Volume 17

VOLUME sevenTEEN · 2017

Prisoners of War? Evoking an Anglo-Irish Perception of the Conflict of 1914–19
Ian d’Alton

ABSTRACT: Much has been written about the Anglo-Irish and the First World War. Yet, with the exception of some comments by Terence Dooley, Keith Jeffery and D. George Boyce, the group and individual psychology of how this essentially warrior-class approached—and comprehended—the War has hardly been dealt with. The War in all its facets—its individual heroisms and its call to duty, as well as its sense of ‘grand tragedy’, severed limbs and gassed bodies—represented the state in which these ‘people of the King’ found themselves. Utilising and drawing upon then-contemporary and later literary works by the Anglo-Irish—such as Lennox Robinson, Elizabeth Bowen, Molly Keane and Lord Dunsany, and some lesser-known authors—this essay attempts one evocation of the psychological entanglement of the Anglo-Irish gentry with the Great War. A short paper, and necessarily speculative, it offers some fresh perspectives and will, it is hoped, stimulate further lines of enquiry. A brief setting of the scene is followed by an examination of what war meant to the Anglo-Irish; the pivotal nature of the outbreak of conflict; the War as a foundation myth equivalent to the nationalists’ 1916 Rising; and, lastly, the place of predetermination, predestination and ghostliness in the Anglo-Irish comprehension of the War and its aftermath, when the Great War became a retrospective metaphor for the Anglo-Irish condition in the new political dispensation after Irish independence.

The Dramaturgy of Embeddings: Übermarionettes in W. B. Yeats’s and Luigi Pirandello’s Meta-Theatres
Zsuzsanna Balázs

ABSTRACT: The analogies between W. B. Yeats’s and Luigi Pirandello’s theatres are, undeservedly, rarely mentioned in Irish and Italian studies, even though the conspicuous interactions between their theatrical strategies nicely illustrate how contemporary Irish and Italian theatres communicated with one another, sharing a common purpose: the creation of an anti-naturalist, symbolist theatre. In April 1924, the Abbey Theatre presented Pirandello’s Henry IV with Lennox Robinson playing the lead role, which was ‘one of the finest pieces of acting in modern Irish theatre’, as Robert Hogan and Richard Burnham have described it. Also, this performance was a milestone in Yeats’s interest in Pirandello’s theatre, for ‘it took his own themes of myth and mask to new levels,’ as Michael McAteer has put it. In this paper, I examine the similarities between Yeats’s and Pirandello’s use of übermarionette characters; the embedding of various layers of reality and masking; and finally, their representation of the agonies of the self. I claim that these elements are best articulated in Pirandello by the idea of the so-called three strings/springs of men (social, serious, and insane). Most importantly, these strings bear a striking resemblance to Yeats’s concept of the three spheres of existence that man can achieve, namely the anima hominis, the ‘condition of air,’ and the anima mundi. Moreover, I will illustrate in what ways Pirandello’s theatre based on the adaptation/modernisation of the techniques of the commedia dell’arte resembled Yeats’s theatre based on the transformation of the traditional Japanese Noh-theatre, and how they absorbed and then transformed these traditional theatrical forms in order to accommodate their own theatres to the European context. Plays discussed include Pirandello’s Caps and Bells (1917) and Each in his Own Way (1924) and Yeats’s The Words upon the Window-pane (1930) and The King of the Great Clock Tower (1935).

The Flawed Return: A Study of the Homecoming Theme in John Banville’s The Sea
Pier Paolo Piciucco

ABSTRACT: John Banville’s 2005 Man Booker Prize winning novel The Sea is, among other reasons, a remarkable work of fiction for the whimsicality of the homecoming journey engaged in by the protagonist Max Morden. If traditionally the return describes a homeward trip where departure and arrival points overlap, in this novel the narrator’s uneasiness with his self makes this trajectory shadowy in such a way that his travelling does not depict a circle but a spiral, where the curving line comes very close to the departure point, without touching it. In my essay I examine the peculiarities of this uncommon route that is mainly originated by the protagonist’s rejection of his original family—located too low in the social ladder for his expectations—and his dogged resolve to replace it with a fake one, more in keeping with his haughty temperament. My work is basically split into two sections: in the first one, psychology has become the tool of analysis to study the ways in which Max’s journey may be considered to conform to the general norm of subjects engaged in a homeward trip. In the second, a mythological approach has been used in order to offer supplementary clarifications to Morden’s bizarre return home.

‘A Native Style Springing from a People Possessed of Original Power and Mind’: The Irish Round Tower in Australian Architecture
Jonathan M. Wooding

ABSTRACT: Two parish churches in suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney feature extensive use of Irish symbolism. This symbolism includes in each case a tower that is intended to evoke the medieval Irish ‘round tower’. The two churches, St John’s East Melbourne (1901) and St Francis Xavier Arncliffe (1932), are both notable works in different Romanesque-Revival genres, both by significant architects. The role played by the tower in each of the churches is explored for its connection to wider architectural, antiquarian, and political discourses.

