The ends of Ireland

Criticism, history, subjectivity

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Conor Carville
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The title of this book - The ends of Ireland - brings together a number of closely entwined subjects and themes. The chapters in the book are concerned with the work of a generation of critics emerging from Ireland from the 1980s onwards whose work examines the idea of the 'ends of Ireland' in the sense of a focus on the purpose and consequences of a range of concepts of the nation and national identity. Yet these critics - Luke Gibbons, David Lloyd, Seamus Deane, W.J. McCormack, Gerardine Meaney and Emer Nolan - have the notion of 'ends' and 'endings' as their object in other ways. As the main representatives of the turn to theory in Irish Studies that occurred in the late 1980s and the 1990s, they have tracked and catalysed the dissolution of an unreflective and ideological notion of national identity as a matrix of critical analysis. The book examines the margin between Ireland and its others in order to elaborate a sense of what it might mean to speak of Ireland in the wake of the new ideas that began to circulate in the 1980s: deconstruction, psychoanalytic theory, feminism, subaltern studies, postcolonialism and not least the revisionist approaches that have revolutionized Irish historiography.

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