Politics, gender and narrative technique in Felicia’s Journey
William Trevor's Felicia's Journey is a literary work which reflects how individual lives bear the imprint of the political, economic and cultural narratives and histories of their places of origin. This chapter argues that the novel transcends simplistic paradigms and embraces a much broader picture of humanity and inhumanity. It is undeniable that historical conflicts between Ireland and Britain are a significant presence in Felicia's Journey. William Trevor possesses a mastery of narrative technique which has been recognised by readers and reviewers alike for almost fifty years. Thwarted communications, withheld information recur not just as a motif in Trevor's plots, but also of his narrative technique, as his deft and canny characterisation of Joseph Ambrose Hilditch exemplifies. Where transparency and intimacy typify his representation of the main female characters, Felicia and Miss Calligary, and their pasts, concealment, ambiguity and piecemeal disclosure create opaque perceptions of Hilditch's world.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book focuses on the drama, poetry and autobiography fiction published since 1990, but also reflects upon related forms of creative work in this period, including film and the visual and performing arts. The period from 1990 to 2007, has witnessed significant developments within Irish culture and society, which have shaped and transformed the writing and reading of identity, sexuality, history and gender. Not least among the factors which fostered a new, positive mood on the island was the considerable progress made during the 1990s in resolving the crisis in Northern Ireland. Multinational corporations and investors from Europe and the USA found the Republic highly attractive because of its exceptionally low corporation tax, its stability in industrial relations, and its highly skilled, well-educated, English-speaking workforce.
New generation Northern Irish poets (Sinéad Morrissey and Nick Laird)
A new generation of talented poets is beginning to re-shape the face of Irish and Northern Irish literature can be found in Selima Guinness's The New Irish Poets and John Brown's Magnetic North: The Emerging Poets. This chapter focuses on the debut collections of two writers, Sinead Morrissey and Nick Laird, whose work exemplifies many of the attributes identified by Guinness and Brown. With three volumes to her credit, Morrissey has perhaps the most substantial profile to date among the new generation of poets. In contrast to Morrissey, whose book contains only one passing reference to her father, Laird's To a Fault begins with a series of glimpses of his father, a figure who comes across as simultaneously present and remote. The chapter suggests that many traits identified by Brown and Guinness are equally demonstrable in the writing of their literary forebears, the Heaney-Mahon-Longley and Muldoon- McGuckian-Carson generations.
William Trevor is one of the most accomplished and celebrated contemporary prose writers in the English language. This book offers a comprehensive examination of the oeuvre of one of the most accomplished and celebrated practitioners writing in the English language. Trevor is very interested in popular literature and how certain genres run through people's lives like tunes or family memories. His characters are often 'turned in on themselves', strange, extreme, at odds with the world. The various betrayals, manipulations and acts of cruelty that constitute the representative events of The Old Boys are typical of Trevor's England. The book also explores the ways in which Trevor's liberal humanist premises condition his response to issues of historical consciousness, ideological commitment and political violence. Trevor's short story, 'Lost Ground', from After Rain, conforms to Aristotle's vision of tragedy because it depicts a truly horrendous situation inside a family in Northern Ireland. Notable screen fictions illustrating long-term migrant themes include Attracta, Beyond the Pale and Fools of Fortune. Trevor's short story 'The Ballroom of Romance' evokes memories of dancehall days, partly explains this public appeal, which was enhanced by the BAFTA award-winning film adaptation of the story by Pat O'Connor. Love and Summer is a lyrical, evocative story of the emotional turbulence based on a critical variety of nostalgia that recognises both the stifling limitations of a small-town environment and the crucial connection between ethics and place.
This book focuses on the drama and poetry published since 1990. It also reflects upon related forms of creative work in this period, including film and the visual and performing arts. The book discusses some of the most topical issues which have emerged in Irish theatre since 1990. It traces the significance of the home in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Vona Groarke. The book also focuses on the reconfigurations of identity, and the complex intersections of nationality, gender and race in contemporary Ireland. It shows how Roddy Doyle's return to the repressed gives articulation to those left behind by globalisation. The book then examines the ways in which post-Agreement Northern fiction negotiates its bitter legacies. It also examines how the activity of creating art in a time of violence brings about an anxiety regarding the artist's role, and how it calls into question the ability to re-present atrocity. The book further explores the consideration of politics and ethics in Irish drama since 1990. It talks about the swirling abundance of themes and trends in contemporary Irish fiction and autobiography. The book shows that writing in the Irish Republic and in the North has begun to accommodate an increasing diversity of voices which address themselves not only to issues preoccupying their local audiences, but also to wider geopolitical concerns.
This chapter considers the claim that the moral life is to be delineated in terms of explicit reason-giving and justification and the related claim that moral development is to be identified with increasing rationality. The authors reject this claim and argue against that a full and coherent account of morality and of the moral life must be one which recognises that, whilst crucially important, the giving of reasons and the provision of explicit justifications, emphasised by John Harris, inevitably takes place against, and indeed only make sense as part of, a rich and intersubjective background of more or less implicit moral discourses and practices which are themselves constituted by and constitute a background of developmental social relationships with a moral dimension. The authors emphasise that this does not imply that it is unreasonable to expect of those in powerful positions that they be explicit about the ethical principles and standards by which their practice is guided or that they should not be held accountable for their actions.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book sets out William Trevor's work against a larger canvas. William Trevor is one of the most accomplished and celebrated contemporary prose writers in the English language. The book provides detailed analyses of key texts, focusing on works which are widely read or most often appear on university syllabuses. It examines the self-reflexive dimensions of Trevor's oeuvre, how allusions to books, newspapers, advertisements and records shed light onto characters' identities, aspirations and anxieties. The book highlights Trevor's responsiveness to Britain's changing culture from the mid-1950s onwards, highlighting his incorporation of black characters in his fiction at a time when many British authors declined to do so.