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No Country for Old Men

Fresh Perspectives on Irish Literature


Edited By Paddy Lyons and Alison O'Malley-Younger

Once a country of emigration and diaspora, in the 1990s Ireland began to attract immigration from other parts of the world: a new citizenry. By the first decade of the twenty-first century, the ratio between GDP and population placed Ireland among the wealthiest nations in the world. The Peace Agreements of the mid-1990s and the advent of power-sharing in Northern Ireland have enabled Ireland’s story to change still further. No longer locked into troubles from the past, the Celtic Tiger can now leap in new directions.
These shifts in culture have given Irish literature the opportunity to look afresh at its own past and, thereby, new perspectives have also opened for Irish Studies. The contributors to this volume explore these new openings; the essays examine writings from both now and the past in the new frames afforded by new times.


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Britta Olinder Art and the Artist in Deirdre Madden’s Fiction 103


Art and the Artist in Deirdre Madden’s Fiction Britta Olinder The visual world as perceived through the eyes of the writer is very impor- tant in Deirdre Madden’s fiction. Not only landscapes, the differences between them in different parts of Europe, and the varying apprecia- tions of them by her characters, but also houses, inside and out, people’s looks and clothing, along with their visual assessment of each other, play a prominent role in her novels. If this answers the wider definition of the concept of ut pictura poesis, understood as the ability of the writer to make her reader see the object as painted, what I am going to focus on here is rather the narrower one of ekphrasis or Madden’s translation of paintings into words, with the extension of what she says about painters, their aims and struggles to achieve them. It is particularly in three of her novels that art is central, Remembering Light and Stone (1992), Nothing is Black (1994) and Authenticity (2002). The first of these is set mainly in Italy. The main character and first person narrator, Aisling, had come south to escape violence and death which is what she associates with the north. She settles in a hill village, appreciat- ing the opportunities to go to Rome, to Siena and Florence to experience painting and architecture as often as she can afford it. She also declares: ‘I used to drive over to Assisi to see S.Chiara and the Basilica of S. Francesco ... I...

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