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Sexuality, Catholicism and literature in twentieth-century Ireland

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.

Rediscovering the work of Edward Shils

Edward Shils was an important figure in twentieth century social theory, and a true transatlantic thinker who divided his time between the University of Chicago and the U.K. He was friends with many important thinkers in other fields, such as Michael Polanyi and Saul Bellow. He became known to sociologists through his brief collaboration with Talcott Parsons, but his own thinking diverged both from Parsons and conventional sociology. He developed but never finalized a comprehensive image of human society made up of personal, civic, and sacred bonds. But much of his thought was focused on conflicts: between intellectuals and their societies, between tradition and modernity, ideological conflict, and conflicts within the traditions of the modern liberal democratic state. This book explores the thought of Shils, his relations to key figures, his key themes and ideas, and his abiding interests in such topics as the academic tradition and universities. Together, the chapters provide the most comprehensive picture of Shils as a thinker, and explain his continuing relevance.

Joyce and the Freudian Bildungsroman

1 Going to Tara via Vienna: Joyce and the Freudian Bildungsroman In the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, beginning with James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), the Irish Catholic Bildungsroman functioned as a crucial site on which Irish culture thought about, worried over and negotiated the connection between sexuality and modernity. Across that period, this genre provided a cultural vehicle through which the twentieth-century Freudian model of sexuality interacted with an older, reproductive model that was principally mediated

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Discovering and rediscovering Shils

Introduction: discovering and rediscovering Shils Stephen P. Turner Edward Shils was one of the twentieth century’s most influential and respected intellectuals. He received major awards and honours, including the Balzan Prize, a prize for scholars in fields without the Nobel Prize, and gave the Jefferson Lectures for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was for decades Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and a member of Cambridge University colleges, and moved in the most rarefied intellectual and literary circles

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neoclassical school of economics, 192 the calling of social thought Knight translated and published Weber’s General Economic History ([1923] 1927), which was a collection of lecture notes (Wirtschaftsgeschichte) that had been assembled by Weber’s students in 1923. This volume is important because it departs significantly from the religious framework of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1930) by placing emphasis on the State and dependable law. The importance of Knight’s approach to Weber was subsequently ‘rediscovered’ by Randall Collins, Daniel Chirot

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Sexuality, trauma and history in Edna O’Brien and John McGahern

; this had the immediate effect of lifting the ban on several thousand books.6 As with the Lady Chatterley trial in Britain in 1960, the banning of O’Brien’s and McGahern’s books, and the legal reform stimulated soon 178 IMPURE THOUGHTS after by the controversies which these bans provoked, forged a cultural connection between artistic freedom and individual and sexual freedom. This was reinforced by O’Brien’s participation in the anticensorship campaign, the effect on the writers’ personal and professional lives and the expanded media production which ventilated

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‘characters’, and a book on birth control, Haley Sutherland’s Laws of Life (1936), which had been approved for publication by the Catholic hierarchy in England. In the Seanad debate, Sir John Keane, a director of the Bank 84 IMPURE THOUGHTS of Ireland and member of the Senate since 1923, presented the banning of these two books and of O’Brien’s novel as evidence that the Censorship Board had lost the confidence of the public and should be reconstituted. After a four-day debate, in which Keane and Senator William Magennis, Professor of Metaphysics at UCD and a member of

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an analogous position to the physically and psychically entrapped nun. He hears her demented cries more acutely and perceptively than others, and is then able to creatively channel those cries into artistic expression. This will be his contribution to freeing himself and his society from the nun’s fate. Impure Thoughts addresses the knotty historical problems telegraphed in this brief allegorical reading. As Jim Smith and Elizabeth 2 IMPURE THOUGHTS Cullingford have demonstrated, Joyce’s unhinged nun has returned as the spectre that haunts contemporary Irish

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Sexuality, Irish moral politics and capitalist crisis,1920–40

women would pledge to avoid ‘immodest dress’; among other things, the pledge committed women to a minimal length of dresses and sleeves, the avoidance of trousers and an understanding that ‘stockings should never be dispensed with unless one is too poor to purchase them’.8 50 IMPURE THOUGHTS One of the primary objectives of these activists was the incorporation of the public morality framework into social policy and legislation. In the first two decades after independence their mobilisation and lobbying bore fruit as both the Cumann na nGaedheal and Fianna Fáil

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past. But, at the same time, Enright is a satirist, with a distinctly puritanical, Swiftian distaste for the messiness of human desires and appetites. So while the novels may affirm the prevailing conception of trauma as a historical model for understanding the present, they nevertheless display an ironical scepticism about the alacrity with which the culture adopted this analytical paradigm. 212 IMPURE THOUGHTS Despite this continued vitality the Bildungsroman now has to compete in a more crowded and highly stratified literary marketplace, and its salient themes

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