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Trauma and Identity in Contemporary Irish Culture

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Edited By Melania Terrazas Gallego

The last two centuries of Irish history have seen great traumas that continue to affect Irish society. Through constructing cultural trauma, Irish society can recognize human pain and its source/s and become receptive to the idea of taking significant and responsible measures to remedy it. The intention of this volume is to show the mediating role of the literature and film scholar, the archivist, the social media professional, the historian, the musician, the artist and the poet in identifying Irish cultural trauma past and present, in illuminating Irish national identity (which is shifting so much today), in paying tribute to the memory and suffering of others, in showing how to do things with words and, thus, how concrete action might be taken.

Trauma and Identity in Contemporary Irish Culture makes a case for the value of trauma and memory studies as a means of casting new light on the meaning of Irish identity in a number of contemporary Irish cultural practices, and of illuminating present-day attitudes to the past. The critical approaches herein are of a very interdisciplinary nature, since they combine aspects of sociology, philosophy and anthropology, among other fields. This collection is intended to lead readers to reconsider the connections between trauma, Irish cultural memory, identity, famine, diaspora, gender, history, revolution, the Troubles, digital media, literature, film, music and art.

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3 Avenging the Famine: Lance Daly’s Black ’47, Genre and History

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Ruth Barton

3Avenging the Famine: Lance Daly’s Black ’47, Genre and History

abstract

This chapter discusses Lance Daly’s Famine-set film, Black ’47 (2018), as a revenge Western. I look at the critical background to visual representations of the Famine and discuss this historical event as a traumatic narrative. I then question how Daly positions his film within a culture of neoliberal hostility to victims. His solution, I argue, is to deploy the genre of the Western with its singular action hero. The central hero, Feeney (James Frecheville), thus becomes a fantasy avenger of his country’s wrongs, slaying those who have caused the deaths in his family and community.

In September 2018, a new film stormed the Irish box office, attracting such substantial attendances in its first weekend that, due to the peculiar system of counting the Republic of Ireland’s viewing figures in with those of the UK’s, it appeared at number ten in the UK box office, despite not yet being released there. Lance Daly’s Black ’47 took €392,000 in its opening weekend, the highest opening for an Irish film since John Crowley’s Brooklyn in 2015 (IFTN n. pag.). It went on to become the most successful Irish film of the year, making a total of €1,440,398 in Ireland and in doing so joining a small club of local productions, including Michael Collins (Neil Jordan, 1996), The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006) and The Guard (John...

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