D. P. Moran: Quotations

Philosophy of Irish Ireland (1905): ‘The shifts, and twists, and turns of the respectable Irish to behave after their absurd second-hand conception of English ladies and gentlementhe antics they play [] the most disagreeable thing about all this cringe is its needlessness and absolutely false basis [] it is sad to see an unfortunate wretch whining under the lash of a whip; it is, however, natural to whine in such circumstances. But it is revolting to see a people whining for no adequate reason whatsoever. And why do we whine? Because we have lost all our national pride.’ (p.49.) ‘Even if the Anglo-Saxon race [...] the English-speaking race stopped where it is we could not keep on in our present way without disaster. But the English-speaking race, in the meshes of which we are interwoven by a thousand material and immaterial ties, is making the pace and we must either stand up to it - which I fear we cannot; isolate ourselves from its influence - which we largely can do; or else get trodden on and be swallowed up - which, it appears to me, is, if we keep on as we are going, inevitable.’ (p.11; quoted in Aaron Kelly, Twentieth-Century Literature in Ireland: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism, London: Palgrave Macmillan 2008, p.21.)

Philosophy of Irish Ireland (1905): ‘Irishmen are now in competition with Englishmen in every sphere of social and intellectual activity, in a competition where England has fixed the marks, the subjects, and has had the sole making of the rules of the game [] England has been a great commercial and industrial country for centuries, and within her borders there has been, broadly peaking, free competition and, the population has, as a consequence, undergone a rough sifting process. The greater part of what was strenuous, fighting and capable has long since gone to the top. To assert that the poorer classes in England are only the dregs, would be too sweeping, but anyway they are largely composed of the dregs of their race.’ (pp.44-45.)

Philosophy of Irish Ireland (1905): ‘The more we struggle amongst ourselves and compete against one the better for the commonweal [] there will be an apparent waste of at which many a shallow mind Will be dismayed [] the net benefit to Gaelic Revival of all this energy let loose in free fields will be comparatively enormous. Uniformity is soul destroying, and leaves more than half faculties of a man dormant. It is in strife of all kinds that men are drawn out for all they are worth, and free play for striffe and competition is an essential condition if we are to get the greatest net amount of energy out of any community [] papers and people will often hit below the belt, and good men will be misrepresented.’ (pp.77-78; the foregoing quoted in Bernie Leacock, ‘Irish Ireland: Recreating the Gael’, citing Critical Ireland: New Essays in Literature and Culture, ed. Aaron Kelly & Alan Gillis, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, pp.154-59; also quoted [in large part - i.e., ‘The more we struggle ... any community’] in Aaron Kelly, Twentieth-Century Literature in Ireland: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism, London: Palgrave Macmillan 2008, p.22.)

Philosophy of Irish Ireland (1905): ‘A distinct language is the great weapon by which we can ward off undue foreign influence and keep ourselves surrounded by a racy Irish atmosphere’ (Philosophy of Irish Ireland, 1905, p.25.) ‘We must be original Irish, and not imitation English. Above all we must relearn our language, and become a bi-lingual people. For the great connecting link between us and the real Ireland, which few of us know anything about, is the Gaelic tongue.’ (Ibid., p.26; both the foregoing quoted in Aaron Kelly, Twentieth-Century Literature in Ireland: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism, London: Palgrave Macmillan 2008, p.21.)

