Transformations of the Human in the Writing of Liam O‘Flaherty
This paper examines the way in which the tension in O‘Flaherty‘s writing between disappointed idealism and lingering romanticism is expressed by his use of the grotesque, which enables him at once to display both revulsion and romantic resistance to limitation, both of which are counter to a coherent enlightenment view of the rational human. The paper traces O‘Flaherty‘s use of the grotesque in the short stories and a number of historical novels and his creation of figures which are sometimes monstrous, often humorous and sometimes enlightened by moments of transcendence of limitations, but always resistant to defining boundaries.
The papers in this volume consider Gothic Ex/Changes, a concept at the heart of the essentially hybrid mode of Gothic, which constantly challenges prevailing orthodoxies. Papers foreground the confusion of boundaries and definitions of the human. A number take this examination of the hybrid into the realm of form and genre, including music and historiography. The analysis of Gothic in the collection demonstrates the way in which Gothic criticism has extended the subversive role of Gothic texts into the academy. It might be that as part of the ongoing process of change and exchange with a range of theoretical approaches, we are entering the period of ‘postGothic studies.’