This original study focusing on four Irish writers – Leslie Daiken, Charles Donnelly, Ewart Milne and Michael Sayers – retrieves a hitherto neglected episode of Thirties literary history which highlights the local and global aspects of Popular Front cultural movements. From interwar London to the Spanish Civil War and the USSR, the book examines the lives and work of Irish writers through their writings, their witness texts and their political activism. The relationships of these writers to George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Nancy Cunard, William Carlos Williams and other figures of cultural significance within the interwar period sheds new light on the internationalist aspects of a Leftist cultural history. The book also explores how Irish literary women on the Left defied marginalization. The impetus of the book is not merely to perform an act of literary salvage but to find new ways of re-imagining what might be said to constitute Irish literature mid-twentieth century; and to illustrate how Irish writers played a role in a transforming political moment of the twentieth century. It will be of interest to scholars and students of cultural history and literature, Irish diaspora studies, Jewish studies, and the social and literary history of the Thirties.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Art and Exile, 1936–1939
1. "Dublin to Euston our Via Dolorosa..."
2. "Life was one long continuum of agitprop"
3. "Equality has ceased to be accorded to us, save on paper"
4. "Visit Leningrad and take off your hat"
Part 2: Art and War, 1936–1945
5. "I too have heard companion voices die"
6. "Now when all the buildings of Europe don their sackcloth..."
Epilogue: Aftermath of the Thirties Epitaphs and Legacies: "... And on my grave, I see no flowers from any people"
Katrina Goldstone is an independent researcher and scholar who has been a regular writer and commentator for publications and radio programmess in Ireland and the UK on minorities, cultural diversity and Jewish communities.