12 Contemporary Irish fiction and the indirect gaze Neil Murphy As one of the most dramatic socio-economic transformative periods in modern Irish history, the Celtic Tiger years offer us a provocative opportunity to consider the relationship between Irish literary fiction and its contexts. Since 1995, Irish society has experienced a plethora of complex adjustments to the economy, to the demographic distribution of people living in Ireland and to the religious landscape, and Ireland has become both an international brand name in the arts and a poster-girl for
4 Gothic inheritance and the Troubles in contemporary Irish fiction On 10 April 1998, the British and Irish governments signed the Good Friday Agreement, marking the official end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland – though not the cessation of violence. A year earlier, Jeffrey Glenn, a 46-year-old librarian in Ballynahinch, County Down, submitted an essay for a retrospective collection, Children of The Troubles: Our Lives in the Crossfire of Northern Ireland. In it, he recalls the pangs of terror he regularly experienced while growing up in a Belfast suburb in
Revolutionary bodies traces a style of homoerotic writing in twentieth-century and contemporary Irish fiction. As this study demonstrates, writers in that tradition explored a broad spectrum of cultural and political concerns, while experimenting with the conventions of literary realism. We witness how, in these various works, the longing for the male body is insistently associated with utopian political desire. Developing a series of innovative readings, the argument proceeds through three author-centred chapters (Brendan Behan; John Broderick; Colm Tóibín) followed by two chapters on Irish gay fiction and ‘Celtic Tiger’ fiction. The latter two chapters focus on work by Keith Ridgway, Jamie O’Neill, Micheál Ó Conghaile and Barry McCrea, among others. Revolutionary Bodies prompts us to reconsider the relationship between aesthetics, literature and sexual liberation.
alone comprehensively, about the swirling abundance of themes and trends in contemporary Irish fiction and autobiography in the space allotted to me here. Every tour d’horizon must be hedged about with qualifications and hesitations, every typological gesture thwarted by the fact of thematic and stylistic diversity.2 In short, the closer one looks for continuities and correspondences, the more one becomes aware of kaleidoscopic variety. Indeed, the motifs of fragmentation and incompletion are themselves among the most recurrent in recent Irish writing, being
themes and are dedicated to the memory of John McGahern. This dedication to McGahern may appear ironic: I want to suggest that McGahern’s work is in many ways emblematic of an exploration of the condition and reality of the foreign that is lacking in the aforementioned collections of stories. By surveying the depiction of the foreigner in contemporary Irish fiction, this essay will show the failure to consider the stranger as anything other than a means to expand upon the state of the Irish nation as increasingly fractured and lost. In the second part, 64 john
, national tale, Gothic novel, and early stirrings of both the Silver Fork novel and the roman à clef – that attests to and underlines the fractured nature of contemporary Irish fiction and society. While, however, The wild Irish boy speaks to and of the ghosts of Irish history and its literary past, 8 it also issues a warning against the power such spectral influences can exert. In particular, it
Critical reflections on Oscar Wilde’s writing frame an introduction to the animating concern of this book: the relationship between homoeroticism and revolution in twentieth-century and contemporary Irish fiction. Considering the contradictory place of gay men in the phantasmagoria of neoliberal capitalism leads to discussion of Herbert Marcuse, Wendy Brown and Judith Butler, who provide inspiration for some key concepts in this study: identity, injury, vulnerability and liberation.
This book focuses on the drama and poetry published since 1990. It also reflects upon related forms of creative work in this period, including film and the visual and performing arts. The book discusses some of the most topical issues which have emerged in Irish theatre since 1990. It traces the significance of the home in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Vona Groarke. The book also focuses on the reconfigurations of identity, and the complex intersections of nationality, gender and race in contemporary Ireland. It shows how Roddy Doyle's return to the repressed gives articulation to those left behind by globalisation. The book then examines the ways in which post-Agreement Northern fiction negotiates its bitter legacies. It also examines how the activity of creating art in a time of violence brings about an anxiety regarding the artist's role, and how it calls into question the ability to re-present atrocity. The book further explores the consideration of politics and ethics in Irish drama since 1990. It talks about the swirling abundance of themes and trends in contemporary Irish fiction and autobiography. The book shows that writing in the Irish Republic and in the North has begun to accommodate an increasing diversity of voices which address themselves not only to issues preoccupying their local audiences, but also to wider geopolitical concerns.
, carries us deeply into the consciousness of the tale’s central character, Kate. In the words of Ada Calhoun, ‘O’Keeffe conveys the pain that comes from standing over the corpse of a loved one, as well as the greater suffering that comes when there’s no body over which to stand’.15 What characterises the novellas in The Hill Road is their emphasis on the masking of history, and on moments of submerged violence. The Hill Road exemplifies Eve Patten’s contentions about contemporary Irish fiction: For the most part, it remained formally conservative: beyond a prevalent
Conclusion: Famine and the Western Front in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot Throughout this book I’ve traced the common employment of what I have identified as spectral tropes through nearly a dozen works of contemporary Irish fiction, from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) to Anna Burns’s No Bones (2002). In novel after novel, we’ve witnessed how twentieth-century Irish authors have called upon Ireland’s historical ghosts to establish Irish history and national identity as more complex and convoluted than popular conceptions of Ireland’s historical