The soft furnishings showcase Irish writing in its broad sense: literary and political writing, and both official languages in Ireland. The universalising model of development would situate Ireland as a marginal culture in the context of wider European and Atlantic modernity. The conventional oppositions of east-west and north-south that have shaped modern Irish culture must also now be re-thought in global terms. Literary criticism has remained a central disciplinary component of Irish Studies, and Irish criticism could not remain immune to the theory wars that convulsed literature departments on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1980s. By the start of the 1990s Irish literature, and Irish Studies more widely, was encountering theory in a sustained fashion. The introduction of postcolonial theory, alongside the controversy involving the inclusiveness of the Anthology, has proved a particularly vexed issue in analyses of the Field Day enterprise.
This book focuses on the drama and poetry published since 1990. It also reflects upon related forms of creative work in this period, including film and the visual and performing arts. The book discusses some of the most topical issues which have emerged in Irish theatre since 1990. It traces the significance of the home in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Vona Groarke. The book also focuses on the reconfigurations of identity, and the complex intersections of nationality, gender and race in contemporary Ireland. It shows how Roddy Doyle's return to the repressed gives articulation to those left behind by globalisation. The book then examines the ways in which post-Agreement Northern fiction negotiates its bitter legacies. It also examines how the activity of creating art in a time of violence brings about an anxiety regarding the artist's role, and how it calls into question the ability to re-present atrocity. The book further explores the consideration of politics and ethics in Irish drama since 1990. It talks about the swirling abundance of themes and trends in contemporary Irish fiction and autobiography. The book shows that writing in the Irish Republic and in the North has begun to accommodate an increasing diversity of voices which address themselves not only to issues preoccupying their local audiences, but also to wider geopolitical concerns.