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'Tinkers'Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller$
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Mary Burke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566464.001.0001

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Reaffirming Sedentary Values: The Tinker in Post‐Revival Drama and Prose

Reaffirming Sedentary Values: The Tinker in Post‐Revival Drama and Prose

(p.134) 4 Reaffirming Sedentary Values: The Tinker in Post‐Revival Drama and Prose

Mary Burke (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter Four examines the manner in which the idealization of the tinker figure disappeared after Partition, when it functioned as a symbol of threatening outside forces; although Synge had Hibernicized tinkers, nativist discourse did not allow for the inclusion of any element of dubious origin in the putatively homogenous state. Ironically, in post-Independence Ireland, the tinker’s alien patina was reinforced by the fact that earlier interest in the minority had emanated from Anglo-Irish quarters. However, accretions of ‘foreignness’ were sometimes exorcized in literary depictions by a compensatory stress on the tinker’s orthodox Catholicism and Irish language ability, such as will be noted in Maurice Walsh’s prose. Additionally, the tinker was utilized for differing but related ideological purposes by the two sedentary territories on the divided island: liberal humanist nationalist discourse attempted to re-Hibernicize the tinker even as post-war Northern Unionists labelled tinkers a potential contaminant emanating from the hostile South.

Keywords:   post-Independence Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Partition, sedentarism, nativism, Unionists

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