Studies in Literature and Culture
Edited By Carmen Zamorano Llena and Billy Gray
Carly Mclaughlin - ‘Images of Ireland that matter now’: Colm Tóibín in Conversation
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‘Images of Ireland that matter now’: Colm Tóibín in Conversation
This interview took place as part of the conference at the Dalarna University Centre for Irish Studies in Falun, Sweden, on the theme ‘A New Ireland?: Representations of History Past and Present in Literature and Culture’. The interview followed a reading by Tóibín of the story ‘Two Women’ from his volume of short stories The Empty Family.
Carly McLaughlin (CM): I would like to begin with the theme of the conference ‘A New Ireland’. In the volume The Empty Family the protagonist of the story ‘One Minus One’ states ‘I do not believe in God. […] I do not even believe in Ireland’. Do you believe in Ireland?
Colm Tóibín (CT): Yes, I have swings in that direction which are always foolish, I think. Conor Cruise O’Brien has a wonderful definition of Irishness where he talks about someone being involved in the Irish situation and generally being mauled by it. What’s happened in Ireland is the bankers and the economists are in disgrace, the politicians are in disgrace, there’s some good sports people, and then oddly enough, a great deal depends on the arts. So in other words, the person who has most moral authority in Ireland, you know, is someone like Gabriel Byrne and he’s an actor and the work that Gabriel has been doing in the United States for Ireland...
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