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Forgetful RemembranceSocial Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster$
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Guy Beiner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198749356.001.0001

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The Turn of the Century

(p.356) 5 Decommemorating
Forgetful Remembrance

Guy Beiner

Oxford University Press

Commemoration of controversial historical episodes can trigger adverse hostile reactions of ‘decommemorating’, which aim to stamp out memory but in practice signify an oblique form of engaging with remembrance. In the wider context of a fin-de-siècle craze for commemoration, the centenary of the 1798 rebellion was celebrated by nationalists in Ulster in 1898. The commemorations were contested on many levels, showing infighting between rival nationalist factions, as well as conflicts between nationalists and unionists. Overt displays of public remembrance antagonized loyalists, provoking mass rioting and the destruction of a monument for a folk heroine. In turn, renewed interest among cultural revivalists resulted in new productions of cultural memory. Decommemorating triggered a surge of re-commemorating, which came to an end with the outbreak of the Irish Revolution.

Keywords:   commemoration, collective memory, decommemorating, iconoclasm, nationalism, unionism, loyalism, political violence, Anglo-Irish literature and drama

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