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The Crossings of Art in Ireland


Edited By Ruben Moi, Brynhildur Boyce and Charles Armstrong

The essays in this volume explore interartistic connections in Irish literature, drama, film and the visual arts. Within modern and postmodern culture, innovation is often driven by surprising interrelations between the arts, and this book offers a discussion of this phenomenon and analyses a number of artworks that move across disciplines. Several contributors examine the concept of ekphrasis, looking at how Irish writers such as Seamus Heaney, John Banville, Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Patrick Kavanagh, W.B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett have responded to the visual arts. Others explore interartistic ‘crossings’ in the drama of Brian Friel, in James Barry’s eighteenth-century Shakespeare paintings and in contemporary Irish film. Together, the essays present a fresh perspective on Irish artistic culture and open up new avenues for future study.
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The arts are on the move. They are plural and diverse; they continuously explore their own definitions, depths and boundaries; and they tend to intermingle with increasing frequency. This is particularly evident, at the moment, within the framework supplied by the digitization of media. The crossings of art take many forms, however, occurring not only as a result of technology, but also between and across the arts themselves, as well as across temporal gaps, geographical spaces and contested border zones. Arguably, this state of flux and movement creatively facilitates the imaginative panorama and the critical engagement with and development of the contours of changing cultures in a myriad of intriguing new ways. Ireland’s role in this process may not be unique, but it is noteworthy, as Irish crossings of art issue out of a long tradition of Irish multilingualism and cultural diversity. The use of Gaelic, Latin, French and English has nurtured linguistic sensibility, and a variety of artistic outlooks and translations from other times and other places continue to energize and nurture the various traditions in Ireland.

Over the last fifty years, these developments have received an important impetus from post-structuralist and deconstructive recalibrations of our understanding of the arts. In the wake of a profound theoretical questioning of essentialism, self-identity, generic integrity and institutional power, many tendencies in contemporary art derive much of their energy from transdisciplinary transitions. These processes have been both inspired and challenged by the new world of technological media. Interart...

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