Back to the Present: Forward to the Past, Volume I

Irish Writing and History since 1798


The island of Ireland, north and south, has produced a great diversity of writing in both English and Irish for hundreds of years, often using the memories embodied in its competing views of history as a fruitful source of literary inspiration. Placing Irish literature in an international context, these two volumes explore the connection between Irish history and literature, in particular the Rebellion of 1798, in a more comprehensive, diverse and multi-faceted way than has often been the case in the past. The fifty-three authors bring their national and personal viewpoints as well as their critical judgements to bear on Irish literature in these stimulating articles. The contributions also deal with topics such as Gothic literature, ideology, and identity, as well as gender issues, connections with the other arts, regional Irish literature, in particular that of the city of Limerick, translations, the works of Joyce, and comparisons with the literature of other nations. The contributors are all members of IASIL (International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures). Back to the Present: Forward to the Past. Irish Writing and History since 1798 will be of interest to both literary scholars and professional historians, but also to the general student of Irish writing and Irish culture.

Biographical Note

The editors, Dr Patricia A. Lynch, Dr Joachim Fischer, and Dr Brian Coates, are all members of the Department of Languages and Cultural Studies of the University of Limerick, Ireland. Their fields of expertise lie in the literature, language and cultural aspects of Ireland, Germany, and Britain, and to the connections between these areas.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Patricia A. LYNCH, Joachim FISCHER and Brian COATES: Introduction 1798: Acts of Memory John Wilson FOSTER: Guests of the Nation Michael PARKER: Woven Figures: Seamus Heaney and Nationalist Tradition Frank MOLLOY: Thomas Campbell’s “Exile of Erin”: English Poem, Irish Reactions John F. HEALY: Seamus Heaney and the Croppies: 1798 and the Poet’s Early Political Inclinations Narrating the Past Teresa CASAL: “I did not know what to think, so I said nothing”: Narrative Politics in Castle Rackrent Douglas G. S. SIMES: Redmond Count O’Hanlon, The Irish Rapparee: William Carleton and the Problematical Past Jefferson HOLDRIDGE: “Unspeakable Home”: The Post-colonial Aesthetics of Irish Poetry from Beckett to McGuckian Silvia DIEZ FABRE: Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon? Questioning the Past Among Echoes of Literary History Elke D’HOKER: Masks and Mirrors: Anthony Blunt’s True Confessions in John Banville’s The Untouchable Christa VELTEN: “Be Faithful to the Routine Gestures, and the Bigger Thing Will Come to You: Old Themes in Fermentation in Brian Friel’s Give Me Your Answer, Do Irish Gothic Kellie A. DONOVAN: Imprisonment in Castle Rackrent: Maria Edgeworth’s Use of Gothic Conventions Mitsuko OHNO: Silenced Women/Women’s Silence: Reading into the Past Derek HAND: A Gothic Nightmare: John Banville and Irish History Images of Irish Culture Mary Helen THUENTE: The Origin and Significance of the Angel Harp Síghle Bhreathnach LYNCH: The Influence of J. M. Synge on the Art of Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry Adele DALSIMER and Vera KREILKAMP: Stepping out: Reading Rita Duffy’s Dancer Nadia ZAKI BISHAI: Further Thoughts on Irish Poetry Set to Music, with Special Reference to the Art Song in Contemporary Irish Music Lucy COLLINS: Marking Time: The Influence of Irish Traditional Music on the Poetry of Ciaran Carson Women and Ireland Margaret MAC CURTAIN: Writing Grief into Memory: Women, Language and Narrative Kathleen COSTELLO-SULLIVAN: Silence and Power in Anglo-Irish Women’s Literature Eileen FAUSET: Revaluations: The Significance of Women’s Writing in Ireland Dominique NICOLAS: The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen, or A Chronicle of a Foreshadowed Death Ann Owens WEEKES: Martyrs to Mistresses? The Mother Figure in Edna O’Brien’s Fiction Deborah COTTREAU: After Easter: Critical Reception and Belfast Notes on Contributors and Editors Index