By Robert Tobin
'How do such humans, with terrific contributors and uninteresting ones, fare after they move from being a dominant minority to being a powerless one?' So requested the Kilkenny man-of-letters Hubert Butler (1900-1991) while contemplating the destiny of Southern Protestants after Irish Independence. As either a product and critic of this tradition, Butler posed the query time and again, refusing to just accept as inevitable the marginalization of his group in the newly demonstrated kingdom. encouraged by way of the instance of the Revivalist new release, he challenged his compatriots to procedure sleek Irish id in phrases complementary instead of exclusivist. within the technique of doing so, he produced a corpus of literary essays eu in stature, educated through wide commute, deep analyzing, and an lively engagement with the political and social upheavals of his age. His insistence at the necessity of Protestant participation in Irish lifestyles, coupled along with his demanding situations to got Catholic opinion, made him a contentious determine on either side of the sectarian divide.
This research addresses not just Butler's extraordinary own occupation, but additionally the various higher issues to which he regularly drew consciousness: the necessity to stability Irish cosmopolitanism with neighborhood relationships; to handle the compromises of the second one global conflict and the hypocrisies of the chilly warfare; to advertise a society within which optimistic dissent will possibly not simply be tolerated yet valued. hence, through the tip of his existence, Butler got here to be acknowledged as a forerunner of the extra tolerant and expansive eire of at the present time.