Ulstermen of Letters: The Unionism of Frank Frankfort Moore, Shan Bullock, and St John Ervine



Cultural Unionism is often called a contradiction in terms. The Victorian Irish Protestant intelligentsia who claimed the intellect of Ireland was against Home Rule have been eclipsed by political defeat and by artists of the Irish Revival from Protestant/Unionist backgrounds who adopted nationalism as part of their rebellion into artistic self-definition. Belfast Unionism, the product of a provincial commercial city, took less interest in the arts than the Dublin variety. Its literary self-expression was left to local antiquarians, minor regional writers (often linked to Protestant churches, the Orange Order, or various branches of the Unionist establishment) or Ulster-born writers in London who still identified with their origins.* Only in recent years has Belfast supported a significant literary intelligentsia, and few of its members have Unionist affiliations. Because of the strength of regionalism among twentieth-century Ulster writers, the intellectual atrophy of Ulster Unionism after the demise of its Dublin counterpart and the marginalisation of the Irish Question in British politics after 1922, critics underestimate the Unionist commitment of earlier writers and forget the role of the London-based Ulsterman of letters.


Unionist Commitment Protestant Church Biographical Note Emotional Insecurity Home Rule 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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