The Minority Voice: Hubert Butler and Southern Irish Protestantism, 1900-1991

Hardcover | February 15, 2012

byRobert Tobin

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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 productand 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 termscomplementary 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 Protestantparticipation 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.

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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 productand critic of this culture, Butler posed the...

Robert Tobin was raised in Boston and Texas and took his first degree from Harvard. A Fulbright Scholar, he also holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin, Oxford, and Cambridge. He is an ordained priest in the Church of England, having served as a curate in Buckinghamshire and as the Episcopal/Anglican Chaplain at Harvard before taki...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:February 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199641560

ISBN - 13:9780199641567

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Intellectual Genealogy of a Southern Protestant, c.1900-19302. Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and War, 1930-19453. Irish Community and Protestant Belonging, 1930-19494. Christianity, Mass Society, and Cold War, 1945-19725. Public Controversy and Intellectual Dissent, 1949-19726. History, Heritage, and Scholarship, 1930-19727. The Intellectual Legacy of a Southern Protestant, 1972-1991PostscriptAppendicesHubert Butler's Published Writings and Radio BroadcastsThe Kilkenny Debates: Topics and Participants