Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Oxford History of Ireland - R.F. Forster

Though not familiar with undoubtedly well-read historian Forster, I'm nevertheless very grateful for his initiative to sublease chapters of this history overview to whom I can only suppose to be specialists in their field. It makes for a history in large chunky chapters, each penned by a new hand, each in their own style, all equally knowledgeable and approachable.

I'm not sure I learnt anything wholly new, but I definitely gained well-needed detail and reminders! For instance, I already knew the English had been there for a long time, but I am now able to pinpoint the early 13th century. 

Also couldn't help noticing how constant repression of Irish Catholicism ever since the arrival of the Normans (that's the 13th century English, you uneducated lot) has done nothing but render Irish Catholics more staunch in their beliefs and in the application of these beliefs; anti-abortionism, censorship and religious intolerance being unfortunate corollaries. It's very hard NOT to draw parallels to our intolerance of the Muslim veil and halal food...

Anyhoo. As a bonus : An excellent final chapter on Irish literature, with astute analyses of for instance MM. Joyce and Wilde's works.


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