Wednesday 26 April 2017

Our influence on Anglo thinking

Sir -- In his article 'From O'Connell to Pearse and beyond, our Anglophile instincts remain intact', (Sunday Independent, April 17), Dr John-Paul McCarthy implies that the intellectual traffic between Ireland and England (not to mention Wales and Scotland) was all one way. He claims O'Connell was influenced by the Chartists. Surely it was the other way about -- or at least a matter of symbiosis? Two of the most distinguished leaders of the Chartists were Bronterre O'Brien and Feargus O'Connor.

Joseph Plunkett and PS O'Hegarty were admirers of HG Wells. Wells was translated into many languages. He was something of a hero in the Soviet Union. Presumably this admiration on the part of the Bolsheviks and Fenians did not extend to his appalling racist views. He believed that "mud coloured" people and other "racially inferior" types (we Irish among them) ought to be exterminated.

Dr McCarthy muses on the notion that Pearse may have been influenced by Matthew Arnold. Pearse probably did come across Arnold's views but he was specifically influenced by Maria Montessori, the Italian educationalist.

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