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Michael Davitt: New Perspectives


Fintan Lane and Andrew G. Newby (Eds.)

This book represents a reassessment of Davitt’s position in Irish history and the popular imagination. The personal input of Fr Tom Davitt provides a unique introduction to the work and chapters from J.J. Lee, Fintan Lane and Owen McGee enlighten perspectives of ‘the father of the Land League‘.

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ISBN: 9780716530428 Categories: ,


Michael Davitt (1846-1906) is a man often hailed as one of the main figures of nineteenth century Irish history, and is remembered in particular as ‘the father of the Land League’. In spite of this, research on his life and significance has been limited, the literature being dominated for a quarter of a century by Theo Moody’s Davitt and Irish Revolution (Oxford, 1981). The importance of this work is unquestioned, yet it only covers Davitt’s life until 1882. This new collection of essays aims to highlight areas of Davitt’s life which have remained in the background (such as his impact on the British labour movement, and especially Scotland, his education in Lancashire and his own views on education in a ‘free’ Ireland) and to reassess Davitt’s position in Irish history and popular imagination.

Table of Contents

  1. Getting to Know Grandad: A Family Perspective on Michael Davitt ~ Thomas Davitt
  2. Michael Davitt: An Appraisal ~ J.J. Lee, Director of Glucksman Ireland House and Professor of History at New York University
  3. Michael Davitt in Lancashire ~ John Dunleavy
  4. Political Economy and Nationality: Isaac Butt, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt Reassessed ~ Alan O’Day, University of Oxford
  5. Michael Davitt and the Personality of the Irish Agrarian Revolution ~ Paul Bew, Professor of Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast and Patrick Maume
  6. Michael Davitt and the Irish Working Class ~ Fintan Lane
  7. Michael Davitt and the Irish Revolutionary Movement ~ Owen McGee
  8. Davitt and Education ~ Pauric Travers, President of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra
  9. ‘Put Not Your Faith in Irish Parliamentary Politics’: Michael Davitt, Scotland and ‘Loyal Opposition’, 1879-1899 ~ Andrew G. Newby, University of Aberdeen
  10. ‘Bravo Benburb!’ John Ferguson and Michael Davitt ~ Elaine McFarland, Professor of History at Glasgow Caledonian University
  11. Anomalous Agitator? Defining and Remembering Davitt ~ Laurence Marley
  12. Dissecting Davitt: (Ab)using the Memory of a Great Irishman ~ Laura McNeil, Assistant Professor in History at Elms College, Massachusetts

About the Editors

Fintan Lane is the author of The Origins of Modern Irish Socialism, 1881-1896 (1997) and In Search of Thomas Sheahan: Radical Politics in Cork, 1824-1836 (2001), as well as co-editor of a number of books in the area of Irish labour history and class politics.

Andrew G. Newby is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Aberdeen, and author of The Life and Times of Edward McHugh: Land Reformer, Trade Unionist and Labour Activist (2004), and Ireland, Radicalism and the Scottish Highlands, 1870-1912 (2007).