Julius Pokorny (1887-1970)


Life
1887- ; b. 12 June; ed. Vienna (Celtic Studies & Law), 1905; first travelled to Ireland in 1908; grad. 1911; appt. lecturer in Irish at Vienna Univ., 1913-20; visited Ireland and wrote A Concise Irish Grammar and Reader (1914); issued a pro-nationalist History of Ireland (1916), with an introduction by J. M. Hone, later revised and translated as A History of Ireland (1933), with a short preface of his own; participating member of Deutch-Irische Geselleschaft, fnd. in Berlin, Feb. 1917;
 
contrib. to Irische Blätter, newsletter of the society; appt. to chair of Celtic Philology in succession to Kuno Meyer, Berlin Univ., 1920-35; recieved payment of £30 from Irish govt. at behest of Eoin MacNeill, Irish Minister of Education ‘as a token of thanks for all that [he] have already done to help Irish learning’ (MacNeill to Pokorny, letter of 18 Dec. 1922); issued Dei älteste Lyrick der Grünen Insel (Halle: Niemyer 1923), a study of old Irish lyrics prepared earlier and now published with financial assistance of Irish state and ded. to MacNeill; he received an honorary D.Litt. from NUI, 1925, and was dismissed from chair in Berlin on account of partial Jewish descent, 1935;
 
issued Altirische Grammatik (1925); fled from Germany to Switzerland on a passport issued by Irish consulate at behest of Eamon de Valera, 1943; settled in Zürich, 1944; issued Alt keltische Dichtungen (1944); he was reinstated at Berlin Univ. after the war; issued his magnus opus, Indogermani sches etymologisches Wörterbuch, 2 vol. (194869); appt. to an honorary professorship at Munich Univ., 1955 [in effect an hon. degree]; received honorary degrees from Univ. of Wales (1966) and Edinburgh Univ. (1967); d. 8 April 8 1970; an anachronistic allusion to his theory that the Celts had no notion of hell occurs in the Library scene of Joyce’s Ulysses (1922).

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Works
A Concise Irish Grammar and Reader (1914); History of Ireland, intro. by J. M. Hone (Gotha: Perthes 1916), and Do., [rev. & trans.] A History of Ireland (Cork: Mercier Press 1933) [details]; Dei älteste Lyrick der Grünen Insel (Halle: Niemyer 1923).

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Bibliographical details
A History of Ireland, trans. from the German of Julius Pokorny [...] by Séana D. King, with a foreword by J. M. Hone (Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press [1933]), [8], 192pp. [available at Google Books online] Note Google content sample incls. proper names: Anglo-Irish; Anglo-Norman; Armagh; Aryan; battle of Clontarf; Belfast; Britain; Bronze Agel; Brythonic; Carlingford Lough; Catholics; Celts; Colum Cille; Columbanus; Connacht; Cu Chulainn; Douglas Hyde; Dublin; Eamonn de Valera; Earl of Desmond; England; English language; English law; English Parliament; Eoin MacNeill; Europe; famine; Fenians; France; Gaelic; Gaelic League; Gaels; Galway; Gaul; Goidelic; Henry II; Henry VIII; High King; Home Rule; Home Rule League; Hugh O'Neill; Irish constitution; Irish government; Irish history; Irish language; Irish literature; Irish nationl; Irish Nationalists; Irish Parliament; Irish republic; Irish Republican Brotherhood; Irish Volunteers; John Curry; John Redmond; Katherine O'Shea; Keltic; Kelts; Kildare; King of England; King of Leinster; kings of Connacht; Kuno Meyer; Lady Gregory; Land League; Leinster; Limerick; literature; London; Lord Lieutenant; Martin of Tours; Mediterranean; Michael O'Clery; Munster; Normans; Northmen; O'Donnell; O'Donnell of Tyrconnell; O'Neill; Ogham; old Irish; Owen Roe O'Neill; Padraic Colum; Parnell; Penal Laws; Picts; Poynings; Protestant; Roman Britain; Scotland; Shane O'Neilll; Silurian; Sinn Fein; Sir Horace Plunkett; Sir Roger Casement; Spain; Statute of Kilkenny; Strongbow; Thomas Osborne Davis; Treaty of Limerick; Tumulus; Ulster; United Irishmen; Vikings; Waterford; Wexford; Wolfe Tone; Young Irelanders. [For full list including common nouns and substantives - e.g., acres, agriculture ... leaders, schools, towns, &c. - see attached.]

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Criticism
Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Julius Pokorny, 1887-1970 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003), 160pp.; also Ó Dochartaigh, ‘The Source of Hell: Professor Julius Pokorny of Vienna in Ulysses’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 41 (2003-04), pp.825-29.

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Commentary
John Philip Cohane, The Indestructible Irish (NY: Hawthorn Books 1969), discussing a theory of Irish ‘Mediterranean origin’, which, he says, ‘gets short shrift in Dublin’: ‘A small group of embattled but extremely well-positioned scholars, spearheaded by Dr. Professor Julius Pokorny, considered by many the greatest living Celtic authority, at eighty still active with the Institute of Comparative Etymology in Zurich, and Professor H. H. Wagner, head of the Department of Celtic Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, maintain that this common substratum is not only of Mediterranean origin, but, opening up a door leading to even more distasteful vistas as far as the traditionalists are concerned, they believe it is closely related to Berber, Egyptian, and Hebrew. / To put it bluntly, they claim that the original blood stock in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is Semitic. / This avenue was first explored by a Welsh professor named John Morris-Jones, who at the turn of the century published a lengthy tract setting forth similarities in syntax between Welsh and certain Berber dialects. According to Dr. Wagner, Morris Jones’s theory was “not welcomed with open arms”. It is almost [164] impossible to locate a copy of Morris Jones’s article today in either England or Ireland. Celtophiles and Anglophiles alike have been content to let things rest as they are. This spectre of an unwished for heritage lurking in the wings may account in part for the anti-Mediterranean attitude prevalent in polite classical circles. But one cannot shrug off the research of Morris-lones, Pokorny, Wagner, and others.’ (pp.164-65.)

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References
Ulster Libraries: Belfast Central Public Library holds History of Ireland (1933), and Irland (1916), the German-language original. Ulster University (Morris Collection) holds A Concise Irish Grammar and Reader (1914).

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