Shakespeare, memory, and modern Irish literature

Nicholas Taylor-Collins
Search for other papers by Nicholas Taylor-Collins in
Current site
Google Scholar

Shakespeare, memory, and modern Irish literature explores intertextual memories of William Shakespeare in modern Irish writing. It proposes a new way of reading these memories through ‘dismemory’. Dismemory describes disruptive memories that are future oriented, demonstrating how Irish writers make use of Shakespeare to underwrite the Irish nation-state. The ghosts section foregrounds the father–son relation in Irish literature that is modelled on the ‘hauntological’ (Derrida, 1993) relation between Hamlet’s Ghost and his son. This relation is paradigmatic for Irish writers, evident through J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World (1907), ‘Hades’ from James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), and John Banville’s Ghosts (1993). These examinations demonstrate how each adapts the father–son structure from Hamlet. The section on bodies thinks through Beckett’s Three Novels (1951–53) and Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls Trilogy and Epilogue (1960–86) and how they foreground the material body. These bodies are tied either to the antitheatrical discourse (Beckett) or to maternity discourses (O’Brien), and in both cases, the Irish writers manage to throw off the bodies’ burdens much as their early modern literary forebears did. Finally, the land section examines W. B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney – first Yeats’s concern with the surface of the land results in an ideal image of the dancer, as in As You Like It and Edmund Spenser’s Colin Clouts Come Home Again; then, Heaney’s interest in the land’s depths. Heaney restores these unearthed Irish memories in his poetry, thereby creating a new Irish archive.

Abstract only
Log-in for full text
  • Collapse
  • Expand

    • Full book download (HTML)
    • Full book download (PDF with hyperlinks)
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 378 378 95
Full Text Views 128 127 23
PDF Downloads 48 48 6