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Irish Literature and the First World War

Culture, Identity and Memory

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Terry Phillips

This book analyses poetry and prose written by combatant and non-combatant Irish writers during the First World War, focusing on key works influenced by Irish, English and European literary traditions. It highlights the complex positions adopted by writers in relation to the international conflict and to Irish debates about nationhood, which resist reduction to the simple binaries of Unionist/pro-war and Nationalist/anti-war. The book goes on to discuss the literature of the decades following the war, looking at how the conflict was remembered in the two parts of the now divided island, both by individuals and collectively, and investigating the dynamic interrelationship between personal recollection and public memory. In conclusion, the author discusses contemporary literature about the war, which often examines family memory as well as collective memory, and explores its role in the narrative of nationhood, both north and south of the border.

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Abbey Theatre 72, 139, 151–6, 268 Aldington, Richard 152, 178, 181, 241 amnesia see memory ‘Black and Tan’ 183 Anglo-Irish ascendancy 139 families 92, 120, 124, 151 writers 4, 5, 121 Anglo-Irish War 151, 164, 168 Antrim 121, 124 Armagh 9, 20, 232 Armistice Day 149–50, 188, 199–201, 204 atonement, doctrine of 84–5, 107–9, 266 atrocities, stories of 34, 46, Australia 2, 4, 56, 63, 173, 252, 260 Bachelor’s Walk, shootings at 71 Balkans 23, 43, 92, 200, 210 Barry, Sebastian 13, 246–55, 261, 268, 270 A Long Long Way 145, 247–55, 265, 268 The Steward of Christendom 145, 246–8 The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty 245 battlefields, World War One descriptions 31, 54, 61, 120, 170, 174, 189 comparison with legendary 22, 33 eerie beauty 179–80 tourism 217 Belfast 73, 76, 238 post-war 193, 195–7, 200–2 in recent writing 211, 223, 226, 229, 230 Belgium 7, 23, 24, 35, 46, 193 Benedict XV, Pope 158 bereavement 88, 89, 90, 92, 111, 190, 267 Binyon, Laurence 89 Birmingham, George A. A Padre in France 29 Gossamer 66–9, 119 Bolger, Dermot, Walking the Road 255–60, 261 Boyce, D.G. 9, 129, 187–8, 206 Boyne, Battle of 205, 230–34 Brearton, Fran 3, 5, 48, 86, 177, 207, 210, 213, 216–21, 223 British Empire 73, 93, 122, 142, 182, 192, 252 contribution of Ireland 17, 94 position of Ireland within 3, 81, 255, 262 races within 93, 94 Brooke,...

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