W. J. McCormack
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The parochial and exotic
Two tales of 1861–2
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Le Fanu published two short stories in The Dublin University Magazine; set in County Limerick and seventeenth-century Milan respectively, 'Ultor de Lacy' and 'Borrhomeo the Astrologer' indicate a breadth of reference which also impresses. These two unacknowledged stories of 1861-2 should be read as part of an anxious Victorian reconsideration of major theological and political themes. With its glimpse of Elizabethan massacre 'Ultor de Lacy' remains an isolated item in Le Fanu's writing. The purported incident upon which it is based is of the kind chronicled in Thomas Stafford's Pacata Hibernica. Ultor De Lacy was neither the butcher of 1601 nor the victim of Ultor O'Donnell's supernatural revenge. He lived between these savage events, implicated in the 1745 Jacobite rising it is true, but a middling fellow, a central character in that apparently immunising sense.

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