Diverse voices

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.

The return of the repressed in Roddy Doyle’s Paula Spencer
Jennifer M. Jeffers

9780719075636_4_015.qxd 16/2/09 9:29 AM Page 258 15 ‘What’s it like being Irish?’ The return of the repressed in Roddy Doyle’s Paula Spencer Jennifer M. Jeffers ‘The Irish are the niggers of Europe, lads.’ (Roddy Doyle, The Commitments)1 In a notorious incident in January 2002, a young Chinese man, Zhao Liulao, was beaten to death in a late-night fight in a Dublin suburb, after being taunted by racist youths. This death occurred against a background of reports of increased attacks on immigrants in the north inner-city area of Dublin, in an area designated

in Irish literature since 1990
Contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction
Glenda Norquay and Gerry Smyth

constructions of Scotland and Ireland are almost changing faster than cultural representations can cope with. Roddy Doyle’s advice for the citizens of the Republic is apposite for those living throughout these islands: ‘You Norquay_10_Ch9 154 22/3/02, 10:06 am 155 Contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction should bring your passport to bed with you because you’re going to wake up in a different place’ (quoted in Smyth 1997: 102). It is also pertinent advice for writers of contemporary fiction in Ireland and Scotland. Nevertheless, the established cultural institutions

in Across the margins
Irish fiction and autobiography since 1990
Liam Harte

the symptom of a history that they cannot entirely possess’ but which possesses them.36 This pathological condition is bound up with a profound crisis of historical truth which asks how we ‘can have access to our own historical experience, to a history that is in its immediacy a crisis to whose truth there is no simple access’.37 Caruth might be describing here the crisis that afflicts the protagonists of so many contemporary Irish novels, from Robert McLiam Wilson’s Ripley Bogle (1989) to Colm Tóibín’s The Heather Blazing (1992) to Roddy Doyle’s A Star Called Henry

in Irish literature since 1990
Crossing the (English) language barrier
Willy Maley

serious tone of the rest of the poem. In this scenario, as in Deane’s novel, it is the older generation that have accents. The narrator knows ‘better’, and speaks perfect English, or imagines himself so to do. Roddy Doyle and Patrick McCabe are exceptions in fiction, but as Edna Longley argues, employing what for me is a strange sort of logic, ‘prose writers, particularising character and scene, can perhaps do more than poets to preserve local words’ (1991: 651). Conversely, one might say that contemporary Irish poetry, though Irish in content, is very English in form

in Across the margins
Open Access (free)
The Republic and Northern Ireland since 1990
Michael Parker

-thought-through’ and ‘wildly disproportionate’.46 The anthology included a Preface written by Brian Friel, poems by Seamus Heaney, Brendan Kennelly, Medbh McGuckian, Sinéad Morrissey and Theo Dorgan, and prose extracts by Roddy Doyle, Jennifer Johnston, Eugene McCabe and Bernard Mac Laverty. The work debated and celebrated in Irish Literature Since 1990: Diverse Voices reflects the greater and growing cultural self-belief which has developed under both political jurisdictions. This new confidence in encompassing worldwide issues in their writing is perhaps not unconnected to the

in Irish literature since 1990
Heidi Hansson

la Roddy Doyle, which could be taken as another indication that Enright advocates a position beyond the narrowly national. Her disjointed narrative art could also be seen as a reaction to Irish storytelling traditions which would further support a postnationalist interpretation, since Irish myths are persistently connected with a nationalist perspective and an unstable text questions the explanatory function of myth.16 This is of course not a new idea. As Richard Kearney points out, Irish literature has constantly ‘displayed two different attitudes to the

in Irish literature since 1990
G. Honor Fagan

, produce ‘a finished image of finished reality’38 because it has always been in flux. To engage with such a society, a writer such as Roddy Doyle is necessarily ‘constrained to open meaning up rather than close it down’,39 as one cultural critic put it. The social and political scientist can hardly do otherwise. At a recent International Studies Association conference, one contributor examined globalisation and the ‘preservation of local identity’ in Ireland.40 Ireland was portrayed as one of those states that have ‘taken advantage of the new opportunities afforded by

in The end of Irish history?
Open Access (free)
Culture, criticism, theory since 1990
Scott Brewster

Northern Troubles increase the film’s universalism. In their ability to forge connections with the outside world, the young Irish can go anywhere. Yet the recourse to soul music does not simply represent the carefree abandonment of the past: Jimmy Rabbitte’s claim that the Irish are ‘the niggers of Europe’ recalls a real and recent colonial past when Ireland was ‘at the back door of Europe’.32 While Alan Parker’s celebratory film reflects the increasing optimism of the early 1990s, Roddy Doyle’s original novel was set amidst the chronic unemployment and economic crisis

in Irish literature since 1990
Martine Pelletier

examines Donal O’Kelly’s Farawayan (1998), Roddy Doyle’s adaptation of Guess Who’s Coming for the Dinner (2002), Maeve Ingolsby’s Mixing in on the Mountain (2003), Paul Mercier’s Native City (1998), Joe O’Byrne’s It Come Up Sun (2000), Charlie O’Neill’s Hurl (2003), and the work of African Voices in Ireland theatre company (2003). Declan Kiberd, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’, The Irish Review, 27 (summer 2001), p. 30. Father Jack’s improprer conduct – there is a hint he may have entertained a close relationship with Okawa, his houseboy and mentor – may echo the various scandals

in Irish literature since 1990