The Battle of Two Civilisations’ ([orig. in New Ireland Review, 1901; being Chap. 6 of The Philosophy of Irish Ireland, 1905] rep. in Mark Storey, Poetry and Ireland since 1800: A Source Book, Routledge 1988, pp.144-55): repudiates the “mutual understanding” standpoint, and asserts that ‘International misunderstanding is one of the marks of nationhood’. ‘Unfortunately it is difficult to get the Englishman to admit that there is any civilisation in the world other than British (and anglicised Ireland naturally enough has come roughly to that conclusion too.) That is one of his most flagrant examples of dullness. When he talks of morality, he thinks only of the British variety, of liberty, progress, good taste, and so on. ... he wants to anglicise the world; and everything is tainted with barbarism that is not British. this heroic state of self-conceit is perhaps natural to a vigorous but dull race that has made its mark upon the world; but it is not founded upon truth. ... In Grattan’s time Irish civilization was thrown overboard; but “Irish nationality” was stuck up on a flag of green - even the colour was new fledged - and the people were exhorted to go [145] forward and cover themselves with glory. If I am right in equating nationality with a distinct civilisation, we get now a vivid glimpse of the first great source of the insincerity ... the muddled thinking, the confusion of ideas, the contradictory aims which even the most cursory observer discerns in the Ireland of today. ... since Grattan’s time, every popular leader, O’Connell, Butt, Parnell, Dillon, and Redmond, has perpetuated this primary contradiction. They first threw over Irish civilization whilst they professed - and professed in perfect good faith - to fight for Irish nationality. ... The propaganda of the Gaelic League has effected an partial revolution in Ireland.’

The Battle of Two Civilisations’ (1901; in Storey, Poetry and Ireland since 1800, 1988) [goes on characterised the erroneous policy:] ‘Until England could be brought to her senses no progress could be made, and as the life was all the time ebbing out of the Irish nation, then ten thousand curses be upon her oppressor. [...] from the great error that nationality is politics, a sea of [147] corruption has sprung’; [outlines the influence of ‘the state of things’ on ‘Irish literary taste and literary production’, 148ff.]; ‘What is a gentleman from the point of view of an English-speaking Irishman? manifestly the same thing as a gentleman is in England ... children of one common civilization’ [150]; ‘they cultivated English accents, they sent their children to English schools, they tucked up their skirts from contact with the “low Irish”, and they played tennis, not because they liked it, but because it was English and “respectable” ... Fate ... has decreed that all of them . should be known to the world under the comprehensive title of “shoneens”.’ [151] ‘... All this light has been thrown upon Ireland by the propaganda of the Gaelic League’; [152] ‘And Anglo-Ireland of to-day has no heart ... the lack of Irish heart [‘the great common source’ of all evils] ... imports ... what [154] she could produce herself ... And if we are to have men [supra, desideratum ‘Men’], we must make a population of Ireland either thoroughgoing English or thoroughgoing Irish. No one who knows Ireland will entertain for a moment the idea that the people can be made English ... Whether an Ireland of the future, relying upon her own genius, will ever do for mankind what the old Ireland of the early centuries did with such generosity, love, and enthusiasm for Europe, is a matter of faith rather than for the speculation. The prospect of such a new Ireland ... has already sent a great thrill through the land ... a new and unlooked-for situation, full with fate, not only for Ireland but for the world’ [End; 155.] (For full text, see infra.)

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More Muddle’ [editorial], The Leader (22 Dec. 1900), ‘The introduction of the Rev. Stopford Brooke - a well-known and eminent authority on English literature - for some reason or other, gives us a fit of the nerves. We are belonging to a school of thought that has left all that preface behind us. Yet we are aware that for a large number, perhaps the majority of Anglo-Ireland, that preface is a star that would beckon them on from the West. But once you have crossed the bar between Anglo-Ireland and Ireland, an anthology of this kind will have little or no interest for you. What is not real Irish you would as lief, in fact you would prefer, to have real English. The preface discloses the fact that the Rev. Stopford Brooke is not aware of the advance that has been made in recent years. We don’t blame him. He is president of the Irish Literary Society of London, and anyone in that position is not likely to learn much of Ireland. There are people in Dublin with better facilities for understanding present-day Ireland who know less. For our taste, and looking at the matter for the moment from the Anglo-Irish point of view, there is too much cosmopolitan philosophy about the preface, and about the selections of poetry or rhyme in the volume. The preface deals much with what appears to be art in the abstract, or at least art above and independent of nationality. We will not discuss the possibility of divorcing art from nationality, or suggesting that the fact that Ireland at present is of no particular nationality has a direct connection with the fact that she has no art or appreciation of art. It is enough for us to know that art, in the sense in which we understand Mr. Stopford Brooke to treat of it, has no human interest for Ireland as at present developed. We have many a wary road to travel before we get into that rarefied atmosphere. ... We are convinced of this - Men developed in Trinity College, even when they try to be national, can never - with, perhaps, one exception to the rule [presum. Hyde] - reach the heart of Ireland. They have had an excellent education, no doubt, and are full of the courtesies that come with culture; but the Irish Papist, sitting by his turf fire, or carrying on his trade or profession, is full of hopes and fears, and longings and thoughts, that they will never wot of. The haze of Trinity is around them, and the glamour of the Gael surrounds us. They may write about that glamour, may even annexe the phrase, but they will never get into it. The price of Trinity is exile from the Gael - even the Anglo-Gael. Their very interest in us, let our judgement convince us as strongly as it will that it is genuine and whole-hearted, grates on us like patronage. Cannot we be allowed our turf and our glamour, cannot we be allowed to nurse the sweets that come even to those who have been beaten but not conquered, cannot we be allowed to wait for singers of our own who, too, have tasted the gall of patronage, the grim sullenness that comes with unadmitted defeat, the surging hopes of final victory? Even Mr. Yeats does not understand us, and he has yet to write even one line that will strike a chord in the Irish heart. He dreams dreams. They may be very beautiful and “Celtic”, but they are not ours. The “stately verse of the Protestant Primate of Ireland! - what interest has it for us? What have we done [.... Dowden]. (Reprinted in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, V’ol. 2, pp.970-72.)

