Richard Pine

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1949- ; b. 21 Aug., London; son of a Leslie Pine, a historian who died early leaving an uncompleted history of the British Colonial Administrations; ed. Westminster School; entered TCD, 1967; President and Gold Medallist of the Phil; grad. TCD (Arts), 1971; H.Dip., 1972; joined RTÉ as Concert Manager; m. Melanie Craigen (with whom a dgs. Emilie & Vanessa; sep. 1983); appt. Senior Ed., Public Affairs Div., 1983-99; elected a trustee (Governor) of RIAM, 1989; received RIAM hon. degree, 2000; resigned from RIAM, 2006;

fnd. with others FM Lyric at RTE, 1995; wrote and presented Music, Place and People: the Irish Experience 1740–1940, a 15-part documentary for Lyric FM; Sec. of Irish Writers' Union, 1988-90; author of literary studies including The Diviner: The Art of Brian Friel (1990; new edn. 1999), Lawrence Durrell [2. vols.] (1994, 2005), and The Thief of Reason: Oscar Wilde and Modern Ireland (1995), and Charles (2010) - a biography of the distinguished Irish music critic;

estab. the Durrell School of Corfu, 2001-14, acting as its first Director; held guest lectureships in literature and Irish studies at University of California, Berkeley, Emory (Atlanta), NYU, Georgia Southern, University of Central Florida, CUA (Washington), and the Princess Grace Library, Monaco; lives in Corfu; a dg. Emilie teaches in the English Dept. at UCD and has published in media studies; Vanessa writes on cookery.

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Works
Theatrical history
  • with Orla Murphy, Micheál MacLiammóir: designs & illustrations 1917-1972: Catalogue; foreword by Hilton Edwards.Dublin ARts Festival 1973, 12pp.
  • ed., All for Hecuba: an exhibition to mark the golden jubilee 1928-1978 of the Edwards - mac Liammóir partnership and of the Dublin Gate Theatre: Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art 4 October - 2 November 1978 [souvenir catalogue] ([Dublin 1978), 1 v., ill. [ports., some col.; 21x30cm.]
  • with Richard Cave, The Dublin Gate Theatre, 1928-1978 [Theatre in focus ser.] (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey 1984), 124pp.
Literary Studies
  • Brian Friel and Ireland’s Drama (London: Routledge 1990), xii, 260pp., and Do. [revised edn. as] The Diviner: The Art of Brian Friel (Dublin: University UCD Press 1999), xviii, 409pp.
  • Oscar Wilde [Gill’s Irish Lives] (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1983), and Do. [new edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1997), x 156pp.
  • The Dandy and the Herald: Manners, Mind and Morals from Brummell to Durrell (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1988), viii, 254pp.
  • The Thief of Reason: Oscar Wilde and Modern Ireland [Gill's studies in Irish literature] (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1995), xii, 478pp.
  • Lawrence Durrell: The Mindscape (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1994), xiii,452pp. [Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Child; The Island; The City; The Refusal; The Miracle; Notes and References; Index];
  • Charles: The Life and World of Charles Acton 1914-1999 (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2010), xii, 412pp., ill. [8pp. of pls, map & ports.].
  • The Disappointed Bridge: Ireland and the Post-Colonial World (Newcastle-on-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2014), xxx, 598pp. [see extracts].
Music & media
  • Music and Broadcasting in Ireland Since 1926 (Dublin: Four Courts 2005), xxix, 640pp., ill. [24 leaves of plates; 24 cm + 1 CD-ROM with appendix of recorded works by Irish composers in RTE Sound Archives compile by Pine & Joan Murphy].
  • ed., Music in Ireland 1848-1998 [Thomas Davis lectures at 150th anniversary of the Royal Irish Academy of Music] (Cork: Mercier Press [in association with RTE] 1998), 158pp.
  • 2RN and the Origins of Irish Radio [Broadcasting and Irish Society ser.] (Dublin: Four Courts 2002), xx, 207pp.

