Scott Brewster
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Flying high?
Culture, criticism, theory since 1990

The soft furnishings showcase Irish writing in its broad sense: literary and political writing, and both official languages in Ireland. The universalising model of development would situate Ireland as a marginal culture in the context of wider European and Atlantic modernity. The conventional oppositions of east-west and north-south that have shaped modern Irish culture must also now be re-thought in global terms. Literary criticism has remained a central disciplinary component of Irish Studies, and Irish criticism could not remain immune to the theory wars that convulsed literature departments on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1980s. By the start of the 1990s Irish literature, and Irish Studies more widely, was encountering theory in a sustained fashion. The introduction of postcolonial theory, alongside the controversy involving the inclusiveness of the Anthology, has proved a particularly vexed issue in analyses of the Field Day enterprise.

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