SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Irish Revivalism is one of the most influential and most often misunderstood movements in the late 19th century. Though a form of cultural nationalism and often regarded as a form of anti-colonial resistance, it has long been criticized for complicity with various forms of academic and political discourse connected with the British imperial state. It has also been criticized for the role played by Anglo-Irish Literary Revivalists like W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge and Lady Augusta Gregory. Finally, Irish Revivalism has long been understood as possessing a naïve and nostalgic view of the past, one that hides a desire to restore and preserve a pristine pre-colonial Celtic culture. All of these criticisms have some merit if applied to individual works. However, a critical examination of Revivalist discourse at large reveals a much more complex historical imagination, one that seeks, through a dialectical logic of misrecognition to correct historical misrepresentations and to use the past in a critical, tactical fashion, to forge an Irish nation and national identity. This is as true of Anglo-Irish as it is of Gaelo-Catholic Revivalists, for both groups were trying, in very different ways, to correct historical misrepresentations of the Irish people and to achieve national independence.