I am working on my history paper and I’m looking at the teaching of the Irish language in Ireland in the mid to late 1800s. There is a document that is making the case to teach children Irish as a pathway to teaching them English. One of the arguments these men are making is the current (for them) uptick in interest in “the value of our ancient literature.”
This upset me so much that I wanted to share my notes on the passage:
Like Native Americans, the Irish are framed as people of the past, their greatness behind them, noble seconds to an overwhelming force. Their great literature is ancient. I understand the need to acquire the best education for the children of Ireland, but to agree that their greatness is in the past is a terrible pill to swallow. I feel so sad for these two men writing this essay, knowing full well that Yeats is 13 and Joyce is four years away from being born.