Scholars and Rebels: In Nineteenth-Century Ireland

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Terry Eagleton provides a novel account of Ireland's neglected national intellectuals, an extraordinary group, including such figures as Oscar Wilde's father William Wilde, Charles Lever, Samuel Ferguson, Isaac Butt, Sheridan Le Fanu. They formed a kind of Irish version of Bloomsbury , but one composed, exceptionally, of scientists, mathematicians, economists, and lawyers, rather than preponderantly of artists and critics. Their work, much of it published in the pages of the Dublin University Magazine , was deeply caught up in networks of kinship, shared cultural interests and intersecting biographies in the outsized village of nineteenth-century Dublin.Eagleton explores the preoccupations of this remarkable community, in all its fascinating ferment and diversity, through the lens of Antonio Gramsci's definitions of traditional and organic intellectuals, and maps the nature of its relation to the Young Ireland movement, combining his account with some reflections on intellectual work in general and its place in political life. Scholars and Rebels is essential reading for all those concerned to understand not just the complexities of nineteenth-century Irish intellectual culture and the emergent Irish Revival, but the formation also of Irish culture in the twentieth century.