By Joep Leerssen, Joseph T. Leerssen
The purpose of this research is to re-examine the cultural disagreement among England and eire from a brand new methodological point of view, and to track how this war of words led to a specific suggestion, literary in addition to political, of Irish nationality.
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Extra info for Mere Irish & Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its literary expression and development
AIMS AND METHODS 11 speakers? In scrutinizing the categorical distribution of imagotypical attri butes one may find interesting patterns of circularity, of self-correction or selfcontradiction, and the imagotypical characterization of a certain group may often be found to serve at the same time as the defining criterion of the mem bership in that group — so that an image like "the Irish are lazy" may ulti mately prove to include its symmetrical counterpart: "... but it is the lazy ones who are the real, the genuine Irish".
It was Hume's interest in the human mind, the human understanding, that promp ted not only his philosophical investigations, but also his historical work (which aimed at the elucidation of the "constant and universal principles of human nature", of "the regular springs of human action and behaviour" 27 ), as well as his preoccupation with "national characters". Indeed it might be said that, if Hume's philosophy was a theory of the human mind, then his histori ography was the diachronic, historical method, and his interest in national characters the synchronic, comparative method, by which he applied his theory to actual practice.
The usage of a term like génie d'une nation is remarkable, and it should be pointed out that Hume's comment, quoted above, was made in an essay that was concerned with national characters. And unlike the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Encyclopédie expands on its socio-political definition of the "mot collectif" by adding an extra para graph which also deals with a nation's character. Génie d'une nation, national character, caractère d'une nation — clearly the idea was not exclusively a socio-political one.
Mere Irish & Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the idea of Irish nationality, its literary expression and development by Joep Leerssen, Joseph T. Leerssen