Ireland and the World of the 1950s
Terence Brown Afterword
Like Thomas Kilroy – whose essay is the first in a series in this book that opens fascinating windows on a decade which has recently begun to attract the interest of scholarship here in Ireland – I too was a child of the Second World War. And I remember as I was growing up how my parents and their friends would often speak of ‘before the war’, ‘during the war’, ‘after the war’, bearing witness in the habits of daily speech to the fact that their sense of reality had been defined by the cataclysm they had come through. My own birth in Janaury 1944 meant that I came to consciousness and spent my childhood and teen years during the period covered in this volume. ‘After the war the world began to see itself as having survived, obliged to confront what humanity now suspected about itself (as Beckett’s bleak drama, mov- ingly addressed here by Nicholas Grene, insisted it must do), but equally obliged to ‘go on’. And this book in its varying ways tells us interesting things about those ‘goings on’, from the empirically-minded verse-makers of the Movement poets in Engand, to Science Fiction in America. What was something of a shock to me, however, as I read this collec- tion, was how little I had known about any of these when they were actually taking place, although when the decade ended I had reached the advanced age of 16 and was already an A-level student of English literature at the...
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