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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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Anders Olsson Walk the Line: Experience and Interpretation in Colm Tóibín’s Bad Blood 291


Anders Olsson Walk the Line: Experience and Interpretation in Colm Tóibín’s Bad Blood That was the worst thing, he said, suddenly remembering how bad it was going to be.1 Nacimos arreglando, vivimos arreglando, y por fin, moriremos sin haber arreglado nada.2 In his essay ‘History, Literature, and Geography’, Edward Said recognizes ‘the tendency to see history and society as working according to deter- ministic laws of economics, sociology, or even of universal philosophy’.3 To find a means to avoid this tendency, he reminds us of philology, which he explains as ‘the discipline of uncovering beneath the surface of words the life of a society which is embedded there by the great writer’s art’.4 In philology, history and literature are mediated by the critical consciousness of the individual reader and critic.5 To this connection of history and literature in philology, Said adds, with Raymond Williams, geography or geographies as mobile spaces for an interpretation beyond deterministic 1 Colm Tóibín, Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border (London: Vintage, 1994), 23. 2 ibid., 123. ‘We were born putting things in order, we lived putting things in order, and in the end, we will die without having put anything in order.’ 3 Edward Said, Ref lections on Exile and Other Literary and Cultural Essays (Granta Publications, 2001), 466. 4 ibid., 456. 5 ibid., 457. 292 Anders Olsson laws.6 Such a connection of history, literature, and geography provides multidimensionality. The adoption of an interpretative perspective along those lines demands...

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