A Case Study of Ireland and Galicia’s Parallel Paths to Nationhood

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This is an important original study that contributes new knowledge in the field of Celtic Studies as it offers serious consideration to the connections between Ireland and Galicia Dr. White traces the connections between these two Celtic lands through literature, history, mythology and science. White shows that Ireland and Galicia had parallel cultural and national awakenings in the nineteenth century. She demonstrates how these awakenings had roots in the native language movements and how that connection between language and cultural identity eventually led to national identity and political action towards autonomy. Dr. White specifically recounts the role played by elite members such as W.B. Yeats and Vicente Risco and associations such as the Gaelic League and as Irmandades da Fala. White also discusses the role of language as socio-political tool in the works of nineteenth-century national poets, Thomas Moore for Ireland and Rosalía de Castro for Galicia and their twentieth-century counterparts: Seamus Heaney and Celso Emilio Ferreiro. Finally, Dr. White introduces a new term peripheral colonialism to describe Ireland and Galicia’s condition as unofficial colonies of England and Spain respectively.


“This book opens up an area of research that has hitherto been very much an under-ploughed field. The connections between Ireland and Galicia, as outlined by Eva Roa White, are significant in terms of the cultural influences on issues of political identity. Her multi-disciplined approach allows for light to be thrown on the many interstices where both cultures compliment each other. Her textual readings of the works of Thomas Moore and Rosalia de Castro reinforce her point. This book is very much written in a European context, with connections being made across political borders and across academic disciplines. Such work is crucial in the context of an expanded European community which can often seem to subsume all socio-cultural difference in a pan-European conglomerate. White's study stresses the specificity of cultural enunciation, and further stresses that connections and associations between literary canons can strengthen both a sense of specific identity and also a sense of a broader communion.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Dr. Eugene O'Brien, Editor of Irish Studies, University of Limerick , Ireland

“Dr. White's purpose in her study is to trace, describe, and offer commentary on the connections between Ireland and Galicia in the 19th and 20th centuries as revealed through literary, historical, mythological, and scientific texts. In her preface, Dr. White notes that in both Ireland and Galicia literature has played a large part in the creation of national identity and that both the Irish and Galician varieties are offshoots of 19th century European Romanticism. She shows that the cultural revolutions that occurred in both places in the 19th century were led by figures from cultural elites such as W.B. Yeats in Ireland and Vicento Risco in Galicia. Dr. White points out the connections between the indigenous languages and national identity and political affiliation. In addition to her study of the text, the main focus of this study, Dr. White discusses in brief the connections between traditional Irish and Galician music … Dr. White is the first scholar to trace the modernist and contemporary connections between the two literatures. She finds many parallels in the 19th century experience of both Ireland and Galicia: emigration the Americas with the Irish favoring North America and the Galicians South America, shared myths, symbols, and a sense of a communal landscape, all of which are explored by writers … this is an important study. To a large extent, literary scholars confine themselves to one part of the Celtic world: little consideration is given to the connections between Irish and Scottish writing, and Irish and Galician writing, etc. Dr. White's study, therefore, is original, will be of great interest to scholars in the various constituencies of Celtic Studies, and will serve as an eye opener. In addition to its thematic elements, this study is well written and has an excellent critical apparatus. Her carefully chosen works cited and bibliography will serve as a resource for scholars for years to come. This work will be seen as a major contribution to the field.” – Eamonn Wall Ph.D, Jefferson Smurfit Corporation Professor of Irish Studies, University of Missouri-St. Louis

“In the, perhaps mistakenly-named field of "Celtic Studies", the case of Galicia is one which has received less than its fair share of attention. The growth of Irish Studies as a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the social and cultural reality of a small, Atlantic country has, however had its repercussion, slight though this might be, on the work of scholars working from and around a Galician cultural context. Dr White's book provides a most valuable contribution to this field, and the depth and scope of her research make this work an essential reference to scholars working on the growth of cultural nationalism in both countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although other writers have touched on the "perceived connection" which Galician nationalist writers have traditionally felt towards Ireland and the Irish cultural tradition, Dr White opens the possibility for seeing such a perception as a process which has had very tangible effects on specific writers within equally specific historical periods … White's conclusions are lucid, coherent and shed new light on a subject which is, one suspects, about to emerge from the shadows of neglect. This original and enlightening book is essential reading for anyone interested in the world of comparative studies concerning the perceived relationship between Ireland and Galicia.” – Professor Antonio Raul de Toro, Director of Irish Studies, Universidade da Coruna, Spain

Table of Contents

Part I -Cultural and National Identity
1.The Celtic Connection
2.The Question of Nationalism
Part II- The Language Movement
3.The Irish Revival and the Galician Rexurdimento Cultural Nationalism
4.The Nationalist Movement: W.B. Yeats, Vicente Risco, the Gaelic league and as Irmandades da fala
Part III -Literature as Socio-Political Tool
5: Thomas Moore and Rosalia de Castro sing the homeland
6: Thomas Moore and Rosalia de Castro sing of emigration and exile
7: Nationalist Poetics: Seamus Heaney and Celso Emilio Ferreiro
Works cited

Other Irish & Ireland: All Subjects Books