Studies in Literature and Culture
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?
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