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Beyond Ireland

Encounters Across Cultures


Edited By Hedda Friberg-Harnesk, Gerald Porter and Joakim Wrethed

This collection looks beyond Ireland metaphorically as well as geographically, 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 excentric one. The focus is on outsiders, ranging from Colm Tóibín’s subversion of establishment norms to Paul Muldoon’s immersion in Jewish discourse to John Banville’s extensions of the parameters of Irishness to the Lass of Aughrim finding a new role through her exclusion from the domestic hearth. The contributors to the volume work mainly with poetry and prose fiction, but genres such as autobiography, the essay and song lyrics are also represented.
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.


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Billy Gray ‘Less like marching, more like meditation’: Zen Buddhism, Haiku, and the Theme of Tolerance in the Work of Chris Arthur 31


Billy Gray ‘Less like marching, more like meditation’: Zen Buddhism, Haiku, and the Theme of Tolerance in the Work of Chris Arthur One of the most interesting and impressive texts published with the field of Irish studies, post-millennium, is Joseph Lennon’s Irish Orientalism (2004). Although clearly inf luenced by Edward Said’s groundbreaking Orientalism, and the latter’s contention that Western scholarship invented the Orient from its own political and psychological needs to create a dehumanized ‘Other’, Lennon’s text is more obviously indebted to the theoretical per- spectives of the practical philosopher and semiotician Charles Saunders Peirce.1 By enlarging upon Peirce’s doctrine of synechism – the idea that elements in culture continue over time and are transmitted through the generations – Lennon takes issue with those scholars who have refused to acknowledge Irish Orientalism as constituting even a peripheral dis- course within Irish literature and culture. Claiming that Irish Orientalism has a distinct history which dif fers significantly from other European Orientalist projects, Lennon’s text attempts to trace the semiotic history, as well as the cultural contexts and ramifications, of Ireland’s Oriental imaginings. Through a detailed examination of origin legends, philology, antiquarianism, historiography and literature, Lennon explains how a tra- dition of Irish contact, both real and imagined, with what is commonly termed ‘the Orient’, has existed from the ninth century up to the present day. Claiming that ‘textual links between Celtic and Oriental cultures existed independently in native Irish and Gaelic culture as far back as Irish 1 Charles Saunders Peirce, The Philosophy...

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