Num. reviews inc. ‘Dancing at Lughnasa: Brian Friel’s New Play’, in Theatre Ireland, 22 (Spring 1990) [q.pp.; c.7]

Editions & anthologies0
  • ed., “Dark Fathers into Light”: Brendan Kennelly [Bloodaxe critical anthologies, 2] (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994), 224pp. [see details under Kennelly - supra.]
  • ed., Creativity, Madness and Civilisation [Lawrence Durrell School, Corfu] (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2007), vi, 311pp.
  • with Eve Patten, ed., Literatures of War (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2008), xii, 466pp.
 

See also obituaries in The Guardian incl. Bill O’Herlihy (June 2015); R.B. McDowell (Sept. 2011); Tomas MacAnna (July 2011), Mick Lally (Sept. 2010), Gerry Ryan (May 2010), Ciaran Mac Mathuna (Jan. 2010), David Marcus (2009), Anna Manahan (March 2009), Benedict Kiely (Feb. 2007), John McGahern (March 2006), John B. Keane (May 2002), Brian Boydell (Nov. 2000), Joan Trimble (Aug. 2000), Charles Acton (April 1999).

His review of Harry White & Barra Boydell, eds., The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland [2013], appeared in Irish University Review, 44, 2 (Nov. 2014), pp.399-405 [‘not ... joined-up thinking’ article on “Identity and Music” by John O’Flynn ‘begs more questions than it can answer’ (p.399).

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Quotations

The Disappointed Bridge: Ireland and the Post-colonial World (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publ. 2014)

All people tell their stories, as individuals and societies; a dominant, outward-going nation will tell stories from a position of strength and confidence […] a colonised, subdued nation, inhibited by its subjection, will tell stories of failure and embarrassment, and will create images of hope and despair which are future-oriented those nations tell these stories differently before and after freedom.
  When freedom comes, men and women explore each other in a new light, as citizens and as lovers, but above all they explore freedom itself. Attitudes to land, society and sexuality take on new perspectives and are subject to new descriptions. Narratives alter both subtly and violent.
  Many emergent countries continue to live in the shadow of their history. But with autonom comes an unfolding of a range of attendant freedoms and responsibilities which engage the imagination in acts of cultural, sexual and spatial emancipation.
  The interstitial space between colonisation and full autonomy is a very dangerous place, as relationships are redefined and new forces, previously impossible or inconceivable, become visible, articulate and active.
  All the lines must be redrawn, all the characters redefined. When a colonial society which has been a subsidiary part of a dominant empire is reborn as a free, autonomous res publica, its images begin to change both internally and externally. Internally, it begins to re-assess its view of itself, to call into play the forces and themes which brought it to freedom; externally, it begins to assert its new identity, to talk for the first time in the present tense, where it had previously lived on the experience of the past and the hopes of future attainment.
  Previously “difference” was what identified it as the weaker of two powers; now “difference” describes its inherent strengths, its distinguishing mark among the nations.
  The place of writing moves from periphery to centre: writers also come to grief even while they are expressing joy. The force of freedom is sometimes greater than the writer’s capacity to embrace it – the surprise and shock of the new.
 The  perennial story of master and servant, man and woman, black and white, east and west, north and south, the relationship of thought and deed [xxiv] is at the heart of this story-telling because it is based on the twin themes of irony and misunderstanding. The story-teller confers identity on his listener/readers by means of a story which enters the collective imagination and thence the collective memory. But thereby, the story-teller also confers identity on himself, validates his place in the world. One cannot be a story-teller, or listen to a story, unless one knows who one is. This is the dilemma of the post-colonial writer: finding himself, finding a voice, so that a story may be told, a vision articulated. So often irony – which depends on a shared referential context – defies the writer because that context does not exist, and the result is misunderstanding and accusations of betrayal. The moments immediately following freedom are the most dangerous. (p.xxiv-v; his italics.)

 

As a post-colonial phenomenon [...] the history of this dispossession, this eviction from reality, is merely the prelude to a re-entry into the order of things. Ireland under these conditions became an intensely literary and linguistic culture, using language to construct an alternative reality which was more successful than actions could ever be in giving voice to the way that experience is perceived and reformulated.
 As the schoolmaster explains in Friel’s Translations [89; quotes:]

certain cultures expend on their vocabularies and syntax acquisitive energy and ostentations entirely lacking in their material lives [...] It is a rich language ...] full of the mythologies of fantasy and hope and self-deception - a syntax opulent with tomorrows. [Plays 1, p.418.; here p.90.]

