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Irish Modernism

Origins, Contexts, Publics


Edited By Edwina Keown and Carol Taaffe

This is the first interdisciplinary volume to present a sustained examination of the emergence, reception and legacy of modernism in Ireland. Engaging with the ongoing re-evaluation of regional and national modernisms, the essays collected here reveal both the importance of modernism to Ireland, and that of Ireland to modernism. Central concerns of the book include definitions of and critical contexts for an Irish modernism, issues of production, reception and the marketplace, new dialogues between literature and the visual arts in Ireland, modernism and Catholicism, and Irish modernism’s relationship with European and Anglo-American modernism. With contributions from established and emerging scholars in both Irish Studies and Modernist Studies, this collection introduces fresh perspectives on modern Irish culture that reflect new understandings of the contradictory and contested nature of modernism itself.


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Acknowledgements vii Edwina Keown and Carol Taaffe Introduction: Ireland and Modernism 1 Part I Irish Modernism: Origins and Contexts Jean-Michel Rabaté Dublin, 1913: Irish Modernism and International Modernism 9 Jim Shanahan ‘Vivid Irish History’: Frank Mathew’s The Wood of the Brambles and the Prehistory of Irish Modernist Fiction 31 Anne Markey Modernism, Maunsel and the Irish Short Story 47 Part II Border Crossings: Ireland and Europe Michael McAteer Expressionism, Ireland and the First World War: Yeats, O’Casey, McGuinness 65 Robert Baines Seeing through the Mask: Valery Larbaud’s ‘James Joyce’ and the Problem of Irish Modernism 81 Karen E. Brown Thomas MacGreevy and Irish Modernism: Between Word and Image 95 Eamonn Hughes Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 111 Part III Catholic Modernism in Ireland Rhiannon Moss Thomas MacGreevy, T.S. Eliot and Catholic Modernism in Ireland 131 Jennika Baines A Rock and a Hard Place: Sweeny as Sisyphus and Job in Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds 145 James Matthew Wilson Late Modernism and the Marketplace in Denis Devlin’s The Heavenly Foreigner 159 Part IV Evolving Irish Modernism: Literature, Visual Arts, Architecture Róisín Kennedy Experimentalism or Mere Chaos? The White Stag Group and the Reception of Subjective Art in Ireland 179 Ellen Rowley Transitional Modernism: The Case of 1950s Church Architecture in Dublin 195 Edwina Keown New Horizons: Irish Aviation, Lemass and Deferred Anglo-Irish Modernism in Elizabeth Bowen’s A World of Love 217 Notes on Contributors 237 Index 241

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