The concept of 'margins' denotes geographical, economic, demographic, cultural and political positioning in relation to a perceived centre. This book aims to question the term 'marginal' itself, to hear the voices talking 'across' borders and not only to or through an English centre. The first part of the book examines debates on the political and poetic choice of language, drawing attention to significant differences between the Irish and Scottish strategies. It includes a discussion of the complicated dynamic of woman and nation by Aileen Christianson, which explores the work of twentieth-century Scottish and Irish women writers. The book also explores masculinities in both English and Scottish writing from Berthold Schoene, which deploys sexual difference as a means of testing postcolonial theorizing. A different perspective on the notion of marginality is offered by addressing 'Englishness' in relation to 'migrant' writing in prose concerned with India and England after Independence. The second part of the book focuses on a wide range of new poetry to question simplified margin/centre relations. It discusses a historicising perspective on the work of cultural studies and its responses to the relationship between ethnicity and second-generation Irish musicians from Sean Campbell. The comparison of contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction which identifies similarities and differences in recent developments is also considered. In each instance the writers take on the task of examining and assessing points of connection and diversity across a particular body of work, while moving away from contrasts which focus on an English 'norm'.
September 2000, p. 90.
Ruth Scurr, ‘Novel of the Week’, New Statesman, 10 April 2000, p. 61.
Fitzgerald, p. 8.
Annan, p. 90.
Christine St Peter, Changing Ireland: Strategies in Contemporary
Women’s Fiction (Houndmills: Macmillan, 2000), p. 45.
Enright, p. 63.
Ryan, p. 166.
Enright, p. 201.
Postnationalism in the Irish novel
45 Ibid., p. 28.
46 Ibid., pp. 145–6.
47 Robert Karron, ‘What Are You Like?’, Boston Review, http://bostonreview.
mit.edu/BR25.5/karron.html (accessed on 5 February 2003).
48 Robert MacFarlane