Cover image for Vivid faces : the revolutionary generation in Ireland, 1890-1923
Title:
Vivid faces : the revolutionary generation in Ireland, 1890-1923
Author:
Foster, R. F. (Robert Fitzroy), 1949-
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : W.W. Norton & Company, 2015.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 463 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary:
"A masterful history of Ireland's Easter Rising told through the lives of ordinary people who forged a revolutionary generation. On Easter Monday, 1916, Irish rebels poured into Dublin's streets to proclaim an independent republic. Ireland's long struggle for self-government had suddenly become a radical and bloody fight for independence from Great Britain. Irish nationalists mounted a week-long insurrection, occupying public buildings and creating mayhem before the British army regained control. The Easter Rising provided the spark for the Irish revolution, a turning point in the violent history of Irish independence. In this highly original history, acclaimed scholar R.F. Foster explores the human dimension of this pivotal event. He focuses on the ordinary men and women, Yeats's 'vivid faces, ' who rose 'from counter or desk among grey / Eighteenth-century houses' and took to the streets. A generation made, not born, they rejected the inherited ways of the Church, their bourgeois families, and British rule. They found inspiration in the ideals of socialism and feminism, in new approaches to love, art, and belief. Drawing on fresh sources, including personal letters and diaries, Foster summons his characters to life. We meet Rosamond Jacob, who escaped provincial Waterford for bustling Dublin. On a jaunt through the city she might visit a modern art gallery, buy cigarettes, or read a radical feminist newspaper. She could practice the Irish language, attend a lecture on Freud, or flirt with a man who would later be executed for his radical activity. These became the roots of a rich life of activism in Irish and women's causes. Vivid Faces shows how Rosamond and her peers were galvanized to action by a vertiginous sense of transformation: as one confided to his diary, 'I am changing and things around me change.' Politics had fused with the intimacies of love and belief, making the Rising an event not only of the streets but also of the hearts and minds of a generation"--From publisher's website.
Language:
English
Contents:
The Ireland of yesterday -- Fathers and children -- Learning -- Playing -- Loving -- Writing -- Arming -- Fighting -- Reckoning -- Remembering -- Freedoms -- Biographical appendix.
ISBN:
9780393082791
Format :
Book

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Status
Central Library DA962 .F67 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

On Easter Monday, 1916, Irish rebels poured into Dublin's streets to proclaim an independent republic. Ireland's long struggle for self-government had suddenly become a radical and bloody fight for independence from Great Britain. Irish nationalists mounted a week-long insurrection, occupying public buildings and creating mayhem before the British army regained control. The Easter Rising provided the spark for the Irish revolution, a turning point in the violent history of Irish independence.

In this highly original history, acclaimed scholar R. F. Foster explores the human dimension of this pivotal event. He focuses on the ordinary men and women, Yeats's "vivid faces," who rose "from counter or desk among grey / Eighteenth-century houses" and took to the streets. A generation made, not born, they rejected the inherited ways of the Church, their bourgeois families, and British rule. They found inspiration in the ideals of socialism and feminism, in new approaches to love, art, and belief.

Drawing on fresh sources, including personal letters and diaries, Foster summons his characters to life. We meet Rosamond Jacob, who escaped provincial Waterford for bustling Dublin. On a jaunt through the city she might visit a modern art gallery, buy cigarettes, or read a radical feminist newspaper. She could practice the Irish language, attend a lecture on Freud, or flirt with a man who would later be executed for his radical activity. These became the roots of a rich life of activism in Irish and women's causes.

Vivid Faces shows how Rosamond and her peers were galvanized to action by a vertiginous sense of transformation: as one confided to his diary, "I am changing and things around me change." Politics had fused with the intimacies of love and belief, making the Rising an event not only of the streets but also of the hearts and minds of a generation.


Author Notes

Born in Waterford, Ireland, R. F. Foster is the Carroll Builders Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, Oxford. He is the author of Modern Ireland, the standard history, and an acclaimed biography of Yeats.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The title is taken from a Yeats poem that pays tribute to the radical Irish nationalists who took part in the Easter Rebellion, in 1916. In that action, a diverse crew of rebels seized parts of central Dublin until crushed by massive British firepower. Although seemingly futile, their efforts and the execution of some of the leaders galvanized sentiments in Ireland around independence and led to the creation of the Irish Free State, in 1921. Foster, professor of Irish history at Oxford, examines the background, hopes, and dreams of dozens of the participants in a fascinating, moving, but often sad account. These were certainly idealistic men and women, but their dedication, even fanaticism, often seems both naive and dangerous. All, of course, were dedicated to Irish independence, but their individual concerns included feminism, sexual freedom, socialism, and cultural transformation. Foster draws parallels to other revolutionary movements in that many of these rebels consciously set themselves in opposition to the complacency or moderate politics of their parents' generation. Foster views them with sympathy, affection, but also with a critical eye. This is an outstanding tableau of an exciting, often tragic era and of the characters who helped make it so.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1916, Irish rebels took their desire for self-government to the next level, engaging in the open insurrection that became known as the Easter Uprising. Foster (Modern Ireland), the professor of Irish History at Hertford College, Oxford, constructs a deep, intricate portrait of the generation leading up to the Easter Uprising, as examined through all aspects of their daily lives and surrounding culture. He covers the building blocks-education and recreation, arts and literature, preparation for armed conflict-and so on into and throughout the course of the uprising and its aftermath, declaring it almost inevitable: "During this era enough people-especially young people-changed their minds about political possibilities to bring about a revolution against the old order, which included not only government by Britain but the constitutional nationalism of the previous government." Foster's thorough, widely-sourced work focuses on "students, actors, writers, teachers, civil servants; often from comfortable middle-class backgrounds, and often spending part of their lives working in Britain." It's an authoritative account of a volatile period, but it's written by a historian for serious scholars; the prose is dense and challenging, the material fascinating yet intimidating. For those willing to slog through the text, it will prove an invaluable resource. Illus. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Introduction: The Ireland of Yesterday xv
1 Fathers and Childrenp. 1
2 Learningp. 31
3 Playingp. 75
4 Lovingp. 115
5 Writingp. 145
6 Armingp. 179
7 Fightingp. 221
8 Reckoningp. 259
9 Rememberingp. 289
Conclusion: Freedomsp. 327
List of Abbreviationsp. 333
Notesp. 335
Bibliographyp. 379
Biographical Appendixp. 393
Acknowledgementsp. 431
Indexp. 435

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