Fiction as history: Irish historical revisionists at it again

The professional anti-republicans who advanced their careers by, in no small part, making up shit must be a bit pissed off.  After all, the Provos’ shift away from republicanism to plain bourgeois nationalism and respectability, means that the revisionists aren’t really as useful as they used to be to the British state and the southern establishment.

Nevertheless, and despite the cloud that hangs over folk like Peter Hart, the revisionist who interviewed dead people and used ‘anonymous sources’ to make his claims about Irish Republican Army ‘sectarianism’ in County Cork during the War for Independence  – I wonder if that’s the kind of thing Roy Foster meant when he referred to the ‘iconoclastic’ work of the revisionists – there are still a few revisionists plying their trade.

The latest is Gerard Murphy with his book The Year of Disappearances: Political Killings in Cork 1921-1922.  There’s an excellent review by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc of Murphy’s fable over on The Irish Story.  I hadn’t seen this site before; Stuart Ross alerted me to an interview with Brian Hanley on it just now.  Anyway, it looks a very interesting site.  You can read the O Ruairc review on The Irish Story here.  There’s also a meticulous interrogation by Niall Meehan of Murphy’s book, which really did begin life as a novel, here.  (Perhaps Murphy is putting the ‘novel’ into ‘novel history’.)

In the mid-1990s, as part of an MA thesis, I dealt with earlier revisionists.  It’s now a bit dated, but you can read it here: Politics and the rise of historical revisionism


Posted on February 1, 2012, in General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish politics today, Political education and theory, Republicanism post-1900, Reviews - books, War for Independence period. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Fiction as history: Irish historical revisionists at it again.

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