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The Green Book 5

Bealtaine 2015

Brian J. Showers (ed.)

Availability: Out of Print

“In Ireland we have a national apathy about literature . . . It began to descend on us after we became self-governing; before that we were imaginative dreamers.” – A.E. to Van Wyck Brooks (10 October 1932)

So wrote the poet, painter, and mystic George William Russell (1867-1935)—better known by his spiritual name A.E.—less than a year before he left Ireland after a lifetime working to enrich a nation he loved and dedicated himself to. Yet his vision of Ireland as an enlightened society was seemingly at odds with the mass desire for the cultural censorship and social conservatism that coincided with the birth of the Irish Free State.

Today, with the continuation of a crippling austerity policy—which includes the treatment of the arts as commodity, the considered monetisation of our public museums, financial cuts to arts funding, and the budgetary destitution of the National Library, among other similar injuries masquerading as common sense measures—one wonders just exactly how the arts are valued in a nation that still proudly sells itself as “the land of saints and scholars”.

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Cover art by Pamela Coleman Smith
Editor’s Note by Brian J. Showers

ISSN: 2009-6089 (pbk)