The Sacred and Profane Songs of Cecilia Curtin in Mannix’s Melbourne, 1909–36
Aileen Dillane

ABSTRACT: Cecilia Curtin (1879–1960) is a relatively unknown vocalist and chorister, who carved out a distinct career as a performer and vocal pedagogue of both sacred and profane (secular) music in Melbourne during Archbishop Daniel Mannix’s lengthy episcopacy in the first half of the twentieth century. Curtin’s varied repertoire provides a barometer for the tastes and sympathies of local audiences at the time and, in particular, underpins expressions of solidarity amongst Irish-Australian Catholics. Opportunities and challenges encountered by female ethnic and musical entrepreneurs and semi-professional soloists may be traced through Curtin’s specific performance and educational contexts that were largely shaped by Catholic institutions. Though ostensibly a ‘minor’ figure, initially and unexpectedly encountered through archival ephemera, Cecilia Curtin’s voice deserves to be heard as she compellingly performs the intersections between ethnic Irish identity, gender and Catholicism in Mannix’s Melbourne.

The Wartime Journalism of Tom Glynn, 1914–16
John Cunningham

ABSTRACT: One of the famous ‘Sydney Twelve’, imprisoned for their opposition to war and conscription in 1916, Tom Glynn (1881–1934) was the founding editor of Direct Action, the periodical of the Australian ‘Administration’ of the American-based movement, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Born in Galway, Ireland, and immigrating to Melbourne as a teenager, Glynn came into contact with IWW ideology while involved in labour struggles in South Africa. Deepening his commitment during a sojourn in the United States and Canada, he returned to Australia in 1912 to build the movement there. In August 1914, Direct Action was the most trenchant opponent of war in the country, and Glynn’s journalism and editorship were critical to that opposition. This article examines Glynn’s wartime writings, focusing in particular on his advocacy of sabotage, and on how that led to his imprisonment and to the suppression of the IWW in Australia.

To know this, and in shame turn away’: Institutional Abuse and the Ethics of Witnessing in Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies
Brandi Byrd

ABSTRACT: Paul Murray’s novel Skippy Dies depicts a crisis of witnessing. Skippy, who has been sexually assaulted by his swim coach, is unable to communicate his trauma, while his friends, family, and teachers all fail to make sense of his behaviour as ‘acting out’ his traumatic experience. In exploring the social responsibilities and ethical challenges of witnessing another’s trauma, Murray evaluates the social schemata and narrative frameworks structuring his characters’ perceptions and memories. As this paper argues, Murray suggests that an institutional narrative logic, enforcing close adherence to a strict social script, disables agency, complicates responsibility, and prevents the dialogic exchange necessary for acts of ethical witnessing.

No Escape’: The Irish Diaspora, the November 1915 Conscription Crisis and the Origins of Wartime British Passport Controls
Jimmy Yan

ABSTRACT: This paper aims to investigate the reshaping of temporary wartime British passport controls in the aftermath of the November 1915 ‘Liverpool Incident’, when a patriotic crowd attacked Irish emigrants during the final weeks of voluntary military recruitment. Relegating the (Irish) ‘shirker’ to the domain of ‘irregular’ cross-border mobility, previously reserved for the ‘alien’, the episode precipitated the introduction of a ban on able-bodied British passengers by the Cunard shipping line, in addition to passport controls on emigration by the Home Office. The November 1915 passport order, which imposed exit permits specifically curtailing Irish emigration, reconfigured the passport into a compulsory requirement for all ‘regular’ travel across United Kingdom borders. Similar regulations were subsequently introduced in the same month by British dominions, including New Zealand and Australia. Though historically overshadowed by the 1918 Irish conscription crisis, rural opposition to conscription in November 1915 deepened the political problems of the home rule movement, for which the ‘Liverpool Incident’ became a flashpoint. A transnational microhistory of the incident and its diasporic contexts presents a basis for interrogating modern border controls as historically contingent state practices.

Book Reviews

Eugene O’Brien, Seamus Heaney as Aesthetic Thinker: A Study of the Prose
Frances Devlin-Glass

Derek Gladwin, Contentious Terrains: Boglands, Ireland, Postcolonial Gothic
Justin Dolan Stover

Tina O’Toole, Gillian McIntosh, Muireann O’Cinnéide (eds), Women Writing War: Ireland 1880–1922
Sharon Crozier-De Rosa

Allan Blackstock and Frank O’Gorman (eds), Loyalism and the Formation of the British World 1775–1914
Dianne Hall

Karen Sonnelitter, Charity Movements in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: Philanthropy and Improvement
Joe Curran

Brenda Niall, Mannix
John Cunningham

D.A.J. MacPherson and Mary J. Hickman (eds), Women and Irish Diaspora Identities: Theories, Concepts and New Perspectives
Dianne Hall

Miriam Nyhan Grey (ed.), Ireland’s Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising
Sophie Cooper

Ivan Gibbons, The British Labour Party and the Establishment of the Irish Free State, 1918–1924
Keith McLaughlin

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