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Festschrift for Tadhg Foley

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Edited By Maureen O'Connor

This Festschrift for Professor Tadhg Foley of the National University of Ireland, Galway, who retired in 2009, gathers together international contributors in the fields of poetry, politics and academia to honour this great man’s life and work. Professor Foley has not only been central in the development of Irish Studies and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies in Ireland and in the United States, but he has also enjoyed a long career as convivial host in his thatched cottage in Salthill, Galway. He remains one of the most popular and beloved figures in Irish academia. Among the eminent scholars included in the volume are Terry Eagleton, Robert Young, Penny Boumelha, David Lloyd, Luke Gibbons, Joep Leerssen and Maud Ellmann. The book is further enriched by poets Bernard O’Donoghue, Louis de Paor, Rita Ann Higgins, Michael D. Higgins and Tom Duddy. This collection is a rare and distinctive gathering of true and resonant voices, offering a unique portrait of late twentieth-century Irish literary and academic culture and its interplay with the United States.

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Revolution and Remembrance Terry Eagleton 265

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Revolution and Remembrance Terry Eagleton One of the more alarming claims of late modernity is that it is oblivion that is natural to us, not remembrance. For Freud, remembering is simply forgetting to forget. Modernity unfolds by a ceaseless, pathological disa- vowal of the past, a persistent Oedipal revolt in which the present claims to be entirely self-authoring, sprung whole and entire from its own loins, as apparently innocent of antecedents as the so-called virgin territories which greeted the imperial invaders. Modernity is a state of perpetual amnesia, as a hubristic, Faustian desire passes all the way through its various contingent objects, contrasts them disdainfully with its own sublime infinity, spurns them as worthless, erases them from memory, and ends up rejoining the only love object it thinks worth having (namely, itself ). Everything that happened up to ten minutes ago is consigned to the trash can of history by an epoch foolishly proud of its bang up-to-dateness – one which even names itself after that up-to-dateness (‘modernity’), which is almost as stupid as calling yourself Fatso. Because of course all epochs are up-to-date. Classical antiquity, one presumes, didn’t feel in the least geriatric. The Middle Ages didn’t know that they were in the middle of anything, any more than the Dark Ages were conscious of stumbling around searching for the light switch. It is true that we always know more than the past knew, simply because we know something of its after-effects. There is a sense in which we understand a...

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