Seamus O'Malley, "Irish Culture and 'The People': Populism and Its Discontents" (Oxford UP, 2022)

11 Apr 2024 • 35 min • EN
35 min
No file found

Seamus O’Malley is an associate professor at Yeshiva University. His first book was Making History New: Modernism and Historical Narrative (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has co-edited three volumes, one of essays on Ford Madox Ford and America (Rodopi, 2010), a research companion to Ford (Routledge, 2018) and a volume of essays on the cartoonists Julie Doucet and Gabrielle Bell (Mississippi, 2018). He is the chair of the Ford Madox Ford Society and co-chair of the Columbia University Seminar for Irish Studies. In this interview he discusses his new book, Irish Culture and "The People": Populism and Its Discontents (Oxford UP, 2022), a study of the rhetoric of populism and uses of the seemingly simple concept “The People” in Irish political and literary discourse. Irish Culture and ‘The People’ argues that populism has been a shaping force in Irish literary culture. Populist moments and movements have compelled authors to reject established forms and invent new ones. Sometimes, as in the middle period of W.B. Yeats's work, populism forces a writer into impossible stances, spurring ever greater rhetorical and poetic creativity. At other times, as in the critiques of Anna Parnell or Myles na gCopaleen, authors penetrate the rhetoric fog of populist discourse and expose the hollowness of its claims. Yet in both politics and culture, populism can be a generative force.  Daniel O'Connell, and later the Land League, utilized populist discourse to advance Irish political freedom and expand rights. The most powerful works of Lady Gregory and Ernie O'Malley are their portraits of The People that borrows from the populist vocabulary. While we must be critical of populist discourse, we dismiss it at our loss. This study synthesizes existing scholarship on populism to explore how Irish texts have evoked "The People"--a crucial rhetorical move for populist discourse--and how some writers have critiqued, adopted, and adapted the languages of Irish populisms. Aidan Beatty is a lecturer in the history department at Carnegie Mellon University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

From "New Books in Intellectual History"

Listen on your iPhone

Download our iOS app and listen to interviews anywhere. Enjoy all of the listener functions in one slick package. Why not give it a try?

App Store Logo
application screenshot

Popular categories