Posted by: irishhungercomm | July 29, 2013

Post-famine Perceptions of the Irish Landlords

From: National Library of Ireland –

RI Best Memorial Lecture

Wednesday 12 October at 7pm

This year’s RI Best Memorial Lecture will be given by the American historian, L Perry Curtis Jr, Professor Emeritus of History, Brown University.

The lecture, which is entitled Post-Famine Perceptions of the Irish Landlords, will take place on Wednesday 12th October at 7pm.

The vilification of Irish landlords has a long and controversial history. From the heyday of British political economists to that of anti-revisionist historians, this class has been repeatedly abused for having charged extortionate rents and purged their subsistence or profitless tenants during and after the great famine. As a class, the landlords never fully recovered from the stigma of the clearances and house-razing as well as involuntary emigration – commonly called “extermination” – between 1846 and 1854. To many Irish nationalists and republicans on both sides of the Atlantic proprietors like Lords Kingston, Lucan, Leitrim, and Clanricarde as well as William Scully and John George Adair epitomised the entire class.

Drawing on the rhetoric of nationalist and tenant-right spokesmen in the 1880s, an anthropological study of Fermanagh in 1971, and folklore evidence dating from the 1930s, as well as personal experience, this lecture will deal with the persistent belief around the country that most of the old landlords exploited and preyed upon their tenants until they sold their estates to the occupiers. It will also seek to explain why this deep-seated animus lasted so long.

About R.I. Best

Named in honour of Richard Irvine Best, a distinguished scholar who served from 1924 to 1940 as NLI’s fourth Director, the lectures were established more than 30 years ago with a gift from Vernam Hull, an American scholar, to the Library’s Council of Trustees. Previous guest speakers have included historian Roy Foster, biographer Michael Holroyd, poet Seamus Heaney, Rabbi Julia Neuberger and Robert Schmuhl, Walter H Annenberg –Edmund P Joyce Professor of American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame.

All welcome. Booking not required.


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