New Voices in Irish Literary Criticism: Ireland in Theory

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This book combines twelve essays derived from the proceedings of the New Voices in Irish Criticism Conference of 2005, which took place at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, all of which concentrate on the intersection between text and theory in the field of Irish Studies. All of the contributors to this volume have an interest in developing novel ways of reading both traditional and conventional Irish texts through various theoretical contexts, which include postcolonialism, feminism, psychoanalysis and deconstruction. The development and subversion of traditional critical approaches to Irish texts evidenced by these essays emphasizes the necessity for a theoretical thrust in Irish Studies, in order for conceptions of Irishness to avoid stagnation through constant critique, expansion and re-invention.


“The 2005 New Voices in Irish Criticism conference in Mary Immaculate College was a vibrant, supremely well-organised and enjoyable few days ... It was a pleasure and a privilege to be invited to participate and I have no hesitation in saying that the proceedings that have come out of the occasion will be among the best that this significant forum has produced. Watch out for a number of these ‘new voices’: you will hear a lot more from them in the years to come!” - Eamon Maher, Director of the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies, Tallaght Institute of Technology, Dublin

“This is a welcome and timely volume that ably demonstrates through its array of rich and well-chosen essays that theoretical approaches to Irish literature and culture are capable of delivering a wide range of new and provocative insights ... It showcases the best of research currently being undertaken in Irish Studies.” - Dr. Anne Fogarty, Department of English, University College Dublin

“ ... a coherent and exciting collection that genuinely reassesses the ways in which ‘theory’ might have a future in Irish criticism. The book has been judiciously organized by the editors into sections that highlight the prominent theoretical issues in Irish studies and point towards its future concerns.” - Dr. Colin Graham, Department of English, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Table of Contents

Foreword by Eamon Maher
Introduction: Theoretical Horizons
Historical Narratives and Mythmaking
1 Impotent Hippolytus: The Separation of Myth from Political Power in Brian Friel’s Living Quarters and Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love - Summer Neilson Moshy
2 A Citable History: Walter Benjamin, Sean O’Casey and Padraig Pearse - Hannah McCarthy
3 The Subaltern in Eavan Boland’s Poetry - Pilar Villar Argáiz Questioning Postmodernism in Irish Narrative
4 Postmodern and Postcolonial Tensions in Flann O’ Brien’s at Swim Two Birds - Micheál MacPiarais
5 Postmodern Mystic: John Banville - Brendan McNamee
Reconstructing Irish Identities
6 Louise MacNeice: An Intertextual Dialogue with W.B. Yeats - Denise O’ Brien
7 “The Poison Tongue of Satan [and] the Voice of God”: Joyce, Catholicism and Deconstruction - Cathy McGlynn
Sexual and Gendered Subjectivity
8 The Scene of the Crime”: Restriction and Prescription in Eavan Boland’s Reclamation Narratives - Aine McHugh
9 The Birthing Process in Thomas Kilroy’s The Shape of Metal - Emmaleene O’ Brien
10 Dermot Bolger: Gender Performance and Society - Damien Shortt
Psychoanalyzing Irish Film
11 (Dis)Locating Irishness in the Postmodern Terrain (Or, Making it Real) - Emma Radley
12 “I Fought the Law and the Law Won”: Intermission and Symbolic Change - Paula Murphy

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