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Liminal Borderlands in Irish Literature and Culture


Edited By Irene Gilsenan Nordin and Elin Holmsten

Liminality, if interpreted as a concern with borders and states of in-betweenness, is a widespread theme in Irish literature and culture, which is perhaps not surprising considering the colonial and postcolonial background of Ireland. The liminal, from the Latin word limen, meaning «a threshold», can be broadly defined as a transitional place of becoming. It is a borderland state of ambiguity and indeterminacy, leading those who participate in the process to new perspectives and possibilities.
This collection of essays examines the theme of liminality in Irish literature and culture against the philosophical discourse of modernity and focuses on representations of liminality in contemporary Irish literature, art and film in a variety of contexts. The book is divided into four sections. The first part deals with theoretical aspects of liminal states. Other sections focus on liminal narratives and explore drama as liminal rites of passage, while the last part examines transformative spaces in contemporary Irish women’s poetry.


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2 Images of Migration in Irish Film: Thinking Inside the Box Cheryl temple Herr 35


2 Images of Migration in Irish Film: Thinking Inside the Box Cheryl Temple Herr The past twenty years have seen a dramatic upsurge worldwide in film- making that depicts the contemporary journeys of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers as well as the immediate aftermath of their passage to a new place. Of course, migration stories have often informed popular depictions of the Irish and Irish-produced movies: in recent years, we could point to In Uncle Robert’s Footsteps (1993), Felicia’s Journey (1999), I Could Read the Sky (1999), Gangs of New York (2002), and In America (2002). Reaching back further, we find The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964) and On a Paving Stone Mounted (1978). Powerful newer additions to this body of films are David Rane’s No Man’s Land (2001), Louis Lentin’s No More Blooms (1997), and Alan Gilsenan’s Zulu 9 (2001), all of which, in considering inward migration to Ireland, have a lot in common with non- Irish-specific films such as El Norte (1984), Ni de Aquí, Ni de Allá (1987), Las Cartas de Alou (1990), Brothers in Trouble (1996), Beautiful People (1999), Dirty Pretty Things (2002), Heremakono /Waiting for Happiness (2002), Frontiéres (2002), and Spare Parts (2003). I My aim is to foreground a recurrent cinematic situation – specifically, representations of human beings as items of cargo. What happens when, having committed herself to being smuggled, the individual is placed in a closed and locked space during transport? What can we understand regarding the phenomenology of a person’s becoming...

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