Revolution and Evolution
Edited By John Strachan and Alison O'Malley-Younger
The book also examines change in the culture of the island of Ireland, from the development of the Irish historical novel in the nineteenth century, to ecology in contemporary Irish women’s poetry, to the present state of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Contemporary Irish authors examined include Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor and Martin McDonagh.
‘Oh Horrible! An Irish Man’: Macklin, Friel and the Politics of Mimicry ALISON O’MALLEY-YOUNGER 37
‘Oh Horrible! An Irish Man’: Macklin, Friel and the Politics of Mimicry Alison O’Malley-Younger IRISH, THE: A mythical folk. There is no single bunch of people called the Irish. Instead there are the Gaelic-Irish, Norman Irish, Anglo-Irish, Scots Irish, Danish-Irish, and nowadays a sprinkling of Chinese-Irish too. — Terry Eagleton, 2002 Nation or Notion? In his tongue-in-cheek dictionary The Truth About The Irish (2002), Terry Eagleton raises a highly pertinent and valid question relating to current debates on identity politics and postcolonialism in Ireland: ‘what (if it is anything) is “Irishness”?’ Is it possible to posit a cultural or national identity for a nation which Eagleton describes as a ‘mythical memory … an imaginary terrain, a museum, a fantasy, a consoling fiction, a country of the mind’? (Eagleton, 2002: 106) Northern Ireland, again according to Eagleton, is: The hottest Irish potato of all. Even calling it Northern Ireland is politically debat- able. Unionists would be happy enough with the name, but nationalists would prefer something like, ‘the six counties’. Don’t talk to Unionists about ‘Britain and Northern Ireland’, since for them Northern Ireland is part of Britain. Similarly don’t talk to Irish Nationalists about the ‘mainland’, meaning Britain, since for them Ireland is the ‘mainland’. (Eagleton, 2002: 128) 38 Alison O’Malley-Younger How, then, does one begin to apply a postcolonial theory to a ‘mythical memory’, or even more problematically to ‘the hottest Irish potato of all’, the much-debated North, wherein what can euphemistically be described as ‘differences of opinion’ are endemic...
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