The 1998 Belfast Agreement compelled Irish republicans to think about partition and unification in new ways. The year 2018, the twenty-year anniversary of the ratification of that agreement and nearly one hundred years after the establishment of the Irish Free State, offers an opportune time to revisit the writings of Seán Ó Faoláin, one of the most flamboyant public intellectuals to emerge in Ireland in the postrevolutionary period. This article, which challenges the identification of Ó Faoláin as a protorevisionist and more recent attempts to reclaim him for very different left-republican or poststructuralist intellectual/political projects, will concentrate primarily on Ó Faoláin’s writings on partition. Ó Faoláin’s thinking on partition will be linked here to his writings on the ethnocultural complexities of postrevolutionary Ireland and on literary form. The article will explore the extent to which Ó Faoláin was a precursor not, as has been claimed, of revisionism but of a latter-day nonmilitant pragmatic republicanism that decommissioned its weapons and, in the Belfast Agreement, accepted the principle of consent as the basis for a sovereign all-Ireland state. His writings both point to the range of positions available within post–Civil War republicanism and indicate that none of these positions was without its attendant difficulties.

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