This book studies the twentieth-century Irish Catholic Bildungsroman. This comparative examination of six Irish novelists tracks the historical evolution of a literary genre and its significant role in Irish culture. With chapters on James Joyce and Kate O'Brien, along with studies of Maura Laverty, Patrick Kavanagh, Edna O'Brien and John McGahern, this book offers a fresh new approach to the study of twentieth-century Irish writing and of the twentieth-century novel. Combining the study of literature and of archival material, the book also develops a new interpretive framework for studying the history of sexuality in twentieth-century Ireland. The book addresses itself to a wide set of interdisciplinary questions about Irish sexuality, modernity and post-colonial development, as well as Irish literature.
question of sexuality, this book charts the evolution of a discursive struggle about what constituted that regulatory ideal in twentiethcentury Ireland. A first premise of this book is that the study of a literary genre, the Bildungsroman or novel of formation, offers one route towards critically engaging with these vexed questions about the history of Irish sexuality. Why this genre? As its notable theorists have demonstrated, the Bildungsroman attained its significance in European culture because of its capacity to forge a dynamic relationship between the narration of
. More specifically, these cartoons provide an illuminating instance of the influence of a sub-genre of the novel then at its zenith – the Bildungsroman – on British ruminations about a host of colonial topics (among them slavery, manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, waning British influence in the Americas, and the rise of the US as a world power). In the figure of Master Jonathan, British cartoonists personified the United States as a problematic youth whose upstart and mercenary national ambitions threatened both the welfare of the Cuban people and the national
The marriage plot is a subgenre of the Bildungsroman that is particularly pervasive in women's coming-of-age stories. It depicts moral and spiritual development happening later in life than the traditionally male Bildungsroman, which follows a young adolescent who ‘begins with a sense of self, which with outside guidance and the help of mentors would be expected to develop to its fullest potential’ (Labovitz 3). In the case of the marriage plot, the protagonists tend to be young adult women rather than early adolescent boys and their
chapter I will read Kavanagh’s two versions of the Bildungsroman; his autobiography The Green Fool (1938) and his novel Tarry Flynn (1948). The Great Hunger conjures a dystopian vision of Arensberg and Kimball’s familist rural society and produces a powerful and tragic affirmation of the association between sexuality and rural underdevelopment. By contrast, while Tarry Flynn creates an equally unappealing vision of sexual, cultural and economic impoverishment in rural Ireland, it does so in a comic mode. Ostensibly, the absurd failure of the novel’s marriage plot and
This first book-length study of Kate Atkinson’s multifaceted œuvre is a comprehensive introductory overview of her novels, play and stories. It situates Atkinson’s literary production in terms of an aesthetics of hydridity that appropriates and re-combines well-known genres (coming-of-age novel, detective fiction, historical novel) and narrative techniques. This book explores the singularity and significance of Atkinson’s complex narratives that engage the reader in contemporary issues and insight into human concerns through a study of the major aspects and themes that tie in her work (the combination of tradition and innovation, the relationship to the collective and personal past, to history and memory, all impregnated with humour and a feminist standpoint). It pursues a broadly chronological line through Atkinson’s literary career from Behind the Scenes at the Museum to Big Sky, the latest instalment in the Brodie sequence, through the celebrated Life After Life and subsequent re-imaginings of the war. Alongside the well-known novels, the book includes a discussion of her less-studied play and collection of short stories. Chapters combine the study of formal issues such as narrative structure, perspective and point of view with thematic analyses.
-knowledge’ is linked to the rejection of the heterosexual romance-plot that governed women’s lives (Felski 122). Atkinson’s aesthetics of hybridity unfold in these feminist narratives of development that rework traditional forms like the Bildungsroman (Felski 122). The following pages examine Atkinson’s own feminist reworking of the genre. Because they give an account of the development of the
4 Family matters: Euro-American orphans, the bildungsroman, and kinship building Implicit in a phrase like ‘loved ones’ is an open-ended notion of kinship that respects the principles of choice and self-determination in defining kin, with love spanning the ideologically contrasting domains of biological family and families we create. (Weston, 1997: 183) As we have seen in Chapter 3, contemporary orphan tales typically foreground alternative, or non-normative, families. In this chapter we focus on John Irving’s The Cider House Rules (1985), and Kaye Gibbons
Conclusion The Bildungsroman has by no means receded from prominence in contemporary Irish literature. This genre’s capacity to symbolically distil the contradictions and anxieties of modernity explains its longevity, and also its resurgence in the 1990s, another period, like the 1960s, of intensive capitalist development in Ireland. There are striking continuities between the 1960s novels and those notable versions of the form produced by leading writers in the 1990s. The utopian desire to imagine meaningful growth and fulfilment in the face of the traumatic
contemporary novels relate in various ways, focusing particularly on issues of gender and class privilege. Against the relatively solid gender entrenchment of analyses of girl and boy orphans in US literary history, we foreground how dichotomous gendered trajectories have been problematized by feminist scholars, especially since the 1980s. We trace Euro-American girl and boy orphans in genres that have been dominant forms for telling orphan stories: the bildungsroman, the domestic or sentimental novel, and the picaresque narrative. As in the case of the Indian captivity