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.
9780719075636_4_011.qxd 16/2/09 9:28 AM Page 201 11 ‘Tomorrow we will change our names, invent ourselves again’: Irish fiction and autobiography since 1990 Liam Harte [B]oomtime Ireland has yet to find its Oscar Wilde or its Charles Dickens or even its Evelyn Waugh. The strange place we now inhabit does not seem to yield up its stories easily. . . . What has happened, essentially, is that the emergence of a frantic, globalised, dislocated Ireland has deprived fiction writers of some of their traditional tools. One is a distinctive sense of place. To write
9780719075636_4_014.qxd 16/2/09 9:29 AM Page 250 14 Secret gardens: unearthing the truth in Patrick O’Keeffe’s The Hill Road Vivian Valvano Lynch The publication of Patrick O’Keeffe’s 2005 collection of four novellas, The Hill Road, marked the arrival of a significant new voice in Irish fiction. Born in Ireland in 1963, O’Keeffe grew up on a dairy farm in Limerick near the Tipperary border. At the age of twenty-three he emigrated to the United States, but only became legally resident there in 1989, after winning his green card in a lottery. His stories
9780719075636_4_016.qxd 16/2/09 9:29 AM Page 272 16 Remembering to forget: Northern Irish fiction after the Troubles Neal Alexander To speak of post-Troubles fiction, or even fiction ‘after’ the Troubles, is perhaps as problematic as it is unavoidable. Nearly a decade since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the political accord for which it paved the way remains fraught and uncertain. And if it can be said with at least some certainty that the war is finally over, then it is equally certain that Northern Ireland’s troubles are not. The latest edition of
that ‘[the] relationship of the Celtic diaspora to the English mainstream still remains to be properly investigated’ while the ‘difficulty’ of such an enterprise is explained as due to the complex history of political and linguistic development (1993: 62). Such (un)critical endorsement of ideological space (English centre, Celtic periphery) contributes to the process whereby that hegemonic space is reproduced and perpetuated. This chapter aspires to an alternative critical project: an analysis of contemporary Scottish and Irish fiction through a comparison of the
The gothic novel in Ireland, 1760–1830 offers a compelling account of the development of gothic literature in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland. Against traditional scholarly understandings of Irish gothic fiction as a largely late-nineteenth century development, this study recovers to view a whole body of Irish literary production too often overlooked today. Its robust examination of primary texts, the contexts in which they were produced, and the critical perspectives from which they have been analysed yields a rigorous account of the largely retrospective formal and generic classifications that have worked to eliminate eighteenth-century and Romantic-era Irish fiction from the history of gothic literature. The works assessed here powerfully demonstrate that what we now understand as typical of ‘the gothic novel’– medieval, Catholic Continental settings; supernatural figures and events; an interest in the assertion of British modernity – is not necessarily what eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers or writers would have identified as ‘gothic’. They moreover point to the manner in which scholarly focus on the national tale and allied genres has effected an erasure of the continued production and influence of gothic literature in Romantic Ireland. Combining quantitative analysis with meticulous qualitative readings of a selection of representative texts, this book sketches a new formal, generic, and ideological map of gothic literary production in this period. As it does so, it persuasively positions Irish works and authors at the centre of a newly understood paradigm of the development of the literary gothic across Ireland, Britain, and Europe between 1760 and 1830.
thus invite their readers to view England as characterised by an unsettling violence and irrationality normally linked to the Continent and its superstitious, pre-modern, radicalised cultures. The final section of the chapter charts Irish literary gothic's participation in the new ‘cartographic consciousness’ that emerges in early nineteenth-century Irish fiction as writers explore ‘the different ways in which place can be inscribed in literature’. 16 Connolly argues that the imagined cultural encounters between England and Ireland in the
the later canonisation processes effected by twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary studies. From a specifically Irish literature perspective, research by Rolf and Magda Loeber, in particular their indispensable A guide to Irish fiction (2006), has greatly expanded the limits of our literary consciousness, recovering to view a multitude of texts that now invite a re-consideration of the parameters of Irish literary production across the centuries. Many of the lesser-known works included in these bibliographies and assessed in this book
nationhood have dominated the scene since the early 1990s, with examples like David Lloyd’s Anomalous States: Ireland and the Post-Colonial Moment (1992), Declan Kiberd’s Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (1995), Gerry Smyth’s The Novel and the Nation: Studies in the New Irish Fiction (1997), Seamus Deane’s Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing since 1790 (1997), Joe Cleary’s Literature, Partition and the Nation State: Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine (2002) and Ray Ryan’s Ireland and Scotland: Literature and
fill in the missing narrative. If, as David Morrison suggests, ‘[v]iolence . . . draws its meaning only from the totality of the situation within which it occurs and from the meanings that people give to the act within the known structures of its occurrence’,31 then the viewer will necessarily fail in his attempt to fully understand the violence being represented. Northern Irish fiction has been culpable for proliferating a narrow vision of the Northern Irish conflict and has fostered what Lewis R. Gordon terms ‘epistemic closure’,32 the erection of stereotypes