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Affecting Irishness

Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation


Edited By James P. Byrne, Padraig Kirwan and Michael O'Sullivan

This collection of new essays addresses a key debate in Irish studies. While it is important that new research endeavours to accommodate the new and powerful manifestations of Irishness that are evident today in our globalised economy, these considerations are often overlooked. The writers in this book seek to reconcile the established critical perspectives of Irish studies with a forward-looking critical momentum that incorporates the realities of globalisation and economic migration.
The book initiates this vital discussion by bringing together a series of provocative and thoughtful essays, from both renowned and rising international scholars, on the vicissitudes of cultural identity in a post-modern, post-colonial and post-national Ireland. By including work by leading scholars in the fields of film studies, migration and Diaspora studies, travel literature and gender studies, this collection offers a thorough twenty-first-century interrogation of Irishness and provides a timely fusion of international perspectives on Irish cultural identity.


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Muldoon’s Palimpsestic Irishness Florence Schneider 247


Muldoon’s Palimpsestic Irishness Florence Schneider Economic and cultural globalisation, noticeable financial changes in Ire- land, new political responsibilities with EU membership, postcolonial read- ings of the Irish past and present – all these elements change the perception of Irishness. Change and interaction are precisely where Fintan O’Toole situates Irishness, in The Ex-Isle of Erin for example. He shows how the British and the Irish1 now lead similar lives, implying a necessary and new definition of Irishness. He concludes that ‘Britishness and Irishness have become political identities only’ emphasising that globalisation ‘is having a profound effect on Irish culture.’2 Yet, even if it seems true that the differ- ence with Britishness is less and less evident, and that globalisation reigns supreme, acknowledging ‘mutual effects’ and the fact that ‘each culture also makes its own contribution to the shape of global forces’ implies a lingering difference that is both affecting globalisation and is affected by it. Paul Muldoon’s poetry is a means to see how Irishness is both some- thing changing and definite. Muldoon was born to a Catholic family, in Northern Ireland, and has been living in America for almost twenty years; he is married to an American novelist. Therefore, he concentrates the ques- tions about identity, about what it is to be Irish. Since New Weather, his first volume of poetry, published in 1973, up to his latest books or his transla- tions, his poems have dealt with the links between the singularity and the collective, exploring therefore the role of...

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