“Ireland first”: The Great War in the Irish Juvenile Press
Keywords:Irish juvenile periodicals, Great War, Easter Rising, popular response, rhetoric
AbstractInspired by Ben Novick’s studies on the response of the Irish advanced nationalist press to the First World War, this paper focuses on a less-explored topic, i.e. the representation of the conflict in the separatist press for Ireland’s youth. Combining literary and historical interests, I devote my attention to the editorials and literary contributions published in the pages of the juvenile periodicals during and after the war, to highlight how these papers came to popularise, among the youngsters, a specific reception of the first ‘total’ conflict. Spy- and war- stories, ballads and aislings took hold of the boys’ and girls’ imagination: a powerful propagandist instrument, popular literature buttressed a nationalist agenda. At the same time, given the readers’ young age, these periodicals aimed to shape what was to become Ireland’s public memory of the Great War. In the public sphere of post-war Ireland, many soldiers were treated with disdain or indifference. The First World War and its protagonists were condemned to a period of oblivion, which has lasted until quite recently. Textual attention to the rhetoric and literary strategies adopted by the contributors helps to expose the nuances and shifts in the Irish nationalists’ view on war.
F - Fianna (1915-1916): Cab. 14, Box 71. Special Collections. University College Cork, microfilm.
OB - Our Boys, edited by the Christian Brothers of Ireland (1914-1922): Ir 05 m 17. National Library of Ireland, Dublin, hard-copy.
SE - St. Enda’s (1918-1924): Ir 05 s. National Library of Ireland, Dublin, hard-copy.
YI - Young Ireland / Éire Og (1917-1923): Cab. 14, Box 77, 78. Special Collections, University College Cork, microfilm.
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