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Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory

Transitions and Transformations


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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11 From Restoration to Reinscription: The Great Famine in Irish North-American Fiction, 1847–1921 (Marguérite Corporaal / Christopher Cusack / Lindsay Janssen)


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11 From Restoration to Reinscription: The Great Famine in Irish North-American Fiction, 1847–1921

‘The Emigrant Ship’, an anonymous sketch that was republished in The Literary Garland in November 1850 and that had originally been written for a Protestant orphan bazaar raising funds to aid Irish children who had lost their parents on the transatlantic passage, emphasizes the severe despondency of the emigrants on deck who utter ‘a wailing cry […] so sad and plaintive’ when they ‘take a last look of their native land’.1 Describing the fate of those Irish children who sought to escape imminent starvation and destitution during Ireland’s Great Famine, the story, as a vehicle of transcultural memory, also bears witness to the transportability of recollection from one community to another, and raises questions like: how do recollections change when they are transported to other geographical and cultural spaces – for example through migration? Can we speak of a specific diasporic development of the cultural memories that are connected to the former homeland? Andreas Huyssen has argued in favour of a more thorough examination of ‘the relationship between diasporic memory and the memory formations of the national culture within which a given diaspora may be embedded’.2 More recently, Aleida Assmann and Sebastian Conrad have similary proposed a transnational approach towards investigating ← 233 | 234 → the dynamics of memory, as ‘migrants carry their heritage, memories and traumas with them’ which ‘are transferred and brought into...

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