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The Leaving of Ireland

Migration and Belonging in Irish Literature and Film


Edited By John Lynch and Katherina Dodou

The Leaving of Ireland brings together an international group of scholars to reflect critically on the unfolding nature of the experience of Irish cultural identity at a time when Ireland is struggling to adjust to the shattering impacts of globalization and religious scandals of recent decades. Looking back over the last two centuries, the volume considers a range of literary and filmic works that have sought to articulate something of this experience and its multiple locations. The essays revisit crucial constituents of Irish history and self-perception at the micro-level, exploring the representation of individual experiences of migration and identification and the definition of a sense of belonging. They also examine these issues at the macro-level, looking at larger politico-historical transformations, national affiliations and changed social and geographical landscapes. The book is organized around key themes including history, mobility, memory and place and addresses the works of a wide range of authors, including Emily Lawless, Frank McCourt, Sinéad Morrissey, Paul Muldoon, Joseph O’Connor, J.M. Synge and W.B. Yeats.
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The Price of the Prize: The Construction of ‘Irish’ and ‘American’ Subject Positions in Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes


ABSTRACT This chapter examines reactions to Frank McCourt’s memoir Angela’s Ashes. Shifting between the positions of an Irish reader and an American one, the chapter assesses whether what Foucault calls the ‘regime of truth’ in operation is largely an American-inspired one that makes the memoir expressive of certain values of individualism and pluralism that were key reasons for the book achieving such a level of success.

So telling the truth about oneself comes at a price, and the price of that telling is the suspension of a critical relation to the truth regime in which one lives.1

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