Anne Enright and postnationalism in the contemporary Irish novel
in Irish literature since 1990

Anne Enright has been hailed as one of the most exciting contemporary Irish writers, praised for her lyrical, evocative language and her original style. According to Colm Toibin, Enright 'has taken up and refined the legacy of Sterne and Flann O'Brien which, for the first time in its long life in fiction, has become post-Freudian, post-feminist and post-nationalist'. Postnationalism could consequently also be seen as an always present counter-current to the mythologising tendencies of nationalism, which would make Anne Enright part of a long-standing tradition rather than the representative of something new. Reading the novel What Are You Like? as a postnationalist text is of course to accept the centrality of 'nation' in Irish literature. As far as criticism is concerned it would seem that every Irish novel is about nation or at least that every Irish novel should be read in a national context.

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