James P. Mackey, ed., Cultures of Europe: The Irish Contribution [City of Derry’s International Meeting for the Appreciation of the Arts] (QUB/IIS 1992), 197pp.

Incl. Mackey, Intro. [1]; Máire Herbert, Legacy of Colum Cille and his Monastic Community [9]; Gwenael Le Duc, The Contribution to the Making of European Culture of Irish Monks and Scholars in Medieval Times [21]; Fiona Stafford, Tales of the Times of Old: The Legacy of Macpherson’s Ossian [40]; John Barkley, Protestant Christianity as a Source of Democratic Freedoms [56]; Marylin J. Westerkamp, Absentee Landlord and Squatters’ Rights: The Scots-Irish Backcountry and the American Revolution [69]; Stewart J. Brown, Presbyterian Communities, Transatlantic Visions and the Ulster Revival of 1859 [87]; Declan Kiberd, The Empire Writes Back [109]; E A Markham, Ireland’s Islands in the Caribbean [136]; Christopher Whyte, In Search of the Mother Tongue [154]; Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, An t-Anam Mothala: The Feeling Soul, [170]; Garret FitzGerald, Ireland, Britain and Europe: Beyond Economic and Political Unity [184];

Intro. Indicates that a paper by Marianne Elliott on the shift from cultural to militant nationalism at the end of the 18th c.; Barkley’s essay emphasises the role of Frances Hutcheson on Ulster Presbyterianism, the promotion of civic virtue and the pursuit of the common weal over private interest.

Declan Kiberd’s essay is the chapter of the same title in Inventing Ireland, constructing a post-colonial reading of Synge’s Playboy: ‘Synge was less interested in the colonial present than in the postcolonial future. Assuming the inevitability of Home Rule once socialist ideas had spread to England, he tried instead to see so profoundly into the Mayoites’ culture that the shape of their future might be discernible. / So he took th violence of the colonisers as read: his deeper interest was in how the colonised cope with the violence in themselves, their situation and their daily life. There is no obvious outlet in the world of the play for these instincts. The Mayoites offer no allegiance to the hated English law, which might allow them to channel their violence into socially-sanctioned punishments like the hanging of a murderer. The allegiance to the Catholic church, which by its sacrifice of the Mass helps to appease the human taste for violence, is also very weak. [...] Such people desperately need a hero who can bring their instincts to violence into a single clear focus: a hero, moreover, whom they can convert into a scapegoat, onto whom may be visited any troublesome violent tendencies that are still unfulfilled [...]’ (p.111.)

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