New Publication: Ireland 1913

Professor Florian Krobb
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 10:15

Ireland [1913] is an entertaining yet informative, ironic yet sympathetic, personal yet factual account of a summer spent travelling through Ireland. In the hundred years since, Bermann’s vivid prose and astute observation has lost nothing of its charm. Interspersed with surveys of Irish history, political analysis (for example, and very pertinently, visits to monster rallies in Ulster and an interview with Sir Edward Carson), ruminations on literature and theatre, Irish lore and dancing, it also forms a unique historical source of Irish life and culture on the eve of the First World War. With the keen eye of a political journalist, Berman pinpoints contradictions and paradoxes, but concurrently places Ireland in wider political contexts, namely the growing tensions between the imperialist Great Powers of Europe.

Richard Arnold Bermann (1883-1839), who also wrote under his nom de plume Arnold Höllriegel, was between the 1910s and 1930s one of the leading journalists and travel writers in German. Born in Vienna, he moved to Berlin in his early 20s to write for the Berliner Tageblatt and later for several other leading German and Austrian papers. His travels led him all over the world; amongst other things, he reported widely on Hollywood’s film industry and became friends with Charley Chaplin; he also accompanied Count Ladislaus Almásy, immortalized as ‘The English Patient’ in the eponymous novel and film, on one of his Sahara expeditions. His report on Ireland was the first of his many travel writings that appeared as a book. A liberal, and born to Jewish parents, he had to emigrate to the USA after the German annexation of Austria in 1938. He died during a stay in the artists’ sanatorium Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY.  

The book is published by Cork University Press. Produced by Dr Leesa Wheatley, a professional translator and author of a major study on German travel writing on Ireland since 1780, and Professor Florian Krobb, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Maynooth University, who counts amongst his specialisms the writings of Richard Arnold Bermann (1883-1939), one of the most prominent and the most travelled of journalists of the first decades of the 20th century.