Language, lies and the crisis of representation in Such a Long Journey
turbulent year of the struggle
between what were then East and West Pakistan, which eventually drew in India and culminated in a brief, two week war and
the creation of Bangladesh. However, it also harks back to the
political history of India in the 1960s, the decade that saw the
death of Jawaharlal Nehru, who had led India to independence
from Britain and become its first Prime Minister, and the
accession of his daughter Indira Gandhi. Events in the 1960s –
including the Indo-Chinese War, the sudden death of Nehru’s
successor Lal Bahadur Shastri, superpower meddling, and
Representations of Irish political leaders in the ‘Haughey’ plays of Carr, Barry and Breen
their forces and the self-slaughter
of both men. The result for Haughey of the 1989 election was coalition with the Progressive Democrats, the party founded by former Fianna
Fáil politicians unhappy with his leadership; and it is they who would
finally walk away in the face of the various scandals that emerged.
Haughey was never tempted to fall on his sword, as the two Romans
(and indeed Othello) had done. Instead, he liked to quote the example
of the Chinese emperors who stayed in power until they were ninety.
Mara warns Haughey in the play that he ‘shouldn’t have
1961 and then in Peter Drucker’s notion
that, since the Second World War, the USA had transformed from ‘an
economy of goods’ into a ‘knowledge economy’ (1971, 263). This notion
subsequently became a matter of consensus among major political leaders
around the world even as it fuelled international competition. In Bill Clinton’s Fifth State of the Union Address (1997), he outlined an education
policy to equip US students ‘to succeed in the knowledge economy of the
twenty-first century’ citing the importance of access to the internet. The
Chinese president Jiang Zemin
Colonialism, Jewishness and politics in Bacon’s New Atlantis
the authenticity and credibility of his narrative.
In the 1620s Europeans still did not know the scope of America.
French and English colonial outposts were dotted in a piecemeal
fashion along North America’s eastern coastline, and the
Portuguese and Spanish in particular had established sizeable
settlements in South America.13 Indeed, the occasion for the New
Atlantis is its accidental discovery by Spanish tars attempting to
sail from Peru to China and Japan. However, America’s Western
coastline and, in particular, the continent’s interior, had only
provided one such
situation, the troubadours’ proximity to power, and the patronage of power,
offering a model, or at least a historical consolation, to Pound. A better model,
however, or at least an aesthetically more promising one, was the Chinese as
mediated by Fenollosa and presented by Pound in 1915 as Cathay. The poems
of Cathay are beautiful in many ways it would be a pleasure to expand on at
length, but in ways also that probably do not need rehearsing here. Except to
observe that more than any work in early Pound, with the exception of ‘The
like Mark O’Rowe’s Howie the
Rookie (1999) and Made in China (2001), and Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs
(1996) and Sucking Dublin (1997). Such a list can only begin to suggest
the range of possible inflections of contemporary experience, anxieties
and conditions to be found in Irish drama today.
Practitioners and performance
A focus on the state of playwriting alone can give a somewhat distorted
picture of Irish theatre as a whole. Theatre cannot belong solely to
writers no matter how brilliant their work may be; it necessarily
encompasses all the other agents and agencies
from cold-dry to warm-dry and
water became scarcer at the end of last glacial maximum (Musser 2014).
‘Ecological civilisation’ is a Chinese concept with roots in Taoist philosophy
that Mathews has been studying for several years, in collaboration with colleagues in China. Mathews currently holds the position of Adjunct Professor
of Eco-Civilisation Studies at Monash University’s Institute of Sustainability.
For an overview, see Rigby (2006).
On Romanticism and ecocriticism, see Rigby (2014).
Clare’s attention to species-specific Umwelten is also discussed by
vulnerable trans lives. Gondouin et al.’s chapter on the TV series Top of
the Lake: China Girl (Australia, Jane Campion, 2017) sheds light on the
conflicting discourses of reproductive rights and reproductive justice, and
how white and non-white vulnerabilities carry different affective weights in
popular narratives about transnational commercial surrogacy.
In addition to the human rights discourse on vulnerability as an issue
of structural differences between groups and exposure to risks, the proliferation of the language of vulnerability is also evident in
with the East than with the classical
past. As early as the ninth century, Persia imported musk from the Tonkin
region of Tibet and China through dedicated ‘musk routes’, routes similar to
those of the Silk routes but connecting central and east Asia with the medieval
Islamic world.12 From the Arabic misk, Persian mushk, and probably from the
Sanskrit mushká for ‘scrotum’, musk was harvested from adult male deer, one of
several species of Moschus, which produced musk in a vesicle near its genitals.
Inside the vesicle, the animal’s glandular secretions formed
Hythlodaeus. The actual narrative of the
New Atlantis simply begins: ‘We sailed from Peru, (where we had
continued by the space of one whole year), for China and Japan,
by the South Sea; taking with us victuals for twelve months; and
had good winds from the east, though soft and weak, for five
months’ space and more’ (457). Here we have the typical beginning of many a travel narrative. For example, ‘The Discovery of
Guiana’, by Sir Walter Ralegh, in Richard Hakluyt’s influential
collection of English voyages, opens: ‘On Thursday the 6. of
February in the yere 1595. we