Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 17 items for :

  • "Denis Sampson" x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All
Abstract only
Authority and vision

John McGahern is one of those writers whose work continues to be appreciated across a range of readerships. As a writer who eschewed the notion of himself as 'artist' he addressed his task through a commitment to style, what he called the 'revelation of the personality through language'. McGahern's work began to receive critical attention only from when Denis Sampson's seminal study, Outstaring Nature's Eye: The Fiction of John McGahern was published in 1993. This book focuses on the physical landscape to show how the inadequacy of the State that emerged after 1922 is reflected in the characters' shifting relationship with the landscape, the connection has been made vulnerable through trauma and painful memory. It explores this sense of resentment and disillusionment in McGahern's novels, drawing parallels between the revolutionary memories and McGahern's own family experience. McGahern's All Over Ireland offers a number of fine stories, mostly set in Ireland, and dealing with distinctly Irish themes. He wrote a novel that is an example of openness, compassion and understanding for any form of strangeness. The vision of education and of the shaping of identity found in his writing is not an idiosyncratic one - it is consistent with much of the best thought within the tradition of liberal education. The book provides an intriguing comparison between McGahern and Flannery O'Connor, illustrating how diverse stories share an underlying current of brutality, demonstrating their respective authors' preoccupation with a human propensity towards evil.

McGahern and the memory of the Irish revolution
R. F. (Roy) Foster

, and the history of contained violence which both marks his family and is rigorously evaded by them. But this trope, subtly played out throughout the novel, reflects larger issues and themes of the memory of revolution, and how it is negotiated in Irish history, among those for whom – like Moran and McQuaid – ‘the war was the best part of our lives … I think we never rightly got the hang of it afterwards’ (6). How far this reflects McGahern’s personal and family experience is worth exploring, and should not be too easily assumed. Denis Sampson’s work has shown how

in John McGahern
David Clare

makes links to Ireland’s British past through the story’s repeated references to Scotland – a country which, like Ireland, has a dual Gaelic and British heritage. As Denis Sampson has pointed out, Colonel Sinclair’s assertion that he ‘never discuss[es] religion because its base is faith – not reason’ is an unattributed quote from the Scottish philosopher, David Hume.4 Elsewhere in the story, when the narrator lists some of the subjects that the children study in school, he mentions ‘George Gordon’ (239) – a multifarious reference deliberately chosen by McGahern. The

in John McGahern
Afterlife vision and redemption in the work of John McGahern
Catriona Clutterbuck

applied to That They May Face the Rising Sun it constitutes a positive rather than a negative criticism. This is because that luminous late work is shot through with the kind of dynamic meaning arising through sometimes minute and sometimes larger-scale local change which in McGahern’s earliest short story seems utterly evacuated. Denis Sampson argues of his fiction that ‘suffering and death … empties of significance social bonds and aspirations and places on the characters the burden of discovering that aspect of his life which is of spiritual value’.22 But their

in John McGahern
Abstract only
Željka Doljanin and Máire Doyle

. Despite the fact that McGahern’s work had won awards and been held in high esteem by other writers since he first emerged as a published author in 1963, it did not begin to receive the critical attention it deserved until Denis Sampson’s seminal study, Outstaring Nature’s Eye, was published in 1993. The publication of Sampson’s insightful and comprehensive book followed the 1990 nomination, and short-listing, of McGahern’s fifth novel, Amongst Women, for the Booker Prize. For many readers, critics and other writers this novel was McGahern’s ultimate stylistic

in John McGahern
Tom Walker

‘pressed into the service of the wider cultural programme of capitalist modernisation’8 by the 1970s and 1980s. One form of answer to such an argument is offered in the critical work of McGahern’s interviewer in 1979, Denis Sampson. He places the writer within ‘the literary traditions to which he feels an affinity’:9 a postFlaubertian vein straddling modernism, realism and naturalism too, which includes Irish and European writers as various as Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Proust. Drawing on an appreciation of how McGahern’s fiction subtly engages with such

in John McGahern
Abstract only
Declan Kiberd

work by Graham Price and Fergal Casey, are interpretative. A heroic phase of McGahern criticism, which began with Denis Sampson’s Outstaring Nature’s Eye and came to a grand climax in Young John McGahern and in van der Ziel’s superb book on the writer’s use of literary tradition, achieves new levels of insight in this valuable volume. But it may well be that the next decade of commentaries will focus more on the textual – on genetic studies of the many drafts through which the writer developed each work. These will show how patient, exact and scrupulous was the mind

in John McGahern
Abstract only
Marriage and McGahern’s late vision
Máire Doyle

come together to form an interrogative but delicate portrait of a mature marriage that has endured the vicissitudes of life, but not without personal cost. Where Denis Sampson sees no ‘love stories’17 in the novel, there is, in this marriage, not just the story of a marriage that endures, but a story about the loss of love or, at least, about the loss of belief in love. This manifests itself in a prevailing sense of disappointment in their relationship which gradually reveals itself through their friendship with the Ruttledges and their regular encounters. While

in John McGahern
Abstract only
Landscape and the lost republic
Nicholas Allen

Women was John McGahern’s fifth novel and follows the fate of the Moran family over twenty years. Denis Sampson has called it a ‘group portrait’7 with the father at its dark centre. The elder Moran was once an active volunteer in the War of Independence but has now retreated from the Ireland he had a hand in making towards the interior life of his family farm. His family is his undoing, in that, as Sampson observes again, the changes that unsettle his character follow from family milestones, such as the growing up and leaving of his children. A further layer of

in John McGahern
Željka Doljanin

passes unnoticed, these moments disappear into one another to make a whole and to be remembered in one’s mind together with prior moments. The individual characters are similarly not particularly memorable and they defy easy classification, mostly because they are never only one thing, or, as Denis Sampson puts it, ‘no character is allowed to be exactly who he would like to believe he is’.30 Mary can simultaneously laugh ‘maliciously’ but with ‘great affection’ (116), and speak with ‘a darkness’ that is as much a part of her as ‘the sweet inward-looking smile’ (121). A

in John McGahern