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Ireland’s Invisibilities

Owen Dudley Edwards

15 May 1980
Ireland in the Age of Imperialism and Revolution 1760-1801 
by R.B. McDowell.
Oxford, 740 pp., £28, December 1979, 9780198224808
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... makes it clear that initially it was (although the author might, have added that ‘Edward Bancroft, the American diplomat’ suggested by Lafayette for preliminary reconaissance, was also Edward ‘Edwards’ the English spy, which may have had something to do with the failure to hit the target). But the real difficulty about the book lies in the meaning of the word ‘Ireland’. And it was also the ...

Dev and Dan

Tom Dunne

21 April 1988
The Hereditary Bondsman: Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829 
by Oliver MacDonagh..
Weidenfeld, 328 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 297 79221 0
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Eamon de Valera 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
University of Wales Press, 161 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 7083 0986 0
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Nationalism and Popular Protest in Ireland 
edited by C.H.E. Philpin.
Cambridge, 466 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 521 26816 8
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Northern Ireland: Soldiers talking, 1969 to Today 
by Max Arthur.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £13.95, October 1987, 0 283 99375 8
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War as a Way of Life: A Belfast Diary 
by John Conroy.
Heinemann, 218 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 434 14217 4
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... interesting trends in Irish historiography. At the same time more traditional concerns persist, and no other form of academic history achieves as wide a readership as biography. Oliver MacDonagh and OwenDudleyEdwards offer new interpretations of two men, each of whom dominated the politics of his time, Daniel O’Connell and Eamon de Valera. Their relevance to the current crisis is most apparent in ...

Kipling and the Irish

Owen Dudley Edwards

4 February 1988
Something of Myself 
by Rudyard Kipling, edited by Robert Hampson and Richard Holmes.
Penguin, 220 pp., £3.95, January 1987, 0 14 043308 2
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Stalky & Co 
by Rudyard Kipling, introduced by Isabel Quigley.
Oxford, 325 pp., £2.95, January 1987, 0 19 281660 8
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Kim 
by Rudyard Kipling, introduced by Alan Sandison.
Oxford, 306 pp., £2.95, January 1987, 0 19 281651 9
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... Kipling leapt into British fame at the beginning of 1890, and it had been Ireland which had given him his chance – that and the rich harvest of short stories from his Indian years. He hit England just before the Commission on ‘Parnellism and Crime’ was about to report. That report, predictably, exonerated Parnell and his party, accused by the Times of having fomented the Phoenix Park murders ...

Burke and History

Owen Dudley Edwards

22 January 1981
Edmund Burke and the Critique of Political Radicalism 
by Michael Freeman.
Blackwell, 250 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 631 11171 9
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Burke 
by C.B. Macpherson.
Oxford, 83 pp., £4.50, October 1980, 0 19 287518 3
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... With the inevitable exceptions of Thomas Aquinas and Karl Marx, it is doubtful whether any political thinker has inspired more sustained imbecility among his friends and enemies than Edmund Burke. And, despite first appearances, his appeal is far less predictable than theirs. Both Aquinas and Marx were in the first place theoreticians: the latter died at his desk, the former should have done. Burke ...
4 May 1989
The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians 
edited by John Cannon, R.H.C. Davis, William Doyle and Jack Greene.
Blackwell, 480 pp., £39.95, September 1988, 9780631147084
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Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian, 1772-1794 
by Patricia Craddock.
Johns Hopkins, 432 pp., £19, February 1989, 0 8018 3720 0
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Gibbon: Making History 
by Roy Porter.
Palgrave, 187 pp., £14.95, February 1989, 0 312 02728 1
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Macaulay 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Trafalgar Square, 160 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 9780297794684
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Acton 
by Hugh Tulloch.
Trafalgar Square, 144 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 297 79470 1
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... and fall was ‘in a sense, its very existence’ (Craddock). Eighteenth-century Europe, by contrast (for Gibbon did not foresee Napoleon), was secured and stabilised by its competing state systems. OwenDudleyEdwards’s book is self-confessedly idiosyncratic and far stronger on Macaulay’s life than on his intellect. He argues that it was the great man’s Celtic background, ‘his bardic self ...
16 October 1980
Sydney Smith 
by Alan Bell.
Oxford, 250 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 19 812050 8
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Burke and Hare 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 300 pp., £7.95, August 1980, 0 904919 27 7
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... on Christmas morning 1828, his confederate was hanged. The woman Burke lived with, Helen MacDougal, received a verdict of not proven: she had been ably defended by Henry Cockburn. A bad business; OwenDudleyEdwards calls it mass murder. Blackwood’s Magazine made it even worse than it was, adding atrocity to atrocity, in one of their series of imaginary conversations, the Noctes Ambrosianae ...

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart

5 May 1983
A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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The Agatha Christie Hour 
by Agatha Christie.
Collins, 190 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 00 231331 6
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The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Allen Lane, 1122 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 7139 1444 0
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The Quest for Sherlock Holmes 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Mainstream, 380 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 906391 15 6
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Essays on Photography 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 128 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 0 436 13302 4
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 456 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 436 13301 6
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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie 
by Charles Osborne.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216462 0
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... Sherlock, another contemporary of Conan Doyle’s at Stonyhurst, it was declared by authority that he could ‘hardly read’. As for Moriartys ... But to continue this catalogue would be unjust to OwenDudleyEdwards’s book. Convinced (as he several times asserts) that Conan Doyle is a great writer, Mr Edwards has gone to work on an appropriate scale. The result is a full and in the main ...
22 January 1981
Ireland: Land of Troubles 
by Paul Johnson.
Eyre Methuen, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 413 47650 2
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Acts of Union 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 221 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 571 11648 5
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Neighbours 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Faber, 96 pp., £2.95, November 1980, 0 571 11645 0
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Ireland: A History 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £9.95, December 1980, 0 297 77855 2
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... of Sicily, the Basque country or Corsica which might illuminate Ireland’s long relationship with England. Painstaking work since the 1950s by a broad range of scholars such as R.B. McDowell, OwenDudleyEdwards, F.S.L. Lyons and Patrick O’Farrell has profoundly altered our understanding: not only have ancient myths been invalidated, but the structure of a genuinely Irish history now exists, free ...

Gaelic Communist

Graham Walker

12 October 1989
James Connolly: A Political Biography 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 244 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 7190 2958 9
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James Connolly: Selected Writings 
edited by P. Beresford Ellis.
Pluto, 256 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 9780745302676
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... dilute, and even deny, his socialism. This is a pertinent argument, but it might have been strengthened by a discussion of the ideas of scholars like Ransom (greatly influenced by the earlier work of OwenDudleyEdwards) who see Connolly’s socialism as evolving out of his Catholicism. Similarly, the arguments of John Newsinger deserve notice: he, like Morgan, believes that Connolly was not in any ...

Heimat

David Craig

6 July 1989
A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... Scottish nationhood never quite dies but hibernates, latent in all those millions of people and thousands of texts, ready to be potentiated by various events, some more accountable or predictable than others: the Union of the Parliaments (1707), the Scottish Renaissance embodied in MacDiarmid and Grassic Gibbon (1922-35), the flow of oil and gas from the bed of the North Sea (1977-?). It may be that ...

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