Irish Revival: ‘Perhaps the greatest of all difficulties which underlie the whole of what is known as the Irish Revival is the length of time we are obliged to go back before we arrive at any mode of life that may with truth be termed distinctively Irish’ (Leader, 6 Feb. 1904; cited in Foster, Paddy and Mr Punch, 1993, p.24; Further, ‘All we can do, and it should be enough fo us, is remain Irish in spite of her [England], and work out our destiny in the very many fields in which we are free to do so.’ (Both prev. cited in Foster, ‘Varieties of Irishness’ [Inaugural lecture], Cultural Traditions in Northern Ireland, ed. Maurna Crozier [Proceedings of the Cultural Traditions Group Conference] (Belfast: IIS 1989), pp. p.7-8.)

Thomas Davis: ‘No one wants to fall out with ‘Davis’s comprehensive idea of the Irish people as a composite race drawn from various sources, and professing any creed they like, nor would an attempt to take up racial prejudices be tolerated by anyone. We are proud of Grattan, Flood, Tone, Emmett [sic], and all the rest who worked for an independent Ireland, even though they had no conception of an Irish nation; but it is necessary that they be put in their place, and that place is not on the top as the only beacon lights to succeeding generations.’ (Irish Ireland, 1905 pp.36-37; quoted in Emer Nolan, James Joyce and Irish Nationalism, Routledge 1995, p.53.)

Rural Amusements: ‘We think we are right in stating the proposition that the measure of civilization of any country is to be read from the social relations of the sexes. Rural Ireland is not very advanced in civilization, if we judge it by this standard. Even in the church there is frequently, if not always, a’men’s side’and a’woman’s side’. Of course, among the well-to-do, social intercourse between the sexes is more general, while in ’society’ such social commingling appears to be the begin all and end all of existence. That the cross-roads dance may be abused is no reason why the institution itself should be swept away. We have swept the institution away and the people are leaving, too: and if they are denied the cross-roads at home, they may be caught in the low-dancing saloons of London or New York.’ (Rural Amusements, in The Leader, 22 June 1901; quoted in Bernie Leacock, op. cit., 2001, pp.158-59.)

Evolution theory: ‘In our very young days there was a lot of talk about the theory of evolution. The nineteenth century was the last thing in civilization. In the Middle Ages, in the times of Cromwell [...] things were done that were impossible in the nineteenth century. The human race was evolving to higher things. Read any daily paper about the doings in Ireland and Europe today, and the bottom is knocked out of all that cant and rant. The devil is as active today as he was in the middle or any other ages. The world war and its after effects have put Darwin in his grave. We are the same old human race today as we were a thousand years ago. Even though today we have air-ships, motor-cars, telephones, and other inventions.’ (Quoted in Bernie Leacock, op. cit., 2001, p.159.)

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