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Beyond Ireland

Encounters Across Cultures

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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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Hedda Friberg-Harnesk Encounters Across Borders in a European Arena: John Banville’s Kepler and Carl-Henning Wijkmark’s Dacapo 243

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Hedda Friberg-Harnesk Encounters Across Borders in a European Arena: John Banville’s Kepler and Carl-Henning Wijkmark’s Dacapo At certain ‘pivotal moments’ in history, says Mark C. Taylor in The Moment of Complexity, ‘[a]pparently unrelated developments, which had been gradually unfolding for years, suddenly converge’ and trigger changes that are both ‘disruptive’ and ‘creative’.1 Although, according to Taylor, trans- formative moments ‘can never be defined with precision’, he does identify the collapse of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 as one such moment.2 That particular moment is the one re-imagined in Swedish novelist Carl- Henning Wijkmark’s Dacapo (1994),3 one of the two European novels explored below. In the other novel, John Banville’s Kepler (1981),4 an earlier moment in European history, the year 1600, is pivotal. In what follows, I will examine encounters across cultural borderlines in these two texts, at these moments. As the protagonists of the two novels move in central European spaces, they engage in encounters across various border-lines – some primarily disruptive, others energizing. According to Taylor, moments occur not only in time, but in space, and space can be negotiated through grids as well as webs. A grid-based conception of the world seems to of fer stability ‘by simplifying complex relations and situations,’ by imposing 1 Mark C. Taylor, The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001). 2 ibid., 19–20. 3 Carl-Henning Wijkmark, Dacapo. 1994 (Stockholm: Norstedts Bokförlaget Pan, 1997). 4 John Banville, The Revolutions Trilogy...

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