This paper examines the treatment of Ireland and World War One in Observe the
Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, one of Frank McGuinness's best-known plays, and
among the leading Irish history plays of the twentieth century. The play has received considerable
analysis from literature specialists, but much less from historians. In particular, the paper
considers the play in the context of the evolving historiography of the First World War, including Irish participation, history and memory, and forms of commemoration.
Specific issues discussed include who enlisted, and why; why soldiers were prepared to stay
and fight (despite the high level of casualties), and Ulster Protestant identity. Among the scholars and writers whose work is mentioned are Tim Bowman, Cyril Falls, David Fizpatrick,
Paul Fussell, Henry Harris, Laurence Housman, Keith Jeffery, Jennifer Johnston, Kevin Myers,
David Nowlan, Philip Orr, A.T.Q. Stewart, and Jay Winter. Cet article analyze la représentat...