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Ruth Fleischmann: Refutation of Sandra MacLiammoir, The Secret Life of Joan Denise Moriarty - A Biography

Ruth Fleischmann
Refutation of Sandra MacLiammoir
Sandra MacLiammoir’s The Secret Life of Joan Denise Moriarty: A Biography was published in 1995. It alleges that Joan Denise Moriarty deceived the Irish nation for almost half a century, that she was a nonentity without training or ability, that she was given a semblance of significance by the composer Aloys Fleischmann who, to satisfy his vanity, forced his lover into roles for which she was entirely unfit, that their public work for dance was in reality a private erotic game funded by the public purse, that the allegedly wealthy and powerful musician ‘created’ Moriarty, ‘ravished her soul’ and was the cause of her destruction. The Fleischmann family made the bitter discovery that we had no legal remedy against the gravely defamatory book since, under Irish law, the dead may be libelled with impunity.
We therefore resolved to write a detailed refutation for submission to the Irish Law Reform Commission as a case study illustrating the need to protect the dead from defamation and as a petition for legislative reform. It was sent to the Commission in September 1998. A copy of the Refutation, together with the documentation on which our argument is based, was deposited with the Fleischmann Papers in the Archives of University College, Cork.
In November 1998 we published an implicit refutation of the defamatory book: Joan Denise Moriarty, Founder of Irish National Ballet (Mercier Press, Cork) with contributions by 95 people – choreographers, dancers, teachers of dance, critics, musicians, friends and family – who were in a position to evaluate Moriarty and her work for her art in Ireland.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Moriarty’s and Fleischmann’s deaths and the centenary of Moriarty’s birth. We have therefore decided to make our analysis of The Secret Life available to the public to facilitate those interested in the history of dance in Ireland who may not have the time to investigate this travesty of a biography thoroughly. We believe we have demonstrated that it cannot be deemed to contribute in any way to an equitable assessment of Moriarty’s work for ballet in 20th century Ireland.

Ruth Fleischmann, Herford, Germany
  24 January 2012

Ruth Fleischmann_Refutation of Sandra MacLiammoir(1,924KB)