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Birth of an Independent Ireland

LCM - La Collana / The Series - ISSN 2283-5628 


Elena Ogliari

Moulding the Young in the Irish Periodical Press

ISBN 978-88-7916-951-6 - pp. 186 - 2020

€ 27,00  (-15%) Acquisto il volume € 22,95

Birth of an Independent Ireland is a study of the rise of a distinctly Irish nationalist youth in the early twentieth century, which is analysed by focusing on how and to what extent the parallel advent of dedicated periodicals stimulated it. As Ireland moves through the centenary of commemoration of the War of Independence and the establishment of the Free State, it seems only right to direct our attention to the primary role played by the young in the revolutionary years between 1913 and 1923, when Irish boys and girls actively participated in the life of their country as agents of nation-building. In part, they had been taught how to do so. Although they were never mere recipients who passively absorbed pre-formed systems of values, the young had been mentored by nationalist groups and individuals to become active citizens and the builders of a free, independent Ireland. Multiple actors of nationalist sympathies impacted on their lives through social and cultural activities and cultural production ranging from historical works to popular periodical literature. Regarding the latter, a prominent part was played by Our Boys, Fianna, Young Ireland, and St. Enda’s – periodicals for juveniles that carried out a political and cultural programme by catering for both the delight and instruction of Ireland’s youth. They published creative literary work alongside political and critical commentary on pressing matters, as the imperative of these newly-formed papers was to bring their readers into the public space of politics, so that they would contribute to the nation-building process. Therefore, this volume explores how the periodicals constructed very specific images of Irish girlhood and boyhood that were designed to foster a sense of loyalty to Ireland and the nationalist cause, and how they popularised particular receptions of momentous events in Irish history, such as the First World War and the 1916 Easter Rising, so as to buttress their political agenda.

Elena Ogliari holds a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Milan. She is the recipient of the 2020 post-doc grant awarded by Fondazione Fratelli Confalonieri and her current research project focuses on popular responses to the Great War in Ireland. She has published articles on subjects as diverse as the Irish war effort in the First World War, the Irish  struggle for national self-determination, Maud Gonne’s writings, and the representation of wetlands in Irish culture.


The Relevance of Periodical Literature

1. The Long Quest for Irish-Made Periodicals

1.1. How Ireland’s youth became a matter of concern for the nationalists  – 1.2. National Schools as instrumenti regni  – 1.3. The Anglicising force of British story papers   – 1.4. First attempts in the battle against British periodicals 

2. Striving for an ‘Autonomous’ Production
2.1. The new crop of periodicals at a glance: their Janus-faced nature   – 2.2. Our Boys: a compound of Catholicism and Irishness   – 2.3. Fianna: the story paper of the Irish Boy Scouts   – 2.4. Young Ireland: support for party interests and business nous   – 2.5. St. Enda’s: in the wake of Patrick Pearse   – 2.6. Further remarks on the duality of Irish periodicals

3. Moulding the Views of Ireland’s Youth: Momentous Events in the Juvenile Press
3.1. Premise – 3.2. Dismantling ‘fake news’, debunking myths  – 3.3. Demanding youth’s agency for the just wars – 3.4. Concluding remarks: who should fight for Ireland? 

4. Ideals of Girlhood
4.1. Daughters of the Nation? How could Irish girls contribute to the cause?   – 4.2. The national awakening of Irish women and girls   – 4.3. Blurred boundaries   – 4.4. Concluding remarks: contested girlhood and ideal boyhood 

5. Ideals of Boyhood 
5.1. Stereotyping the Irish boy – 5.2. How to forge the ideal boy: the restoration of Gaelic pastimes – 5.3. An ideal boy: the athletic hero – 5.4. The soldier hero fighting for Ireland

Who Answered the Call?

1. Archival material – 2. Secondary sources