Modern Ireland and Revolution: Ernie O’Malley in Context


Cormac O’Malley (ed.)

November 2016

In Modern Ireland and Revolution, leading Irish historians deliver critical essays that consider the life, writing and monumental influence of Ernie O’Malley, and the modern art that influenced him.


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In 1922, following a decade of political ferment and much bloodshed, the Irish Free State was established, became stabilised, and developed along conservative lines. During these years the prevailing impulse was to reprove the actions of republicans who had rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and many significant revolutionary voices were left unheeded. One mind, more agile than most of his contemporaries, belonged to Ernie O’Malley. It was through his vastly popular ‘clipped lyric’ memoirs, especially On Another Man’s Wound in 1936, that many of the complexities of the republican mindset were brought to light for readers worldwide.

In Modern Ireland and Revolution, leading Irish and American historians and academics deliver critical essays that consider the life, writings and monumental influence of Ernie O’Malley, and the modern arts that influenced him. After his involvement in the War of Independence and the Civil War, O’Malley developed a modernist approach while living abroad for ten years; he was devoted to the arts, moved in circles that included Georgia O’Keeffe and Paul Strand, and through his probing mind counteracted any notion that republicans of his era were dull, inflexible idealists. In this fascinating collection, art and revolution coincide, enriching every preconception of the minds that supported both sides of the Treaty, and revealing untoward truths about the Irish Free State’s process of remembrance.


Table of Contents

Preface ~ J. J. Lee, New York University
Introduction ~ Nicholas Allen, National University of Ireland, Galway

Post Revolution Perspectives
1. ‘On Another Man’s Text: Ernie O’Malley, James Joyce and Irish Modernism’ – Luke Gibbons, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
2. ‘Flamboyant, Gothic, Romanesque: Art and Revolution in the mind of Ernie O’Malley’ – Róisín Kennedy, University College Dublin
3. ‘From Mexico to Mayo: Ernie O’Malley, Paul Strand and Photographic Modernism’ – Orla Fitzpatrick, National Museum of Ireland
4. ‘The Evolution of Ernie O’Malley’s Memoir, On Another Man’s Wound’ – Cormac K. H. O’Malley, New York University
5. ‘Ken Loach’s Use of Ernie O’Malley in The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)’ – Nathan Wallace, Ohio State University in Marion

Historical Nationalist Perspectives
6. ‘“Grace under Fire: On Being Human in Times of Extremity”’ – David Lloyd, University of Southern California
7. ‘Kindling the Singing Flame: The Destruction of the Public Record Office (30 June 1922) as a Historical Problem’ – John M. Regan, University of Dundee
8. ‘Witnessing the Republic: The Ernie O’Malley Notebook Interviews and the Bureau of Military History Compared’ – Eve Morrison, University College Dublin
9. ‘‘The People’ of On Another Man’s Wound’ – Seamus O’Malley, Yeshiva University
10. ‘Literature, Violence, Revolution: Roger Casement and Ernie O’Malley’ – Macy Todd, Buffalo State College

‘Revolutionary Disillusionment’ ~ Roy Foster, University of Oxford

About the Editor

Cormac O’Malley has pursued various aspects of the life and heritage of his father, revising editions of Ernie O’Malley’s works: Raids and Rallies (2011), The Singing Flame (2012), and On Another Man’s Wound (2013) and co-editing, ‘No Surrender Here:’ The Civil War Papers of Ernie O’Malley, 1922—1924 (2007), and Western Ways: Remembering Mayo through the Eyes of Helen Hooker and Ernie O’Malley (2015) among many others.