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Authority and Wisdom in the New Ireland

Studies in Literature and Culture


Edited By Carmen Zamorano Llena and Billy Gray

Since the end of the nineteenth century, Ireland has witnessed a profound reconfiguration of its cultural, political, constitutional and religious identities, resulting in an unparalleled questioning of the dominant discourses and narratives that have seemingly defined the nation. The essays in this collection examine the ways in which established Irish socio-cultural structures of authority and their constructs of collective identity have been challenged within literary and cultural discourses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Every challenge to the purported wisdom of these authority structures adds a new facet to the complexity of Irish national identity and contributes to the continuous evolution of the ‘New Ireland’, a phrase often used to signify the momentous transformations of the country in times of change.
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Mary O’Donnell - Irish Cultural Connections in Poetry, Fiction and on the Street: The Writing of Jean O’Brien, Maurice Scully, Emer Martin and Other Irish Writers


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Irish Cultural Connections in Poetry, Fiction and on the Street: The Writing of Jean O’Brien, Maurice Scully, Emer Martin and Other Irish Writers

Every generation of writers and other artists is comprised collectively of a kind of glistening agitation – quite often a reactive one – which sometimes attempts to shake off the residue of the previous generation’s expression of itself through art, or corresponds actively by building on it. The presence of Yeats, Kavanagh, Beckett, Joyce, Mahon, Boland and Heaney, for example, runs like supporting beams through much of the architecture of current Irish literary practice. Writers are frequently asked about the presence or pressure exerted by these figures: is it something they welcome? Or is it a burden?

Other questions arise: when one generation has established its own authority, which the reading and listening culture, broadly-speaking, concurs with, how does the next generation respond? And does authority automatically confer wisdom? Assuming it does to some extent, what is the nature of this wisdom? Furthermore, who are the current holders of new authority and the accompanying wisdoms that are in dialogue with a people currently lost and desperately trying to recover a renewed sense of richness for themselves?

Women, especially, are asked about the tradition that precedes them, and its influence or not. It seems expected that women will have a different perspective on this question, simply by virtue of gender, and that, if they are taken seriously...

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