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The politics of enchantment
Author: Tara Stubbs

American literature and Irish culture, 1910–1955: the politics of enchantment discusses how and why American modernist writers turned to Ireland at various stages during their careers. By placing events such as the Celtic Revival and the Easter Rising at the centre of the discussion, it shows how Irishness became a cultural determinant in the work of American modernists. Each chapter deals with a different source of influence, considering the impact of family, the Celtic Revival, rural mythmaking, nationalist politics and the work of W. B. Yeats on American modernists’ writings. It is the first study to extend the analysis of Irish influence on American literature beyond racial, ethnic or national frameworks.

Through close readings, a sustained focus on individual writers, and in-depth archival research, American literature and Irish culture, 1910–1955 provides a balanced and structured approach to the study of the complexities of American modernist writers’ responses to Ireland. Offering new readings of familiar literary figures – including Fitzgerald, Moore, O’Neill, Steinbeck and Stevens – it makes for essential reading for students and academics working on twentieth-century American and Irish literature and culture, and transatlantic studies.

Texts, intertexts, and contexts
Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella and Helena Wahlström

1 Orphans and American literature: texts, intertexts, and contexts The word ‘orphan’ suggests being cut off from society, abandoned and alone; its opposite conjures visions of family, connectedness, roots, belonging – all subsumed in the image of home. (Porter, 2003: 101) Orphans in contemporary US novels gain significance in relation to earlier American literature and the history of orphanhood in the USA. This chapter therefore situates our study in both literary and socio-­historical contexts, focusing on earlier discussions of the American orphan figure in

in Making home
Authorship and authority
David Stirrup

Medicine and others of Erdrich’s works – is also demonstrated in the critical archive, which continues to devote a deal of attention to her work. A glance at the programmes for the 2009 Native American Literature Symposium (Chicago, 26–28 February) and the 2009 meeting of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (Minnesota, 21–23 May), records five individual papers, more than any of the other ‘majors’ in Native American literature – N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, James Welch, Gerald Vizenor (whose work was the subject of a special panel at NAISA

in Louise Erdrich
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'Why do we like being Irish?'
Tara Stubbs

turbulence of the outside world. MacNeice’s summative comment on Ireland’s ‘self-deception’ points beyond those Irish who are complicit in the packaging of Irish culture as an historical, even mythological, artefact, to those outside Ireland who choose to collude in the myth of Ireland’s separation from the rest of the world. In An Age of Innocence (1998), Brian Fallon questions the one-sidedness of such negative views of Ireland during this period; however, he still 001-016 AmericanLiterature Introduction.indd 1 18/06/2013 17:10 2 American literature and Irish culture

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
Tara Stubbs

apparently far removed politically from Yeats’s original, the allusive title allows the speaker’s loss of her lover to become as pregnant with symbolism as Yeats’s memorial to the executed rebels of 1916. Thus when the poem’s grieving lover returns to her room, she reads the world as poised upon a moment of terrible change: I sat on the floor with a Sunday Times and read the columns of the first page down, 164-210 AmericanLiterature Ch5.indd 165 18/06/2013 17:11 166 American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55 and then the next, and then the next, I can still see

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
Tara Stubbs

writers. The Celtic Revival in the USA Tracy Mishkin notes that ‘Three of the elements important to those who wished to construct an Irish identity were the past, the peasants, 064-101 AmericanLiterature Ch2.indd 65 18/06/2013 17:10 66 American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55 and religion’. By emphasising these three elements, Irish nationalists and writers were able ‘to distance themselves from what they perceived as the ugly, urban, material life of England’.8 The Celtic Revivalists’ focus on storytelling played particularly on a love of the past (whether

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
Tara Stubbs

influence of the Celtic Revivalist playwright J. M. Synge in his ‘play-novelette’ Burning Bright (1950), and giving the Northern Irish, Hamilton side of his family the contrapuntal saga to the Trasks in East of Eden (1952). Marianne 017-063 AmericanLiterature Ch1.indd 17 18/06/2013 17:10 18 American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55 Moore claimed in a letter to Ezra Pound in January 1919 that she was ‘Irish by descent, possibly Scotch also, but purely Celtic’, despite only having loose family connections to Ireland through a maternal AngloIrish

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
Tara Stubbs

/06/2013 17:11 104 American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55 emerging stories with a similar focus, composed by writers such as Liam O’Flaherty, Seán O’Faoláin and Frank O’Connor – some of which were published in American periodicals like The Dial, The Bookman and Harper’s.5 Most of these stories dealt with rural or small-town subjects; for example, the titles of the O’Flaherty stories published in The Dial in 1925 were ‘The Conger Eel’, ‘The Foolish Butterfly’, ‘The Wild Goat’s Kid’, and ‘Milking Time’, while O’Flaherty published another story, ‘The Little White

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
Tara Stubbs

remonstration against the rebels’ decision to proceed in a way that diverged from Yeats’s dream of a cultural (and peaceful) Irish revival. But what Yeats’s poem also marks is a movement within his own work from a declared position of non-involvement with politics to one through which he writes himself into the rhetoric of events. Only the year before the Easter Rising, Yeats had famously abstained from commenting on 135-163 AmericanLiterature Ch4.indd 135 18/06/2013 17:11 136 American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55 the events of World War One with his poem ‘On

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
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Cultural credibility in America's Ireland - and Ireland's America
Tara Stubbs

that the relatively new country of Ireland became an historical artefact before it had a chance to form its own identity, so that ‘A country has 211-217 AmericanLiterature Conclusion.indd 211 18/06/2013 17:11 212 American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55 become a heritage attraction long before the idea ought to have gained currency’.3 Meanwhile Colin Graham argues, in a 2001 essay ‘A glimpse of America’, that Ireland in the late twentieth century has become ‘a plenitude of images, replicating itself for continual consumption and at times achieving an over

in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55