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New Hibernia Review 7.4 (2003) 5-8
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Nótaí na nEagarthóirí
After the shock of 9/11, world events both military and political call to mind how necessary are the patient processes of world diplomacy in the United Nations, where a small nation like Ireland can exercise a guiding influence. Presiding over the Security Council for the third time in 2001, Ireland was represented by Ambassador Richard Ryan at the height of the Afghan crisis. Recalling analytically his long experience in Irish diplomacy and, particularly, his intense engagements with United Nations efforts regarding Angola, the "Great Lakes" region of Africa, and Iraq, Ryan eloquently argues both the practical and ideal effects of multilateralism on the world's peoples and their hopes. His remarks here were delivered at the University of St. Thomas, October 31, 2003, when he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree recognizing his contributions to world diplomacy. In 1970-71, Richard Ryan was poet-in residence at St. Thomas and taught in the university's Department of English. From the late 1960s through the mid-1970s Ryan was a well-noted Dublin literary figure, a Dolmen poet, and friend to such writers as John Montague and Francis Stuart.
The centennial of Bloomsday this coming June 16 will no doubt send hordes of new readers to Joyce's definitive, if daunting, novel—and as Dr. Weldon Thornton illuminates for us here, Ulysses will more than repay their efforts. Bloom's humanity and decency, Joyce's delight in the city of Dublin, and the sheer stylistic jouissance of the prose are among the attributes that render Ulysses a truly "great" novel. Joyce's pioneering use of stream of consciousness, and his telling of a tale that is at once both quotidian and mythic, likewise commend the novel to all readers—in spite of certain flaws in structure and tone that Prof.Thornton concedes. This article is a version of the plenary lecture Dr. Thornton delievered to the 2003, meeting of the Southern Regional American Conference for Irish Studies sponsored by Eastern Tennessee University in Chattanooga. The author of numerous books and articles on modernist authors—among them the essential Allusions in Ulysses (1968), still in print today—Weldon Thornton has lately worked closely with Jin Di, the Chinese translator of Joyce. [End Page 5]
A guiding influence at The Poet's House, founded by the late James Simmons, Gréagoir Ó Dúill lives part of each year in County Donegal, which is the setting of many of these poems in New Hibernia Review. Ó Dúill has published eight collections with the Irish-language publisher Coiscéim from which his Rogha Dánta (2001) samples. Translated here by Bernie Kenny, Ó Dúill's poems invest both ordinary signs of rural progress with foreboding, as in"The Cruellest Month" and political mourning with hope, as in "Coinnle Samhna," an elegy for the Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. In "A Young Man's Story" Ó Dúill sets out a whole biography in the circumstance of a one brief blessing: "Go mba hé dhuit." Ó Dúill edited Filíocht Uladh1960-1985 and wrote a literary biography of Samuel Ferguson, a forerunner of the Literary Revival. Bernie Kenny's first book is Poulnabrone (2002).
Coined by the social theorist Michael Billig, the term "banal nationalism" is a helpful concept that describes those markers of national identity found in the embodied habits of social life. Billig's theories are distinctly exemplified by the consumption of Guinness Stout, as Brenda Murphy found when she set out to explore the roots of that famous Irish beverage's extraordinary popularity. In addition to conducting on-site interviews with Guinness drinkers in pubs in Ireland and elsewhere, Murphy asked her subjects to view and comment on historic and contemporary advertisements for the product. Irish and immigrant consumers consistently construed the commercial texts as speaking about more than a mere beverage. The respondents created a "myth" around Guinness that included membership, imagined locales, and especially, an idea of home. Now working in Malta, Brenda Murphy has presented her research on the...