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New Left Review I/234, March-April 1999


Terry Eagleton

Nationalism and the Case of Ireland

The Enlightenment and its Romantic aftermath gave birth to two doctrines distinguished only by the letter s. [*] I am grateful to Willa Murphy and Perry Anderson for their valuable critical comments on this article. The first was that people had the right to self-determination; the second was that peoples had such a right. The former belief is the keystone of modern democracy, and indeed of socialism; the second is a piece of romantic mystification, a fact which has not prevented a good many on the political Left from endorsing it. Nor has its philosophical basis been much examined in the standard literature on nationalism.

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