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Synge and Edwardian Ireland$
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Brian Cliff and Nicholas Grene

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199609888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609888.001.0001

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Political Animals

Political Animals

Somerville and Ross and Percy French on Edwardian Ireland

(p.102) 7 Political Animals
Synge and Edwardian Ireland

Julie Anne Stevens

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the use of animals in popular comic material of the early 1900s by women writers, Somerville and Ross, and entertainer, Percy French. It considers two Irish R.M. stories and French’s songs to demonstrate their general send-up alongside more pointed attack on the local government act of 1898 and the Irish land wars. Sensitive to an Irish audience who disliked familiar stereotypes referred to as ‘Ballyhooly’, the Protestant writers used animals to satirize the rising Catholic middle class as well as a means of exploring through comedy simple primitive forms being used in visual arts. Consideration of the reception of such comic material allows for an appreciation of the implicit understanding that existed between a knowing Irish public and its Anglo Irish entertainers who could please but also attack—and all in the same breath.

Keywords:   Somerville and Ross, Percy French, Irish R.M. stories, Ballyhooly, animals, land wars, visual arts, local government act of 1898, audience reception

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