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John Banville

Art and Authenticity

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Eoghan Smith

This study explores the fiction of John Banville within a variety of cultural, political, ethical and philosophical contexts. Through thematic readings of the novels, Eoghan Smith examines the complexity of Banville’s view of the artwork and explores the novelist’s attraction and resistance to forms of authenticity, whether aesthetic, existential or ideological.
Emphasizing in particular the influence of Banville’s major Irish modernist precursor, Samuel Beckett, this book places the local elements of his writing alongside his wide-ranging literary and philosophical interests. Highlighting the evolving nature of Banville’s engagement with varieties of authenticity, it explores the art of failure and the failure of art, the power and politics of the contemporary imagination, and the ways in which this important contemporary writer continues to redefine the boundaries of Irish fiction.

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Acocella, Joan 167 Adorno, Theodor 7, 8, 17–18, 26, 38, 142, 163 alienation 1, 86, 104, 109, 113, 135, 168 Altieri, Charles 9 artificiality 38, 71, 84, 87–8, 97, 99–100, 171–2 artist-figure 35, 38, 80, 96, 117, 120, 126, 145, 155, 172 artistic endurance 21, 27–8, 98–101, 114, 116, 133, 152–3, 174 author-god 100–1, 116, 147, 155–6, 164, 172 autonomy of the self 16, 29, 79, 104, 105, 117 bad faith see deception Badiou, Alain 9, 159 Beckett, Samuel 19, 20, 42, 68, 154, 169 and ethics 84, 104–7 and failure 10–12, 20, 57, 59, 64, 66, 81 and identity 102–6, 141 and language 10, 20, 75, 103–5, 140 and national identity 11–12, 58–9, 62, 73–8 and philosophy 2, 10, 104 and political disengagement 62, 74–8 and silence 24, 26, 75, 103, 107–8, 139, 142, 156 and suicide 24, 139, 142 Benjamin, Walter 108 Berensmeyer, Ingo 10, 72–3 Big House genre 29, 31–2, 35, 37, 39, 43–4, 50, 52 Blunt, Anthony 23, 120–3, 128, 130–1 body, the 91, 112, 153–4, 158, 167, 170–1 degeneration of 11, 67, 150–1, 154 Burgstaller, Susanne 33 Camus, Albert 15–16, 18, 19, 23, 83, 87, 90, 95, 140–1 Carter, Miranda 122–3 classical inf luences 61, 66, 110, 146–7, 156–7 see also Greco-Roman gods Cleary, Joe 13, 79, 81 Connor, Steven 24 Corcoran, Neil 31...

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