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New Voices, Inherited Lines

Literary and Cultural Representations of the Irish Family


Edited By Yvonne O'Keeffe and Claudia Reese

Irish writers have always been fascinated by the family, sometimes depicting it as a traditional space under threat from external influences, sometimes highlighting the dangers lurking within. More recently, families have been represented as a type of safe haven from a bewildering postmodern world. At the heart of these constructions are questions of power and agency, as well as issues of class, gender, ethnicities and sexualities.
This collection of essays explores literary and cultural representations of the Irish family, questioning the validity of traditional familial structures as well as exploring newer versions of the Irish family emerging in more recent cultural representations. In addition to redefinitions of the nuclear family, the book also considers aspects of family constructions in Irish nationalist discourse, such as the symbolic use of the family and the interaction and conflict between private and public roles. The works and authors discussed range from Famine fiction, Samuel Beckett, Mary Lavin and John McGahern to Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín and Hugo Hamilton.


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This collection of scholarly essays stems from the fruits of the New Voices: Inherited Lines conference held in the University of Limerick in the summer of 2010. The editors would like to thank all of the contributors for their cooperation and patience during the exciting process, from the day of the New Voices conference to the completion of this volume. We also thank Christabel Scaife and Eamon Maher at Peter Lang for all their help and guidance throughout the publication. We would also like to express our gratitude to the anonymous peer reviewers who undertook their work so diligently. Many thanks also to Lawrence Cleary at the University of Limerick for his invaluable editorial support and expertise. A special word of thanks to David Lilburn for specifically designing an image for us for the New Voices: Inherited Lines conference which features on the cover of this volume. The publication would not have been possible without the support of our many conference sponsors for which we are extremely grateful, namely, the Ulster Bank Enablement Fund; University of Limerick Foundation; Arts Of fice – University of Limerick; School of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication – University of Limerick; Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – University of Limerick; Graduate School – University of Limerick; Campus Life Services – University of Limerick; Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society; Limerick City Council Arts Of fice; Women’s Studies – University of Limerick; History of Family Project – University of Limerick; Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel; Centre for Irish-German Studies – University...

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