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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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Self-Contradiction in a Small Place: Anne Devlin’s ‘Other at the Edge of Life’ Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem 291


Self-Contradiction in a Small Place: Anne Devlin’s ‘Other at the Edge of Life’ Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem Living here in an English colony, you’re not Irish, and there’s no sense pretending you are. —Medbh McGuckian, interview Darkness, for eternity, is not survival. —Frank McGuinness, Observe the Sons of Ulster In her theatrical and cinematic writing, Northern Irish author Anne Devlin dramatises the effects of Ireland’s partition on the experience of ‘Irish- ness’ for those most affected by that geopolitical incident: the residents of Northern Ireland. I trace the issue through four major works: ‘Naming the Names’ (1981, a short story adapted as a film), the dramas Ourselves Alone (1985) and After Easter (1994), and the original screenplay, The Long March (1984). Devlin was born in Belfast in 1951 and came of age with the onset of the Troubles. Her work has occupied an important place in the cultural life of Northern Ireland since the early 1980s. Devlin’s life is bound up ineradicably with the political history of Northern Ireland, a link is perhaps more profound than otherwise because she comes from a politi- cal family. As a former Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic and Labour Party, her father, Paddy Devlin, was a well-known figure in Belfast.1 Devlin thus grew up truly surrounded by Northern Irish politics 1 The SDLP is the nationalist group that has long existed in a highly contentious relation- ship with the other Irish nationalist parties, particularly Sinn Fein. The conflict between Labour and Sinn...

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