Many elements of the Lemass/Whitaker approach were to inform nationalism as it was reconceptualised in the 1980s and 1990s: the need for co-operation and partnership; a recognition that ultimately only Irish people could solve their own problems and that Britain could not be a persuader for unity but could facilitate it if circumstances changed; an openness to flexibility on symbolic issues.
Though François Fejtő throughout his long life kept his eye on central and eastern Europe, both in his largely anonymous professional work as a regional specialist for Agence France Presse and in his more pointed essays for various literary-political reviews, he fought his ideological battles in Paris, a city in which intellectuals have a certain importance, and a certain sense of their own importance.
One of the main reasons why both philosophy and literature have a much more significant relationship with their heritage than subjects like physics or maths is because their canonical texts – the works of Plato, or Descartes or Kant, or Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ or Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ ‑ are not rendered philosophically or imaginatively superfluous as a consequence of the passage of time.
An Irish Folklore Treasury: A Selection of Old Stories, Ways and Wisdom from the Schools’ Collection, by John Creedon, Gill Books, 312 pp, €24.99, ISBN: 978-0717194223 The Schools’ Collection was a scheme initiated by the Irish Folklore Commission in the 1930s whereby children throughout the Irish Free State were instructed to gather lore and local […]
The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th of last year was at once shocking and epoch-making. Shocking in that here we had a permanent member of the Security Council infringing the basic provisions of the UN Charter and also the core provisions of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which set out the agreed […]
Much has been written deploring the phenomenon often known as the culture wars that plays out on social media and in politics in countries where free speech and democratic choices are allowed. Such conflicts do not find the same expression in places where people are denied free speech or voting rights and where dissidents can […]
The Way We Die Now, by Seamus O’Mahony, Head of Zeus, 292 pp, £14.99, ISBN: 978-1784974268 Nothing is as certain in life as death. Despite this certainty and the various kinds of death on offer, humans have little choice as to how or when their deaths will occur. Rational thought tells us that death is […]
Mussolini in Myth and Memory: The First Totalitarian Dictator, by Paul Corner, Oxford University Press, 179 pp, £20, ISBN: 978-0192866646 The Pope At War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini & Hitler, by David I Kertzer, Oxford University Press, 621 pp, £25, ISBN 978-0192890733 I begin writing this review on a day (October 13th, […]
Postcards from Absurdistan: Prague at the End of History, by Derek Sayer, Princeton University Press, 752 pp, £38, ISBN: 978-0691185453, ISBN: 978-0691239514 (e-book) Postcards from Absurdistan is the third volume in a ‘loose trilogy of cultural histories’ in which Derek Sayer has argued that European modernity is best examined from a vantage point located, both […]
Two Brothers: The life and times of Bobby and Jackie Charlton, by Jonathan Wilson, Little, Brown, 384 pp, £20, ISBN 978-1408714492 It was 1972 and the Sunday Mirror was not allowed into our house in rural Tipperary. On Saturday evening, May 20th, there was startling news in the ads on television before the Late Late […]