 If stereotypical Irishmen had no direct access of their own to a shared reality, then the Irish way of thinking about the world, promulgated by Yeats and his coterie, became an alternatice referential context. Out of it came fable, drama and epic, attended by a gamut of psychological idioms - irony, paradox and oxymoron - all of which have their basis in the forms and cadences of folklore. In the celtic twilight where things seem “different”, “otherness”, the access to an other world, a different order of reality is a metaphorical act of translation, and much of modern Irish literature is an attempt to re-translate, to carry back the sense of reality from the otherworld to here.
  [Richard] Kearney has summed up the characteristics of the Irish mind in simple terms: decentredness, double-vision and exile, and has suggested that we should no longer separate “artist and thinker”, “imagination and reason” in contemplating these concepts. (The Irish Mind, p.14; here 90.)

 
[..] At the core of the contemporary Irish debate is the question of thought, both thought or cogitation in itself and in relation to history. The Irish mind conditions the strategies of Irish literature in its relation to politics. Joyce’s agenda is “to forge in the smith of my soul the untreated [sic] conscience of my race”. In doing so, each surrenders himself to the constant condition, and epiphany, of the Irish psyche – the pursuit, down the millennia, of time and experience, in words which are often rebutted, denied or refracted by both time and experience. As Joyce called it on another occasion, “to write a chapter in the moral history of my country” – while at the same time spiritually liberating himself. Every Irish writer [123] writes autobiographically with the same dual quest, partly because of the political imperative to forge both conscience and modern identity, and partly because of the “specific universals” of psychological embarrassment. […] But the problem for the Irish writer, looking into the mirror for the recognition that would allow him to say “I am”, is rooted in some kind of psychic incapacity. (pp.123-24.)
 

The affinity of Ireland and India defies traditional polarisation of east and west, as Yeats argued when he said that until the Battle of the Boyne, Ireland belonged to Asia.” By this he meant that until the march of empire established the rule of logic and logocentricism, Ireland was a predominantly mythopoeic country. It has been argued that the distinctive characteristic of the Irish mind is its inclusive faculty rather than its exclusivity: thus whereas Aristotelian logic practises the principle of excluded middle – that a thing is either one thing or another, but cannot be both – the Irish mind argues for the included middle – “both/and” rather than “either/or”. (p.241; cf.: We have heard before of the arrival of Graeco-Roman culture [… &c.; p.336ff.).

 

Yeats was, in fact, “forging” his disparate and occasional writings into a work of literature, a canon of folklore, for the use of future generations. In doing so it can be argued, he was predicting Heidegger’s argument that one “creates one’s own history […] projecting [it] with anticipatory resoluteness towards one’s future” and thuse hoping to achieve a cohesiveness not merely of the folklore itself but of future folk themselves. ([…] p.357.)

In researching the folklore (mostly in the west of Ireland) which largely constituted these two volumes [Folk and Fairy Tales of the Irish Peasantry and The Celtic Twilight], Yeats convinced himself that “The recent revival of Irish literature has been largely a folklore revival, an awakening of interest in the wisdom and ways of the poor, and in the poems and legends handed down among the cabins.” In this assertion he was making a claim for the “authentic” rather than the writing of history, and he was making the case for our seeing these workd and ancilliary texts as a book which was neither history nor fable, but a form of mythistorima, a meeting place of the real and the unreal. In doing so, he created for himself and, he hoped, for a wide readership, a “real” world, in which the beliefs and legends were designed t be read as literature, but connected symbiotically with the “other” world, in which “the imagination of the people dwells rather upon the fantastic and the capriciious. (“The Prisoners of the Gods”, in Welch, ed., Writings on Folklore, p.155.) Although Yeats employed the term “the others” to refer to the sidhe of fairies, he was at pains […] to emphasise that the “other” world was populated not only by fairies but also by ghosts, mythological gods and heroic figures, with which the peasantry, in whom the old beliefs were still alive, were in regular and normal contact.
 He also, therefore believed that what would today be called “magical realism” was an essential factor in the popular imagination. (pp.356-57.)

 
[ For longer extracts from this text, see under RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Monographs” - via index or as attached.]