The Irish Review

The Irish Review published by Cork University Press

Roy Foster, IR 1

IR No 1The first article in the first issue of The Irish Review was Roy Foster’s ‘We Are All Revisionists Now’, an opening salvo which remains as challenging today as it was then. Foster ends his essay with these words:

… as regards political history, the old pieties have it their own way and historians tread carefully for fear of the ‘anti-nationalist’ smear. Irish cultural self-confidence should surely have reached the stage where this can be questioned. Need ‘nationalism’, defined as a commitment to Irishness, presuppose obsessive Anglophobia and a dedication to the mentality of the conspiracy theory? A historical habit of mind has been the mark of the Irish since such things began to be noticed; this establishes a ready-made audience for Irish historians, but at the same time ensures that the audience will be parti pris. The sceptical strengths of the Irish mind should be capable of taking this on, and questioning everything that needs questioning. In a country that has come of age, history need no longer be a matter of guarding sacred mysteries. And to say ‘revisionist’ should just be another way of saying ‘historian’.

Roy Foster, ‘We Are All Revisionists Now’, The Irish Review, 1 (1986), 1-5 [5]

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