A Reconsideration of Home, Identity and Belonging
Departure from Ireland has long occupied a contradictory position in Irish national discourse, alternately viewed as exile or betrayal. This book analyses how departure, as well as notions of home, identity and return, is articulated in the narratives of three members of the Irish diaspora community in Argentina: John Brabazon’s journal The Customs and Habits of the Country of Buenos Ayres from the year 1845 by John Brabazon and His Own Adventures; William Bulfin’s series of sketches for The Southern Cross newspaper, later published as Tales of the Pampas (1900) and Rambles in Eirinn (1907); and Kathleen Nevin’s fictional memoir, You’ll Never Go Back (1946). The book examines the extent to which each writer upholds or contests hegemonic constructions of Irishness, as well as exploring how they negotiate the dual identity of emigrant and potential returnee. Each of the three writers, to varying degrees, challenges the orthodox positionings of the Irish diaspora subject as backward-looking and the Irish emigrant as bound to the national territory. Furthermore, they construct multiple subject positions and contradictory notions of Irishness: national, essentialist and homogeneous versus transnational, diverse and plural. Ultimately, their writings contribute to a rich and nuanced reimagining of the Irish emigrant identity.
Chapter 4: William Bulfin: Extending the Boundaries of Irishness
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William Bulfin: Extending the Boundaries of Irishness
‘Delightful is the land beyond all dreams, Fairer than aught thine eyes have ever seen. There all the year the fruit is on the tree, And all the year the bloom is on the flower’.1
‘Perhaps there is no phenomenon so marked as the magnetism, strong as a lover’s passion, which ever draws the exiled Irishman home’.2
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