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Redefinitions of Irish Identity

A Postnationalist Approach


Edited By Irene Gilsenan Nordin and Carmen Zamorano Llena

Recently, the issue of postnationalism has encouraged intense debate, which has been reflected in the publication of numerous books and articles in various fields of study, including politics, history, philosophy and anthropology. However, the work produced in Irish literary criticism has been much sparser. This collection of essays aims to fill this gap and provide new insights into the debate on postnationalism in Ireland from the perspective of narrative writing. The book collects thirteen essays by academics from various countries, including Ireland, the United States and Sweden. It analyses the concepts of the postnational and the postnationalist in relation to globalisation, as well as the debate that postnationalist discourse has opened in various fields of knowledge, and its definitions and implications in the contemporary Irish historical and literary context. The literary forms under consideration include essay writing, drama, fiction, autobiography, film and poetry. The authors whose work is analysed here include Dermot Bolger, Hubert Butler, Ciaran Carson, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Marie Jones, Derek Mahon, Frank McGuinness, Robert McLiam Wilson, Conor McPherson, Sinéad Morrissey, Nuala O’Faolain and David Wheatley.


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Paula Murphy ‘Scattering us like seed’: Dermot Bolger’s postnationalist Ireland 181


Paula Murphy ‘Scattering us like seed’: Dermot Bolger’s postnationalist Ireland Dermot Bolger is one of the most important writers to emerge from Ireland in the last two decades. He was born in Finglas in 1958, and in 1979, at the age of eighteen, he formed the Raven Arts Press with fellow-Dublin writer Michael O’Loughlin. The press published authors like Paul Durcan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Michael Hartnett, Sebastian Barry, Colm Tóibín, Roddy Doyle and Fintan O’Toole, writers who were to become amongst the most significant Irish voices of their generation. Ferdia MacAnna describes the important role that Raven Arts Press played in publishing writing that addressed the social problems of the time, such as emigration, unemploy- ment and drug abuse. In the 1960s, he states, ‘rural life was romanticised, mythologised or idealised to the point where even sex was nationalised. W.B. Yeats’s infatuation for Maud Gonne was seen purely as an act of patriotism with no hint of lust attached. It was like living inside a fossil’ (MacAnna 1991: 15). Raven Arts Press began to redress the rural focus of Irish writing, and the issues with which it dealt. In 1992, New Island Books, co-founded by Bolger, who also acts as the executive editor, continued to provide a forum for these issues. He also contributed to this literary output himself, and at the time of writing, he has published nine novels, twelve plays and seven collections of poetry, between 1980 and 2005, along with many edited collections of writing...

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