Reputations up for debate

Thanks to Ciarán I’ll be trying to find a few free hours over the next couple of days.. but, as he says, this is really interesting stuff. Reputations, an RTE Radio series examining the complexities of the history of Ireland through contrasting attitudes to some of the controversial figures who framed it. RTE have already archived the programmes on Pearse, Parnell, O’Connell, Wolf Tone and Hugh O’Neill, with Diarmuid MacMurrough up for discussion next week. Even better, RTE have made available extended versions of each programme.. in the case of Parnell that’s an extra 20-odd minutes of contributions from historians Roy Foster and Paul Bew.

  • EWI

    Foster and Bew? (Is this a choice between a rock and a hard place?)

    Did RTÉ suddenly lose Martin Mansergh’s phone number?

  • peteb

    If you take the time to look at, or perhaps listen to, the archived programmes, EWI, you’ll see that Martin Mansergh is discussing Patrick Pearse’s legacy, along with Ruth Dudley Edwards in the first programme in the series.

  • EWI

    I saw that. However, having Parnell as the subject of debate between two Unionist intellectuals seems to be lacking a certain (shall we say) sense of being Fair and Balanced?

  • Mike

    Prof. Foster’s a Unionist now is he? Strange, he didn’t come across as one when he was my course leader a few years ago…Could it be you’ve decided he’s a Unionist simply because he doesn’t routinely take an overtly nationalist line?

  • EWI

    “an overtly nationalist line”?

    What’s that, stepping just short of declaring how glad the Paddies should be to have had Anglo-Irish Ascendancy Massahs?

  • Mike

    Unless you can actually provide me with a some evidence to back this up, I’ll assume you’re referring to a completely different Roy Foster.

  • EWI

    “Unless you can actually provide me with a some evidence to back this up”

    See Roy Foster, collected works of.

  • Mike

    I have. Now any chance you could provide some quotes?

    Otherwise it going to look remarkably likeyou’re just blustering with nothing to back up what you’re saying.

  • EWI

    Are you for real? The man is universally pegged as what is nowadays (euphemistically) pegged as a “revisionist historian” (and the species curiously always chooses the Irish perpective of history for its focus).

    I am disinclined to spend days arguing over the parsing of every sentence the man has written; either you accept the common labelling of him as an R.H., or not. Declare victory if it makes you feel smug.

  • peteb

    EWI

    You seem to have mistaken the thread title to mean that all reputations are up for debate.. they’re not.

    The debate is on the featured historical individuals. So, either refer to comments by the historians themselves in the programmes you’ve listened to.. where Roy Foster, for example, is defending the reputation of Parnell.. or refrain from playing the man.

  • EWI

    “or refrain from playing the man.”

    Well yes, you have a point. But I stand by my assertion that RTÉ have made a curious choice of advocates in this case. Mansergh would have been infinitely more credible as the ‘nationalist’ POV than Foster.

  • Reader

    EWI: But I stand by my assertion that RTÉ have made a curious choice of advocates in this case. Mansergh would have been infinitely more credible as the ‘nationalist’ POV than Foster.

    But wouldn’t a proper debate about the legacy of Parnell need a Redmondite, a Parnellite, a Republican, a Unionist and a UK Parliamentarian?

    That could get messy – best just to settle for a couple of historians, then…

  • Mike

    “either you accept the common labelling of him as an R.H., or not.”

    Strange, I thought we were talking about your labelling of him as a Unionist.

    Unless of course any writer who dares to stray from the traditional nationalist historical narrative becomes a ‘Unionist’…

  • EWI

    “”either you accept the common labelling of him as an R.H., or not.”

    Strange, I thought we were talking about your labelling of him as a Unionist.”

    Is there a difference, apart from in polite society?

    “Unless of course any writer who dares to stray from the traditional nationalist historical narrative becomes a ‘Unionist’…”

    Strange, I thought we were talking about Reputations actually being a debate.