literature is taught in translation. This text is highly original; it is difficult to think of a similar project that is as ambitious in range and scope. The only text that bears comparison might be Sean Ó Tuama’s Repossessions but where that was a collection of essays on various topics, this book is a coherent study that pursues a particular theme across centuries and genres.  Similarly, Kiberd’s Inventing Ireland and his later Irish Classics match this book in breath and range, but again these are collections of essays rather than a concentrated and focused examination of a single theme pursued critically and the revivalist impulse.Each chapter brims with starling new insights, shrewd observations and brims with provocative readings and radical interpretations of classic texts from the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth century up to the present day. The chapters on P.H. Pearse and Máirtín Ó Cadhain are groundbreaking, the questioning of the revival motif is deliciously provocative and the growing cohort of specialists in that field will receive the chapter on Myles with much interest. This is a landmark study and will represent a valuable addition to CUP’s catalogue.

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