‘Extraordinary breathing space’
Afterlife vision and redemption in the work of John McGahern
in John McGahern
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The afterlife is one of John McGahern's most persistent, if muted, configurations of the radiant domain of secular transcendence towards which critics recognise his larger work is oriented. The afterlife retains currency for Ruttledge and McGahern because the immovable object of his scepticism would seem to still allow for the unstoppable force of redemption. Timor mortis anticipates his 1992 tour de force, 'The Country Funeral', in celebrating timor mortis as a natural agent of creative focus on this life. Eamon Grennan, in his 1995 reading of the story 'The Country Funeral', argues that for McGahern an afterlife belief associated with religious inheritance is 'something speechless and of unknown value'. In this chapter, the author deliberately utilizes the terms 'vision' and 'rhythm' as loaded McGahern descriptors, following his use of them to explain his concept of 'The image' in his key early statement of artistic principles of the same title.

John McGahern

Authority and vision

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