Beneath the Hieroglyph: Recontextualising the Black Diaries of Roger Casement

Angus Mitchell
The executed revolutionary Roger Casement continues to provoke one of the most enduring controversies in Irish and World history, principally because of the explicitly sexual Black Diaries which determine both his cultural meanings and his relevance to Anglo-Irish relations. His investigations of crimes against humanity in the Congo (1903) and in the Amazon (1910/11) altered the political economy of the tropical Atlantic and inaugurated the modern discourse of human rights. Despite efforts to
more » ... olate his achievements and bring closure to the debate over the Black Diaries' authenticity, Casement continues to haunt and harangue from beyond the grave. Ireland, it would seem, has failed Roger Casement. His presence remains officially embarrassing and publicly discomforting. Is it time for Latin American scholars and writers to start to decipher his meaning and to embrace both his history and his myth?