Walter Starkie

An Odyssey

By Jacqueline Hurtley

As the son of the last Resident Commissioner of Education under British rule in Ireland, Walter Starkie was launched into a life of firsts, inaugurating the chair of Spanish at Trinity College, Dublin and appointed representative of the British Council in Spain after the Civil War. However, a reputation, principally based on his popular travel writing - Raggle-Taggle (1933), Spanish Raggle-Taggle (1934), and Don Gypsy (1936) - has dogged memory of the man, other aspects of his career being neglected or ignored. This biography reassesses the rhapsodic roving and rag-tag roguery while situating the lifespan within specific historical and political contexts: late Victorian Dublin, the latter years of the Union, those of the Free State and the de Valera decade that dislodged it; partitioned Hungary and greater Romania in the wake of the First World War; Fascist Italy and the Spain of dictatorships as well as of the Second Republic. The portrait that emerges moves beyond the fellow and his fiddle to the territories of intrigue, revealing diverse distractions, disguises and determined discourses of power in times of turmoil. *** This book has been awarded the 2014 ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) award in category A:Cultural Studies in English. *** "In telling this story, Jacqueline Hurtley has, Starkie-like, traipsed the globe. This is a thoroughly-researched, though occasionally heavily-detailed, work which reconstructs the extraordinary reactions of a talented Irishman to some of the grimmer moments in recent European history. The finest section of Hurtley's book details Starkie's Spanish travels... " - Irish Literary Supplement, Vol.34, No.1, Fall 2014~

368 pages

Publication Date: 10/11/2013
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781846823633