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Beyond Ireland

Encounters Across Cultures

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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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Róisín Keys ‘Why is a gramophone like a parrot?’: Intermediality and (Inter)cultural Identity in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa 101

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Róisín Keys ‘Why is a gramophone like a parrot?’: Intermediality and (Inter)cultural Identity in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa I Why is a gramophone like a parrot? This is a line from Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, a play about a community in transition as its traditions come face to face with encroaching modernity. Set in Friel’s fictional village of Ballybeg, Lughnasa is structured through the framing narrations of the character Michael as he recalls events from his childhood during the 1936 Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa. With the pagan Lughnasa celebra- tions kept for the most part in the background – of fstage in ‘the back hills’ beyond Ballybeg – and indicated only through dialogue and Michael’s nar- rations, the foreground is dominated by various markers of modernity that impact to varying degrees on the lives of Michael’s mother and her four sisters. Among the harbingers of modernity we can pick out the arrival of mechanized production (the new knitting factory) and a burgeoning of popular and ‘mass’ media technologies (pulp fiction, photography, pho- nograph technology, cinema, and wireless radio). Coupled with these technological advancements is an increase in migrations, depicted through plot – with the return of Uncle Jack from Africa and the visits of Michael’s estranged father, Gerry Evans – and through dialogue and narration, where details of expatriated friends and the tragic fate of Aunt Rose and Aunt Agnes on the streets of London are revealed. In this climate of technologi- cal development and human movement,...

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