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The Minority Voice: Hubert Butler and Southern Irish Protestantism, 1900-1991 (Oxford Historical Monographs)

Robert Tobin

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ISBN 10: 0199641560 / ISBN 13: 9780199641567
Published by Oxford University Press, 2012
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Minority Voice: Hubert Butler and ...

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 2012

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Edition: 1.

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'How do such people, with brilliant members and dull ones, fare when they pass from being a dominant minority to being a powerless one?' So asked the Kilkenny man-of-letters Hubert Butler (1900-1991) when considering the fate of Southern Protestants after Irish Independence. As both a product and critic of this culture, Butler posed the question repeatedly, refusing to accept as inevitable the marginalization of his community within the newly established state. Inspired by the example of the Revivalist generation, he challenged his compatriots to approach modern Irish identity in terms complementary rather than exclusivist. In the process of doing so, he produced a corpus of literary essays European in stature, informed by extensive travel, deep reading, and an active engagement with the political and social upheavals of his age. His insistence on the necessity of Protestant participation in Irish life, coupled with his challenges to received Catholic opinion, made him a contentious figure on both sides of the sectarian divide.

This study addresses not only Butler's remarkable personal career, but also some of the larger themes to which he consistently drew attention: the need to balance Irish cosmopolitanism with local relationships; to address the compromises of the Second World War and the hypocrisies of the Cold War; to promote a society in which constructive dissent might not just be tolerated but valued. As a result, by the end of his life, Butler came to be recognised as a forerunner of the more tolerant and expansive Ireland of today.


[a] wide-ranging and complex study by Robert Tobin. (Ian d'Alton, Irish Catholic)

monumental style ... impressive academic rigour. His work is full of references which, in themselves, indicate the depth and breadth of the author's research. (Church of Ireland Gazette)

Robert Tobin's study of Butler is masterly ... Tobin mixes familiarity with objectivity, scrupulous scholarship, and a gossip's curiosity. (Caroline Bowder, Church Times)

[Tobin's] sensitive and expert contextualization of Butler's essays is supported by assiduous research and delivered with great verve ... [a] discerningly argued, thoroughly researched and thoughtfully constructed volume. (Search: A Church of Ireland Journal)

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