Gael and Norman in Irish History

Edmund Curtis
1911 The Irish Review (Dublin)  
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more » ... C UR TIS THERE seems a fair promise of two rival schools of Irish historians arising among us, of whom one will drive home its gospel with the energy of a Freeman and the enthusiasm of.a Montalembert ; while the other, leaving argument to look after itself, will dedicate itself to the accumulation of fact, after that style of unexceptionable research and emotionless accuracy which is to be found in its cold perfection in The English Historical Review. The weapon of the one will be the sonorous or indignant sentence, of the other the footnote and the reference. " Gael " will be the name to which everything will revert with the one; to the other the Celt will hang in the backg'ound of Anglo-Norman law and organisation like an aimless and incomprehensible barbarian lacking the virtue, most common among barbarians, of knowing how to die. In short, Irish mediaval history will, sure as fate, be the background of an " Irelandmen" or " Gaelic" school and of an Anglo-Norman school; they will wage battle over Ireland of the Middle Age as the Teutonic and Roman-Celtic schools do over the field of early English history. For these The Making of Ireland and its Undoing will be a gospel and an inspiration; the feet of those will follow in the road opened up for them by the editor of "The Song of Dermot and the Earl," Mr. Goddard H. Orpen, in brief, not to mystify those who may not know that admirable piece of editing of a source, not inferior to Gerald of Wales himself, for the story of the Anglo-Norman invasion. We say advisedly the founders of rival schools, for though some of our Irish historians have dimly seen the drift of Ireland at various periods towards a common native culture and an Irish body politic, none has enunciated it like Mrs. A. S. Green, and before Mr. Orpen no one has, with such scientific zeal and with such unpartisan industry, striven to utilise the available 422
doi:10.2307/30062764 fatcat:pssv6y3xfrbflfkoslnnyvzo54