Severed Heads and Floggings: The Undermining of Oblivion in Ulster in the Aftermath of 1798

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A considerable body of literature on ‘transitional justice’ has commented on the advocacy of forgetting that is inherent in amnesty settlements. The main focus has been on transitions from authoritarian states to democracies in the second half of the twentieth century, with regards to dispensations given to perpetrators of state violence under the former regime, but it should be acknowledged that many of these amnesties provided arrangements for the integration of former opponents of the state, including armed insurgents.1 A longer historical perspective exposes the inability of modern states to enforce uniform collective amnesia of their troubled and conflicted pasts. Official constructions of memory are constantly subject to contestations from counter-memories, defiantly upheld by oppositional groups. Less noticed perhaps is how rehabilitated loyal sectors of society, which seemingly had a vested interest in forgetting their previous political oppositional affiliations, would also cling on to memories of pain and suffering caused by the government to which they now professed allegiance.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationThe Body in Pain in Irish Literature and Culture
EditorsFionnuala Dillane, Naomi McAreavey, Emilie Pine
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9783319313870, 9783319313887
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameNew Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature


  • Irish literature
  • 1800-1899
  • prose
  • United Irishmen
  • Irish Rebellion (1798)
  • Irish nationalism
  • collective memory
  • human body
  • suffering
  • beheading


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