Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Review of Gerry Hunt’s ‘Blood Upon the Rose’, part one

2 November 2009

Contributed by Edward Madigan.

Blood upon the roseWe gave copies of  Gerry Hunt’s graphic novel on 1916 ‘Blood Upon the Rose’ to a historian and a graphic artist to review.  Edward Madigan, Centre for War Studies, Trinity College Dublin, takes the first half of this two-part review:

In the Ireland I grew up in boys’ comics were big business and those that specialised in historical war and violence were particularly popular. Yet virtually all the ones I remember were produced in Britain and featured English heroes and German villains. The stories that filled the pages of Victor, Hotspur, The Eagle, Battle Action, and Commando gave British and Irish boys a distinctly Anglo-centric version of British military history, and the Second World War in particular. Scottish and Welsh heroes, much less Irish ones, rarely got a look-in and any Irish schoolboys in search of a popular and dramatic account of Irish historical events had to make do with a dusty copy of Speeches from the Dock. Gerry Hunt’s Blood Upon the Rose, which focuses on the events of the Easter Rising, offers a valuable counter to this British dominance in ‘war in history’ comics available in Ireland.

From both a dramatic and historical point of view, Hunt’s narrative is quite simplistic. The rebel leaders and the rank-and-file volunteers are, to a man, brave, defiant and conscientious, while the British officers and men that oppose them are cold, cruel and ignorant. Ironically, given this black and white portrayal, both the rebels and the British soldiers appear to be wearing the same green uniforms, although in reality the British wore khaki and the relatively small number of rebels who donned uniforms on Easter Monday wore dark green. This is a relatively minor gripe, however, and despite the general simplicity of the narrative there is little for the historian to complain about in Blood Upon the Rose. Read more

Pue’s Recommendations for November

2 November 2009

Robert_falcon_scottJuliana Adelman This month the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland are holding their annual conference on ‘Ireland: city, town and village’, 13 and 14 November at the University of Ulster, Belfast campus.  There’s a great line up of papers, check out the programme on our events pageThe Blue Raincoat Theatre Company is staging an adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds in Sligo.  Opera Ireland is offering Macbeth (Verdi) and Das Rheingold (Wagner) to stave off winter blues.  And finally, October saw the 40th anniversary of Monty Python which is certainly an anniversary I think worth celebrating.  Enjoy  highlights on their youtube site.  (And you can read Kevin’s piece on the proliferation of anniversaries, here.)

Lisa-Marie Griffith This is shameless self promotion but a project I have been working on for some time comes to fruition this month. The History of the City of Dublin Research Group (which was created to forward research on post-medeival Dublin and create a listings of those working on the city from 1500) will host it’s very first event this coming Thursday at Dublin City Library and Archives Pearse Street, a one day symposium focusing on the mayors of Dublin from 1500 entitled ‘Leaders of the city? The Dublin Mayoralty over Five Centuries’. Opening remarks will be made by Lord Mayor Emer Costello and the programme promises an iteresting day with lots of debate. This is a free event but you must pre-book.

Kevin O’Sullivan I’ve been reading a few interesting books recently: Facts are Subversive, a collection of Timothy Garton Ash’s writing – historical and political – from the past ten years; Richard Dowden’s Africa, a history/journalistic account of that continent’s mutilple contradictions; and the brilliant Philip Hoare book, Leviathan, or the Whale, which Juliana reviewed here. But my favourite discovery of the last month is the Antarctica Blog: a fascinating day-by-day account of the efforts of a team from the National History Museum in London to conserve artefacts from the explorer’s hut left behind by Captain Robert Falcon Scott (pictured above) in 1911 when he journeyed to the South Pole (with photos, anecdotes and assorted paraphernalia).