Michael G. Cronin
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John Broderick
Perverse politics
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We might reasonably expect John Broderick’s early novels, published in the first half of the 1960s, to be aligned with the orthodoxies of a postcolonial nation affirming its commitment to technological modernisation and economic subservience to the capitalist global order. His is just the type of critical realist aesthetic – eviscerating the pious hypocrisies of Catholic Ireland – that has long found a welcome home in Irish literary criticism. But the realist aesthetic of Broderick’s fiction is ruptured by the irreconcilable presence of archaic structures of feeling. One of these archaic forms is the homosexual reconfigured as a pervert; not necessarily, or not only, the homosexual as modern sexual pervert but as perverse in older theological and political senses as well. In Broderick’s fiction, the ‘homosexual’, the ‘fallen woman’ and the republican ‘gunman’ form an unholy trinity of unruly threatening perversity. These are religious and political as well as sexual heretics animating the insurrectionary potential immanent to the bourgeois social order.

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