The specter of Famine during World War II
in Haunted historiographies
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Emphasizes a spectral blending of Famine and World War II imagery in Sebastian Barry’s novel The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), which argues against Irish neutrality. I define and measure the effect of spectrality in Barry’s fiction by focusing on the ghostly (tropes, modes, themes, and forms that bring multiple histories and fictions into dialogue with one another) to trace the way in which Barry crafts a Famine subtext that functions as a critique of Ireland’s non-engagement. Eneas Mcnulty employs imagery that conjures the history of the Famine into the historical space of World War II, and can therefore be read as invoking that nineteenth-century Irish trauma as rationale not for neutrality, but engagement.

Haunted historiographies

The rhetoric of ideology in postcolonial Irish fiction

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