‘A bad master’
Religion, Jacobitism, and the politics of representation in Lady Gregory’s The White Cockade
in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922
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This chapter focuses on Lady Gregory’s historical drama The White Cockade within the context of the fin-de-siècle revival of Jacobitism. With its historical focus on the Battle of the Boyne and its social, political and economic implications for both Catholic and Protestant Irish society, the play’s topic was a daring one for the Abbey’s theatre audience. In The White Cockade, Gregory brought to light the power of self-sacrificial rhetoric and, at the same time, challenged the popular concept of nationalist martyrology by presenting her audience with what is effectively a double ending that allowed for a flexibility in responses. Despite the potential divisiveness of the historical subject matter, the play’s engagement with fin-de-siècle Irish Jacobite thought chimed well with its audiences. The contemporary acceptance of Gregory’s criticism, in particular, pays tribute to her dramatic craft and complicates our understanding of the politics of representation in early twentieth-century Ireland.

Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922

Advancing the cause of liberty


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