Tom Garvin’s definitive and fascinating biography explores the life of the indelible Irish public intellectual and diplomat Daniel Binchy, whose personal and public life, spotlights post-independence Ireland at its inception.
Binchy was Ireland’s ambassador to Germany from 1929 to 1932, promoting a modernising and independent Irish Free State while experiencing at first hand the disconcerting rise of Nazism and fascism. His meeting with Adolf Hitler and his landmark Studies article were a brave warning against the dangers of totalitarianism. It was not long, however, before he had reverted to the pursuit of medieval history, becoming perhaps the greatest Celtic Studies scholar of his day, advancing to hold senior positions in UCD, Corpus Christi College Oxford, Harvard and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
Table of Contents
Chapter One – Introduction: The Discovery of the Past
The Cult of the Past
The Death of the Past?
Chapter Two – Uncertain Beginnings, 1899 – 1929
Historian: Spies in Ireland, Diplomats in Madrid
The Spell of the Irish Language, 1925-1929
The Scholar turns Diplomat, 1929-1932
Chapter Three – A Lunatic With a Gift for Rhetoric, 1929 – 1932
A Reluctant Diplomat
Learning the Job
Binchy amid the Alien Corn
Chapter Four – Between Past and Present, 1932 – 1941
Old Laws and New Laws
The Cross and the Fasces
De Valera, Mathematics and Medievalism
Chapter Five – Seclusion and Scholarship 1942 – 1980
Patricks and Paddies
Law in a Stateless Society
A Gaelic Heritage?
Chapter Six – Romanticism and the Irish Past,1945 – 1989
Imaginary and Real Pasts
The Breakers of Myth
About the Author
Professor Tom Garvin is the author of several hugely influential and bestselling books on Irish history including Preventing the Future: Why was Ireland so Poor for so Long? (2004), Judging Lemass (2009) and News from a New Republic: Ireland in the 1950s (2010). He is the co-author, with Bryan Fanning, of The Books That Define Ireland (Merrion Press, 2014).