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The National Being Some Thoughts on an Irish Polity   By: (1867-1935)

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In "The National Being: Some Thoughts on an Irish Polity," George William Russell delves deep into the realm of Irish nationalism, offering a profound exploration of Irish identity, culture, and political emancipation. Although originally published in 1916, Russell's insightful analysis remains highly relevant in understanding the complexities of Irish politics and the persistent struggle for sovereignty.

Throughout the book, Russell exhibits a remarkable grasp of Irish history, mythology, and social dynamics, seamlessly weaving together these disparate strands to form a comprehensive account of Irish nationhood. He passionately argues that for Ireland to reclaim its true identity, it must embrace its unique cultural heritage and strive for political autonomy. Russell meticulously dissects the impact of colonialism, both on a psychological and socio-economic level, laying bare the damaging consequences of foreign rule on the Irish psyche.

One of the book's standout qualities is the author's poetic language and compelling rhetoric. Russell's prose is often infused with vivid imagery and captivating metaphors, enabling readers to not only engage intellectually but also connect emotionally with the subject matter. His writing is imbued with a profound sense of patriotism, authenticating his advocacy for the liberation of the Irish people.

Moreover, Russell's analysis extends beyond a mere exposition of political theory; he delves into the realm of spirituality and the metaphysical as well. Drawing heavily upon Celtic spirituality and mysticism, he argues that a reconnection with Ireland's spiritual roots is essential for the evolution of Irish society. This unique blend of political philosophy and spirituality sets "The National Being" apart from other books on Irish nationalism and provides readers with a more holistic understanding of the Irish struggle for self-determination.

Despite its many strengths, the book can be challenging to navigate at times due to its dense prose and occasional reliance on references that may prove elusive to those unfamiliar with Irish history or mythology. However, this is a minor drawback in relation to the abundance of knowledge and insights offered.

In conclusion, George William Russell's "The National Being: Some Thoughts on an Irish Polity" is a profound exploration of Irish nationalism that continues to resonate with readers today. Through a masterful blend of historical analysis, spiritual introspection, and eloquent writing, Russell succeeds in presenting a compelling case for Irish selfhood and political emancipation. This work is a must-read for anyone seeking to comprehend the intricate and enduring struggle for Irish independence.

First Page:


Some Thoughts on an Irish Polity

By "A.E." [George William Russell]

To The Right Hon. Sir Horace Plunkett

A good many years ago you grafted a slip of poetry on your economic tree. I do not know if you expected a hybrid. This essay may not be economics in your sense of the word. It certainly is not poetry in my sense. The Marriage of Heaven and Earth was foretold by the ancient prophets. I have seen no signs of that union taking place, but I have been led to speculate how they might be brought within hailing distance of each other. In my philosophy of life, we are all responsible for the results of our actions and their effects on others. This book is a consequence of your grafting operation, and so I dedicate it to you. A.E.


In the year nineteen hundred and fourteen Anno Domini, amid a world conflict, the birth of the infant State of Ireland was announced. Almost unnoticed this birth, which in other times had been cried over the earth with rejoicings or anger. Mars, the red planet of war, was in the ascendant when it was born. Like other births famous in history, the child had to be hidden away for a time, and could not with pride be shown to the people as royal children were wont to be shown. Its enemies were unforgiving, and its friends were distracted with mighty happenings in the world... Continue reading book >>

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