Brendan Bradshaw

Life
Fellow and Dir. of Studies in History, Queen’s College, Cambridge; author of attacks on Irish Revisionism whose essay on revisionism in Irish Historical Review sparked in 1989 a round of controversial papers; author of The Irish Constitutional Revolution of the Sixteenth Century (1979).

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Works
‘Nationalism and Historical Scholarship in Modern Ireland’, in Irish Historical Studies, 24 [var. XXVI], 106 (1989), pp.329-51; with Andrew Hadfield &William Maley, ed., Representing Ireland: Literature and the Origin of Conflict 1534-1400 (Cambridge UP 1993); with John Merritt [var. Morrill], ed., The British Problem, c.1534-1707: State Formation in the Atlantic Archipelago [Problems in Focus] (London: Macmillan 1996), 334pp.

Articles incl. ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, in Fortnight Supplement [q.d.]; ‘Free Thought in Ireland’, with Fortnight 297 (July-Aug. 1991); review of Michelle O’Riordan, The Gaelic Mind and the Collapse of the Gaelic World, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 1 (Spring 1994), pp.119-22 [see under Tom Dunne, q.v.]. ‘Ambiguous Allegiances: Early Modern Ireland’, in The Irish Review, 33, 1 (June 2005), pp.110-17.

Find also a review of an essay collection on the Irish Rebellion of 1641, and replies to criticism of same by Seán O’Neacthain in columns of Times Literary Supplement.

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Criticism
L. P. Curtis, Jr., “The Greening of Irish History”, Éire-Ireland, 29, 2 (Summer 1994), pp.7-29; “Irishman’s Diary” by Kevin Myers, in The Irish Times (11 July 1998).

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Quotations
Nationalism and Historical Scholarship in modern Ireland’, in Irish Historical Studies (1989): ‘The object of the present essay is to suggest that the mainstream tradition of Irish historical scholarship, as it has developed since the 1930s, has been vitiated by a faulty methodological procedure. The study falls into two parts. The first considers a similar exercise conducted in this journal by Dr Steven Ellis in 1986. [n.1] The intention here is to suggest that Ellis’s analysis of the problem is misconceived. The second part seeks to explore the problem ,as it really is’ and ultimately to prescribe a remedy. Continuity between the two parts is provided by the fact that the issue comes down to a consideration of the place of nationalism as a formative influence on modern Irish historical scholarship. In short, Ellis sees nationalism as a proactive force in this connection and identifies ‘Whig-nationalist’ preconceptions as the basic source of confusion. The first part of this study, therefore, is concerned to refute that analysis and to show that the evidence adduced by Ellis does not sustain it. The second part argues that the modern tradition actually developed in self-conscious reaction against an earlier nationalist tradition of historical interpretation and aspired to produce ‘value-free’ history in accordance with the criteria of scientific research elaborated in Herbert Butterfield’s The Whig interpretation of history. It will be argued that that is precisely the problem.’ Bibl., ‘Steven G. Ellis, ‘Nationalist historiography and the English and Gaelic worlds in the late middle ages’ in Irish Historical Studies, xxv, no. 97 (May 1986), pp I-18.

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Nationalism and Historical Scholarship [... &c.])’ - cont: ‘[We are] invited to adopt a perspectgive on irihs hisorty which would depopulate it of heroic figures, struggling in the cause of national liberation; a perspective which would depopulate it of an immemorial native ravce, the cumulative record of whose achievements and sufferings constitutes such a rich treasury of culture and human experience; a perspective, indeed, from which the modern Irish community would seem as aliens in their own land [...]: in the face of such an invitation the Irish have clung tenaciously to their nationalist heritage. Who could blame them?’ (quoted in Liam Harte, Satellite lect., MA Dip., UU at Coleraine, Feb. 2003.)

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Catastrophic’: ‘[...] seared as the record is by successive waves of conquest and colonisation, by bloody wars and uprisings, by traumatic dislocations, by lethal racial antagonisms, and, indeed, by its own nineteenth-century version of a holocaust.’ (‘Nationalism and Historical Scholarship in Modern Ireland’, in Irish Historical Studies, Vol. xxvi, 106, 1989, p.338; cited in Luke Gibbons, Transformations in Irish Culture, Field Day/Cork UP 1996, 214pp.; and note further remarks quoted here in ftn. from Bradshaw on his use of the word ‘holocaust’ to describe the scale of the famine, in the light of the fact that it was administratively avoidable. (Gibbons, p.6.)

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Irish History: ‘The popular perception of Irish history as a struggle for the liberatino of “faith and fatherland from theoppression of the Protestant English’ (‘Free Thought in Ireland’, Fortnight Supplement 297, July 1991, p17-18; cited in Edna Longley, The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994, p.84.)

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Review of Michelle O’Riordain, The Gaelic Mind and the Collapse of the Gaelic World (Cork UP 1990), in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 1 (Spring 1994), pp.19-22; summarises O’Riordan as arguing that ‘the mental frame through which the cataclysm was experienced was simply not equipped to register the trauma [since] it was geared, with the assistance of the community’s political commentators the fili, to normalise the situation’; refers to adverse criticism of the methods of analysis by Brendan Ó Buachalla (18th c. Ireland, 1992, pp.149-72) and Marc Caball (Cambridge Med. Celtic Studies, 1993, pp.86-96), and levels the charge that she has found the author has ‘approached the evidence pre-programmed’ and that her thesis may be seen to develop the revisionist argument presented in the anti-nationalist polemic of her research supervisor, Dr. Tom Dunne of UCC, ‘The Gaelic Response to Conquestion and Colonisation: The Evidence of the Poetry’ (Studia Hibernica, 20, 1980, pp.7-30); counterpoises Ó Buachalla’s and Caball’s testimony that the corpus ‘does chronicle the native experience of conquest and colonisation, as well as the community’s proportionately dramatic response to the trauma’ (Bradshaw, p.21), adding that the Gael and Gaill were merged into a single nation in this crucible as the Eireannaigh, and that these ‘were to emerge from three centuries of oppression to lay claim to their heritage at the end of the nineteenth century. But that is another story’ [… &c.] (p.122.) Further accounts for his own encouragements to the author as MA and PhD examiner, and as editor of Studies in Irish History, adding that ‘her loss of direction’ deserves to be excused for scholarly reasons, and calling himself ‘a historian with unapologetically nationalist sympathies’ (p.122.)

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