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Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory

Transitions and Transformations

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Edited By Marguerite Corporaal, Christopher Cusack and Ruud van den Beuken

Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory presents the latest research from Irish studies scholars across a variety of disciplines, including history, literature, theatre, photography and folklore, and generates new and challenging insights into the dynamics of cultural remembrance in Irish society. Featuring contributions by leading researchers in the field such as Guy Beiner, Graham Dawson and Emilie Pine, this collection demonstrates how the examination of Irish cultural legacies can illuminate our understanding of processes of identity formation, heritage policies, canonization, musealization and the transgenerational and transcultural inflections of the past. Investigating topics such as trauma, contested politics and commemorative practices, and exploring recent theoretical developments, the volume offers an interdisciplinary overview of the recent cross-fertilization between memory studies and Irish studies.
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8 Memory, Public Space and the Body in Ireland: Locating and Negotiating the Asylum in Edna O’Brien’s Short Fiction (Niamh NicGhabhann)

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NIAMH NICGHABHANN

8 Memory, Public Space and the Body in Ireland: Locating and Negotiating the Asylum in Edna O’Brien’s Short Fiction

Throughout the many discourses that engage with spatial experience, the concepts of place and memory are continually interwoven, forming the warp and weft of how the world is considered to be known and experienced.1 Landscapes, whether urban, suburban or rural, are negotiated and inhabited according to inherited ideas of ownership, status and association. The names given to places or areas, both formal and informal, refer in a particular way to specific meanings associated with place, altered as they may be through the accretions of time and the processes of translation and interpretation.2 Memorials and other commemorative artworks, as well as the names given to streets and notable public buildings, bridges, or amenities such as parks or sporting grounds, impact everyday spatial experience through their reference to particular historical narratives or individuals. Moreover, they form part of the visual and spatial language used by people to negotiate the landscape, becoming part of the weave of everyday life, and reinterpreted and used in multiple ways.3 The relationship between ← 171 | 172 → memory and specific places has been the subject of sustained scholarly attention within Irish Studies scholarship, with many scholars focusing on the resonance and relevance of individual monuments, places or buildings that function as sites of memory due to their particular associations.4 This essay shifts attention from individual monuments or sites to the negotiation...

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