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Irish literary history through Balzac, Sheridan Le Farm, Yeats and Bowen

It is a central thesis that nineteenth-century Ireland went through a series of traumatic processes of modernization, which have been denied and repressed in their aftermath. The mediated presence of Sheridan Le Fanu and Honore de Balzac in the work of W.B. Yeats brings to a head political questions of the utmost gravity, the most notable being Yeats's engagement with fascism. Le Fanu has been persistently aligned with a so-called Irish gothic tradition. The objective in this book is to observe the historical forces inscribed in Le Fanu's distinctive non-affiliation to this doubtful tradition. The book presents a French response to Charles Maturin's gothic work, Melmoth the Wanderer, which is followed by discussion of a triangular pattern linking Balzac, Le Fanu and Yeats. This is followed by an attempt to pay concentrate attention within the texts of Le Fanu's novels and tales, with only a due regard for the historical setting of Le Fanu's The House by the Churchyard. An admirer of Le Fanu's fiction, Elizabeth Bowen adopted some of the stock-in-trade of the ghost story to investigate altered experiences of reality under the blitz. A detailed examination of her The Heat of the Day serves to reopen questions of fixity of character, national identity and historical reflexivity. In this work, the empty seat maintained for the long dead Guy might be decoded as a suitably feeble attempt to repatriate Le Fanu's Guy Deverell from an English to an Irish 1950s setting.

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The life and works

gesturing towards an acknowledgement of Maturin’s literary importance, more often than not confirms his peripheral position in the annals of Irish literary history by reproducing him as a marginal figure. In this respect, Irish literary history has largely erased Maturin’s existence from the central narrative of early nineteenth-century Irish literature, thereby effectively ‘un-Maturin[ing]’ Irish Romantic

in Charles Robert Maturin and the haunting of Irish Romantic fiction
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Francis Stuart’s Black List, Section H (1971)

6 Jesus or Judas?: Francis Stuart’s Black List, Section H (1971) The last thing in this world Anyone I know Would dare to be Is wholly free. That is, of course, with the exception Of one man. One man alone. See what happened to him. Brendan Kennelly, The Little Book of Judas, 38 Introduction Despite the fact that he disdained nationality as a criterion for the understanding of literature, Francis Stuart remains an important figure in modern Irish literary history, in significant part because of the ways in which his work focuses questions pertaining to the

in The Judas kiss

Irish literary history is thriving – if one were to judge by the number of literary histories published in recent years. Yet even the most sophisticated of these retains a doggedly chronological method, and declines to take up challenges posed by the diverse approaches evident in – say – the long-running American journal New Literary

in Dissolute characters

-pane – these are important registrations in Yeats’s personal account of Irish literary history. These revisions interconnect with Yeats’s practice as an author in the market-place. It is well known that he aligned himself with William Morris’s brand of socialism because it provided an alternative to the vulgarity of commercial production in art and

in Dissolute characters

fable to Le Fanu’s fiction, we may be advised to relate it to some more central figure in Irish literary history. The apocalypse, of course, preoccupied W. B. Yeats, not only as an aspect of his theosophical system but also as a metaphor in the political domain. ‘The Second Coming’ links Lenin and Bethlehem in a pattern which retains something of Balzac’s sardonic irony. Less

in Dissolute characters
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we associate with ‘the Gothic novel’ and ‘Irish Gothic’, e.g., medievalism; Catholic Continental settings; overt supernaturalism. But, as evidenced here, many of them do not, preferring instead contemporary time periods, local geography, and a more generalised recourse to romance. Attention to the apparent deviations and exceptions to the norm highlights the heterogeneous breadth that is eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Irish gothic literature. As it does so, it re-integrates the gothic into mainstream British and Irish literary history, revealing the striking

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829

career) and its eternal (judgement). If Uncle Silas co-exists as sensational novel and metaphysical romance, the question remains as to how we place such a work of literature in a reconsideration of Irish literary history. We have then two distinct interventions, one of which may be still in need of elaboration. Balzac’s Melmoth reconcile

in Dissolute characters
Protestants, politics, and patriarchy in the novels of F. E. Crichton

10 ‘The blind side of the heart’: Protestants, politics, and patriarchy in the novels of F. E. Crichton Naomi Doak T he absence of Ulster women writers, particularly Ulster Protestant women novelists, from the annals of Irish literary history is a phenomenon which has recently achieved some degree of critical attention.1 Due to these recent efforts at recovering alternative Irish literary traditions, it has become apparent that this absence is not attributable to the fact that such women did not write books. On the contrary, archive research has uncovered more

in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922

assertion of an Irish identity is possible or desirable, for such a declaration would lack complexity of even the most elementary kind. Internally, in relation to the fiction, her attitude can be compared to the Nietzschean ressentiment of Robert Kelway. But in relation to Irish literary history, it stands in contrast to the politics of W. B. Yeats

in Dissolute characters