Kieran Keohane
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Anamnesis for a new Ireland
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The construction of any human dwelling requires an anamnesis, a 'naming', the calling of a divine power instituting a centre of the world. In cargo cults world events and new ideas are assimilated into natives' traditional Holy Dreams. This anthropological tale of a cargo cult from the South Pacific seems at first to be exotic and bizarre, and to have nothing remotely of relevance to an understanding of the development of modern Ireland. One person who understood the strange ways in which the cargo cult dreams of modern visionaries can turn into nightmares was Brian O'Nolan/ O'Nuallain. O'Nolan's At Swim-Two-Birds is a modernist-surrealist proto-postmodernist representation of the Irish idiomatic and idiosyncratic phantasmagoria of Progress. In his 'Cruiskeen Lawn' column in the Irish Times, Myles reports a typical moment from his contemporary surreal Ireland.

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