July 30th, 1904
FROM THE ARCHIVES:Dana was a “magazine of independent thought” edited by John Eglinton and Fred Ryan in 1904-05, best remembered now for publishing the James Joyce poem Song and rejecting a serialised version of A Portrait of the Artist on Eglinton’s grounds that he couldn’t print what he didn’t understand. Its fourth edition was welcomed by this editorial. – JOE JOYCE
THE AUGUST number of Dana well maintains the standard set by the earlier issues. There are poems by Miss Jane Barlow, “Æ,” and Mr. James A. Joyce, each of them possessing rhythmical merit, but all suffering from the obscurity that seems to be almost inseparable from most modern Irish verse; Mr. George Moore continues his astonishing “Moods and Memories,” treating of everything Parisian from pictures by Degas to artificially fattened chickens in the same airy allusive irresponsible style; and Mr. William Buckley tells the story of King Diarmuid.
But these, after all, are not the sort of contributions for which we specially welcomed Dana. Irish poetry and romance can find other avenues for their expression. A periodical, describing itself as “An Irish Magazine of Independent Thought,” must stand or fall by the quality of the articles which deal with controversial topics. Is Dana fulfilling its mission by providing a platform on which men of all parties and creeds may meet and deliver their opinions without fear and without reservations? Needless to say there is much yet to be achieved in this respect. Probably Dana is even yet hardly known to many who would like to make public their views; and the space available for such deliverances is at present strictly limited. Still, a beginning has been made, and already there have been printed several articles giving ground for the hope that ere long the expression of “independent thought” in Ireland will be a good deal freer than it has been for many years.
The August number contains two such articles: “On Reasonable Nationalism,” by “Dubliniensis,” and “Empire and Liberty,” by Mr. Fred Ryan. In every respect but one the former seems to us much the more admirable, but the exception is important. “Dubliniensis” does not mind a little bloodshed. Indeed he might be described as a political phlebotomist. He considers that it was the premature introduction of the notion of religious tolerance that fixed Ireland in provincial apathy. “The paradings of Orangemen, the truculence of obscurantist journals, and threatenings of a Catholic Association, are all indication of the presence in Irish life of bad blood which was never let off, as it should have been, in honest warfare between these two principles which in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were contending for the souls of the nation.”
We have said enough to show that, whatever we may think of the writer’s opinions, the article is well worth reading. Our chief regret is that the writer has not revealed his real name.