Ciaran Brady

Life
Historian; chair at TCD; ed. Interpreting Irish History, a standard source-book.

[ top ]

Works
‘Introduction: historians and losers’, in Brady, ed. Worsted in the Game: Losers in Irish History, Dublin: Lilliput Press (1989); ed., Interpreting Irish History: The Debate on Historical Revisionism (Dublin: Irish Academic Press 1994) [infra].

Interpreting Irish History: The Debate on Historical Revisionism 1938-1994, ed. Ciaran Brady (Irish Academic Press 1994), 348pp.; incl. Introduction: Constructive and Instrumental’: The Dilemma of Ireland’s First ‘New Historians’ [3]; T. W. Moody and R D Edwards, pref. to Irish Historical Studies [35]; T. W. Moody, A New History of Ireland [38]; R. D. Edwards, An Agenda for Irish History, 1978-2018 [54]; T. W. Moody, Irish History and Irish Mythology [71]; F. S. L. Lyons, The Burden of Our History [87]; Oliver MacDonagh, Ambiguity in Nationalism: The Case in Ireland [105]; Roy Foster, History and the Irish Question [122]; Ronan Fanning, The Great Enchantment: Uses and Abuses of Modern Irish History [146]; Steven Ellis, Nationalist Historiography and the English and Gaelic Worlds in the Late Middle Ages [161]; CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES: Desmond Fennell, Against Revisionism [181]; Brendan Bradshaw, Nationalism and Historical Scholarship in Modern Ireland [191]; Kevin O’Neill, Revisionist Milestone [217]; Brian Murphy, The Canon of Irish Cultural History: Some Questions concerning Roy Foster’s Modern Ireland; Seamus Deane, Wherever Green is Read [234]; Hugh Kearney, The Irish and their History [246]; Alvin Jackson, Unionist History [253]; Cormac O Grada, Making History in Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s: The Saga of the Great Famine [269]; Anthony Coughlan, Ireland’s Marxist Historians [288]; M. A. G. Ó Tuathaigh, Irish Historical ‘Revisionism’: States of the Art or Ideological Project? Select Bibl. [327]; Index I [337]; Index II [347].

[ top ]

Commentary
Conor McCarthy, Modernisation: Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969-1992 (Four Courts Press 2000), notes that Ciaran Brady attributes to T. W. Moody and R. D. Edwards the use of irony as the most suitable linguistic strategy, and remarks that this perpetuates ‘an inevitably and progressively elitist style’ (p.97). Further, ‘Brady’s solution to the problem thus created is not to call, as Bradshaw does, for a more “sympathetic” history or the celebration of tradition, or for new evidence to be adduced to refute the 'revisionists', or for what he terms the “radical deconstructionist” approach of Roland Barthes and Hayden White, deployed in Ireland by Seamus Deane (Brady, 1994b, pp. 27-28). Rather, he suggests a greater modesty on the behalf of the historians, a greater willingness to admit the provisional, “partial and imperfect” nature of their judgements and interpretations (Brady, 1994b, p. 29). [...] Brady’s argument is vitiated by the way, firstly, he admits the lack of evidence of self-conscious metahistorical reflection by Moody and Edwards but secondly tries retrospectively to construct a rhetorical position for them.’ (Ibid., p.98.)

[ top ]