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Primitivism, Science, and the Irish Revival - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Primitivism, Science, and the Irish Revival

Sinéad Garrigan Mattar


The literature of the Irish Revival of the 1890s should be seen as a hinge between the 19th and 20th centuries. Its authors appropriated the ‘primitive’ through the lenses of comparative anthropology, mythology, and colonial travel-writing, and actively strove to re-establish contact with primitive modes through ‘the study of mythology, anthropology, and psychoanalysis’. They were engaged in a complex and volitional primitivism, which became ‘modernist’ as it utilised the findings of social science. The works of William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, and Lady Gregory are all analysed as ... More

Keywords: comparative anthropology, social science, primitivism, psychoanalysis, Irish Revival, William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, Lady Gregory, Celticism, Celtology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780199268955
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268955.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sinéad Garrigan Mattar, author
Drapers Company Research Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge