Parnell to Partition: Irish-Scottish Connections, 1889-1921

Lusk, Kirsty Elizabeth (2020) Parnell to Partition: Irish-Scottish Connections, 1889-1921. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis focuses on Irish-Scottish connections, from Charles Stewart Parnell’s 1889 visit to the city of Edinburgh at the same time as James Connolly’s return to Edinburgh and the beginning of the latter’s career as an agitator, to the Government of Ireland Act of 1921 and the imposition of partition. It aims to provide greater understanding of the unique relationship between Scotland and Ireland by concentrating on a range of Irish and Scottish literature across time and genres. This is a crucial period in history and literature, with long lasting impact which has yet to be explored fully from a comparative perspective, particularly through exploration of the act of commemoration.

The first chapter concentrates on the figure of Parnell as a focal point for cultural nationalism and the Irish-Scottish perspective. This opening section provides a foundation for the turning point of militant nationalism and anti-imperialism that is explored through the remaining chapters. Chapters two and three concentrate on James Connolly’s writings within an Irish-Scottish context and the multiple revolutionary strands that were woven through the conflict, in feminism, anti-imperialism, socialism, and the movement for Irish Independence, challenging existing criticism by demonstrating how vital this work was to our understanding of this major cross-border figure, of First World War literature as a source of counter-narratives to that of the Easter Rising, and to wider Irish-Scottish cultural links. From Connolly’s corpus, the thesis moves on to Connolly’s corpse in chapters four and five, using fellow working-class hero and martyr, John Maclean, as a comparative figure, to underscore the extensive rewritings of their characters and intentions that have occurred through literature of the preceding century in the act of literary commemoration, and the measures that have been taken to exhume the core work of the men themselves, shrouded in memory and myth and a story of sacrifice. Through this comparison, tensions between nationalism and socialism, peaceful protest and armed struggle, become apparent. These chapters raise the question of the representation of women, both politically and in literature, and this is addressed directly in chapter six, which specifically explores the representation of revolutionary women in literature and the challenges faced in making their voices heard, as well as just how vital this is for understanding how acts of commemoration can be a way of forgetting as well as a means of remembrance.

In reading Ireland and Scotland comparatively through this period and acknowledging the bonds shared, positive or negative, and the existing contrasts, it becomes evident that struggles of Irish and Scottish independence are bound up together and that our contemporary misunderstandings and anxieties stem from an often fractious history. Our experiences of that history come primarily through literature and commemorative acts, often tied to a specific idea of nationhood. By exploring the complex dynamic of Irish-Scottish relations in this period we can gain a deeper awareness of Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and of their shared histories and futures.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Irish-Scottish, Ireland, Scotland, Irish Literature, Scottish Literature, commemoration, socialism, nationalism, anti-imperialism, feminism, James Connolly, Charles Stewart Parnell, Margaret Skinnider, Nora Connolly O'Brien, John Maclean, Easter Rising, Red Clydeside.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Maley, Professor Willy and Dick, Dr. Maria-Daniella
Date of Award: 2020
Embargo Date: 27 February 2025
Depositing User: Kirsty Elizabeth Lusk
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-79066
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 11:53
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2023 11:06
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.79066

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