Saturday, November 30, 2019

Sam Henry 'A Critic In The Candlelight' - Summer 1943

'My heart had a vision of Ulster the Land of the Free.
Our fathers shed their blood for the right to think.'

This is by the wonderful and globally-renowned folklorist and photographer Sam Henry, from Ulster Parade Number 5, a periodical that was published during the years of WW2, quarterly from 1942–1947, and which featured a variety of popular Ulster writers of the time. It was published by The Quota Press, which was an interesting and innovative imprint that produced a large amount of local material from around 1927–1952. There are quite a few Ulster-Scots kailyard stories in the editions of Ulster Parade I have.

The use of very natural Ulster-Scots in this story by Sam Henry is joyful, and it's especially interesting to see it in print in the 1940s, which is usually thought of as a period where Ulster-Scots had fallen out of fashion. The storyline, of the hassles of trade barriers and import taxes across the border, is very topical in our current Brexit context!