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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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Britta Olinder Cross-Cultural Encounters and Clashes in John Hewitt’s Work 267


Britta Olinder Cross-Cultural Encounters and Clashes in John Hewitt’s Work Few writers can of fer as many aspects of cross-culturality as John Hewitt. Born in a Methodist family of Planter origin, he felt a strong attraction to Irish rites, myths and songs. A Belfast man, he tried rural labours and found himself wanting. A museum man and art critic by profession, what he liked best was writing poetry. An Ulsterman, he appreciated his fifteen years in England. Firmly rooted in the North of Ireland, he travelled widely. In this essay my aim is to show how this cross-culturality is ref lected in his poetry and autobiographical prose; first – since they bring out so clearly the very idea of a cross-cultural encounter – the poems of his joint Planter- Gael tour with John Montague from the opposite camp; then in describing childhood encounters with ‘the other’, followed by his play of hostility and reconciliation, ‘The Bloody Brae’; succeeded by his attempts to bridge the opposition between urban and rural life. With his moving to Coventry, he views his province from the outside and his perspectives widen further with his experience of other countries, other cultures. Culture Since there are a great many definitions of the word ‘culture’ with dif ferent aspects emphasized in dif ferent periods, the meaning of it here will simply be customs, values, history, stories and songs as well as ways of thinking shared by groups in society, nationally or internationally. These groups can stand in opposition to one...

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