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No Country for Old Men

Fresh Perspectives on Irish Literature

Series:

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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Caroline Magennis Interview with Glenn Patterson 115

Extract

Interview with Glenn Patterson Caroline Magennis Caroline Magennis: Within your fiction and your journalistic writ- ing collected in Lapsed Protestant you represent non-traditional Northern Irish men. Do you feel this resistance is represented in the aesthetic pres- entation of both yourself and the characters you portray? glenn patterson: I suppose it goes across all cultures, that messing around with the boundaries of sexuality, particularly in one’s teens. I don’t know if it’s coded into you, the idea of provocation. I was a very nervous teenager; I think there was always that tension between standing out and wanting to separate yourself from the caste. There was a particular danger of being outside the group in Northern Ireland in Belfast in the 1970s. It was a very real danger for many people that if you didn’t fit in there was the prospect that you would fit in very badly. I wouldn’t like to speculate on how many people fell foul of paramilitaries over the years for no other reason that they looked funny. And yet despite the anxiety that need to stand out, to forge an individual identity is strong. So, you start to do things, you tie your tie a different way, you wear your trou- sers tighter, you do things that signal you are an individual. At a certain point I became more interested in not belonging than belonging, or at least choosing who I aligned myself with people. The Glenda incident1 was an interesting time for me because I...

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