Brenda Maddox

No To Nostalgia

Nostalgia is as old as the race – or at least as old as the spoken word. ‘O tempora, o mores,’ declared Cicero in his first oration against Catiline, deploring (so Wikipedia tells me) the viciousness and corruption of his age. James Joyce’s Dubliners, written in 1914, is a testament to the faith that the best times were long ago. Who can disagree with Lily the serving girl in ‘The Dead’ who declares, ‘The men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you’? Certainly not W. B. Yeats, who summed up the belief in ‘September 1913’ with ‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone/It’s with O’Leary in the grave.’ 

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