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NOTES AND QUERIES Dr. Desmond Fennell writes: On a brief visit to the US from Ireland I have happened on Professor Power’s article, “Revisionist Nationalism’s Consolidation, Republicanism ’s Marginalization, and the Peace Process,” in the current issue of ÉIREIRELAND . Often, this sweeping summation of a recent Irish history in which I actively participated causes me to cheer. But sadly, the account is vitiated by the repeated use, in title and text, of the term “revisionist nationalism .” The Irish reader is presented not only with a term not current in Ireland, but with an oxymoron. In well-established Irish parlance, a “revisionist” means, roughly, a writer (journalist, essayist, or historian) from the Republic of Ireland who is unsympathetic to Irish nationalism, and its representations, in the past; hostile to traditional Irish nationalism in the present; and more or less sympathetic, in past and present, to the unionists (the Ulster British) and to British policy in Ireland. Hence, the oxymoron of “revisionist nationalism”! The original and still primary meaning of “revisionist” is a reinterpreter of the Irish past in a politically motivated, anti-nationalist vein. This mode surfaced journalistically in the 1960s and academically in the 1970s. A quite distinct phenomenon, which Professor Power wrongly merges with revisionism, was the nationalist friendly revision of the nationalist position on the North which began in August 1969, and in which, as it happens , I played a pioneering and continuing role (see my articles in the Irish Times, August 1969; subsequent journalism, books and pamphlets; and especially The Revision of Irish Nationalism, Dublin: Open Air, 1989, which succinctly summarizes the new, as distinct from traditional nationalism). NOTES AND QUERIES 277 NOTES AND QUERIES 278 This revised or neo-nationalism, worked out separately from the contemporaneous revisionist campaign, was furthered most notably by the SDLP and consolidated in the New Ireland Forum Report of 1984. Its program of accommodation between the Irish and British communities in a Northern Ireland linked with Britain has come to be more or less accepted by those revisionists who have not become, simply, apologists for the unionists. Given that in history-writing, as Professor Power indicates in his essay, revisionism has not been “consolidated,” but transcended by a more balanced “post-revisionism,” a title which would have allowed the story to be told a shade more faithfully might be “Revisionism’s Ebb, Neo-Nationalism ’s Consolidation, Republicanism’s Marginalization, and the Peace Process.” ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 277-278
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
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