Saturday, March 31, 2018

What to make of Constance Markievicz? Three biographies reviewed

Image result for sisters against an empireSisters Against the Empire: Countess Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth, 1916-17 by Patrick Quigley. Rather than attempt a full study of both figures, who have been so extensively reappraised, Quigley focuses on the year that was the most intense phase of the sisters’ relationship (when Markievicz was imprisoned in Aylesbury).

Lindie Naughton’s Markievicz: A Most Outrageous Rebel is a poorly digested version of this scholarship (ie: the eight notable biographies of the Countess), with neither the historian’s commitment to detail nor the novelist’s sense of plot and character. She makes recourse to stereotypes that do a disservice to a popular readership that keeps pace with the latest in Irish history writing.

Anne Haverty’s biography, first published in 1988 as Constance Markievicz: An Independent Life is now reissued under the title Constance Markievicz: Irish Revolutionary . Although the reissue includes an updated bibliography, little of this work has made incursions into the narrative, but that seems inconsequential; Haverty’s book remains a classic in Irish biography and a rollicking good read.

No comments:

Post a Comment