Encounters Across Cultures
Edited By Hedda Friberg-Harnesk, Gerald Porter and Joakim Wrethed
The issues addressed all look ‘beyond Ireland’. In considering the creative frictions and fictions that result from the dissolving of old loyalties, these essays examine contested concepts such as ‘the nation’, and attempt to shed light on global forces that demand cultural re-definitions and transformations. The world order that let loose the Celtic Tiger has brought, together with a diversified Ireland, new forms of dependence. It is one of the main aims of this book to explore how Irish writers have regarded this diversification and contested that dependence.
Introduction In the context of modern Ireland it has become increasingly unsustainable to talk about absolutes like tradition and authenticity. The title of this col- lection is to be read metaphorically, not geographically: it does not exclude intra-Irish subjects. It is not intended to suggest another study of the Irish diaspora or a celebration of multiculturalism – although aspects of these are naturally to be found here – but rather to suggest the creative frictions and fictions that result from the dissolving of old loyalties, moving beyond nationalism towards the culturally diverse, beyond a bilingual Ireland to a polyvocal one, beyond the imagined community towards a virtual one, beyond a territorial Ireland to an ex-centric one. To a large extent, therefore, this is a volume of outsiders, from Colm Tóibín’s deliberate resistance to establishment norms, to Paul Muldoon saturating himself in Jewish dis- course, to John Banville’s extensions of the parameters of Irishness, and to the lass of Aughrim finding a new role through her exclusion from the domestic hearth. Beyond nationalism towards the culturally diverse One of the prime tasks of any study that professes to go ‘beyond Ireland’ is, of course, to examine the constructed and contested idea of nation itself, and many of the essays here historicize the nature of that concept. Such notions are rooted in the legacy of colonialism, which Ronald Paul examines in his study of Engels’ uncompleted history of Ireland. The critic and essayist Chris Arthur, whose ‘Irish Orientalism’ is studied here by...
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