Seamus Deane: Quotations

Poetry Fiction Criticism Sundry

James Joyce
‘The pluralism of his styles and languages, the absorbent nature of his controlling myths and systems, finally gives a certain harmony to varied experience. But, it could be argued, it is a harmony of indifference, one in which everything is a version of something else, where sameness rules over diversity, where contradiction is finally and disquietingly written out. [...].’ Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea [Field Day Pamphlets, No. 4], Derry: Field Day 1984), p.16; for longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Classics of Irish Criticism” - as attached.)
Note Deane’s recurrent use of the term ‘indifference’ to identify the anti-nationalist sensibility that he identifies with modernism and ‘liberalism’ - as infra [1] & [2].
‘[T]he act of writing [is] an act of rebellion, and rebellion [is] the act of writing.’ (Fiction as History: History as Fiction, Rome: Bulzoni 1984; quoted in Neil Cornwell, The Literary Fantastic from Gothic to Postmodernism, Harvester Wheatsheaf 1990, [p.138]; quoted in Dawn Boreham, “The Fantastic in Contemporary Literature”, UG Diss., UUC 2006.)

Longer extracts available in the Ricorso Library of Irish Critical Classics
Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea (1984) full-text
Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1991) extracts

Extracts available in Ricorso Library
Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood [...] (1997) - Chaps.  

National Character and the Character of Nations [sect. on Gerald Griffin & Thomas Moore]


Boredom and Apocalypse: A National Paradigm [Flann O’Brien]

[ See also commentaries under Gerald Griffin, Thomas Moore, Bram Stoker, Flann O’Brien, and sundry other authors — qq.v. ]

‘In his Introduction to the 2015 edition of Finnegans Wake, Seamus Deane has forcefully argued that the episode is a return to Joyce’s theory of epiphanies with the difference that not “a single white light of epiphanic seizure” as in Stephen Hero but light “refracted through the prism of language” is the ruling epistemology of the Wake.’ (Bruce Stewart, ‘James Joyce’s Cats: Notes towards a Critical Edition of The Cat and the Devil and The Cats of Copenhagen’, draft article for JJQ in 2017.)
See Deane, Introduction, in Finnegans Wake, ed. Danis Rose & John O’Hanlon (Harmonsworth: Penguin 2015), p.[12]—previously as a ‘Note’ in a separate booklet cased with the edition (Dublin: Lilliput 2011). [See copy in Ricorso > Joyce > Commentary > Seamus Deane - infra [available at Google Books - online.]

[ See also Deane’s remarks in Commentary sections on W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Bram Stoker ... et mult. al. ]

Selected Critical Remarks
After Independence: ‘Once nationalism, although only partially triumphant, was faced with the future, it became little more than a species of accommodation to prevailing economic (predominantly British) forces. Its separation from socialism left it ideolofically invertebrate.’ (Celtic Revivals, p.15; quoted in Graham, Deconstructing Ireland: Identity, Theory and Culture, Edinburgh UP 2001, p.15.)
On Irish writing: ‘Irish writing has concentrated on the freedom available within language because, for much of the time, it has been telling us, there is no freedom in any other zone. The eloquence we have been branded with is perhaps no more than a symptom of the repression we undergo in areas other than that of speech and writing’. (Seamus Deane, ‘Remembering the Irish Future,’ [Ireland: Dependence and Independence], in The Crane Bag  (Dublin: 1984, p. 87.)
Anglo-Irish & the Revival: ‘Irish culture became the new property of those who were losing their grip on Irish land [which constituted] a strategic retreat from political to cultural supremacy.’(Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea; quoted in Rolf & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006, p.lix, citing ‘Heroic Styles’ [... &c.], in Perspective on Irish Nationalism, ed. T. E. Hachey & L. T. McCaffrey, Lexington, KY, 1989, p.77; see also Deane, Short history of Irish Literature, London; Hutchinson 1986, p.74.)
Politics and Language: ‘The ease or difficulty encountered by a community in verbally representing itself has an effect on the ease or difficulty it has in being politically represented.’ (Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing since 1790, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997, p.150.)
Naming & possession: ‘The naming or renaming of a place, the naming a race, a person, is, like all acts of primordial nomination, an act of possession.’ (Introduction, Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature, Minnesota UP, p.18; quoted in Maeve Davey, ‘“My Bag of Paints is a Sad Museum”: Colonialism, Poet and Identity in the Fiction of Anne Enright’, Open University MA [2006].)
Vices & Virtues: ‘Culturally speaking, the virtues of Irish warmth, enthusiasm and spontaneity could be sponsored up to a certain point; when that was passed, those virtues became political vices, characteristic of an ungovernable and unruly race.’ (A Short History of Irish Literature, 1986, p.119; quoted in Gráinne McCool, “Scandal and Deception in 18th Century Literature” [re Goldsmith and Sheridan], UG Diss., UUC 2008.)

Indelible division: ‘[D]espite such cultural awakenings, the desolation of the province’s indelible divisions and injustices also kept coming through - in paintings, in buildings, in novels and poems. Ulster’s peculiar fate - to be neither Irish nor British while [45] also being both - gave to its regional art a characteristic blend of stridency and indecision which ominously prefigured the regional politics of later decades.’ (‘The Artist and the Troubles’, in Ireland and the Arts, ed. T. P. Coogan [Special Issue of Literary Review] (London: Namara Press 1984), pp.43-50, p.46; see further extract, infra.)

Mysterious & phantasmal: ‘The identification of the mysterious, unreal, or phantasmal element in the Irish situation was itself the product of an analysis of that situation. It was a way of specifying colonial otherness, a nationalist attempt to claim for Ireland an exceptional status and, at the same time, to assert that this exceptionalism lay precisely in Ireland’s retention of traditional, even immemorial, feeling, no matter how deformed it might appear to be or to have become in the prevailing conditions of a fundamentally British commercial and technological modernity.’ (Strange Country, p.94; quoted in James Wurtz, ‘A Very Strange Agony: Modernism, Memory and Irish Gothic Fiction’, Ph.D., Notre Dame U., 2005 - online.)
Nationalism & imperialism: ‘Nationalism’s opposition to imperialism is, in some perspectives, nothing more than a continuation of imperialism by other means. It secedes from imperialism in its earlier form in order to rejoin it more enthusiastically in its later form. In effect, most critiques of nationalism claim that, as an ideology, it merely reproduces the very discourses by which it had been subjected.’ (“Imperialism/Nationalism”, in Critical Terms for Literary Study, ed. Frank Lentricchia & Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995, pp.354-368; p.360; quoted in James Wurtz, ‘A Very Strange Agony: Modernism, Memory and Irish Gothic Fiction’, Ph.D., Notre Dame U., 2005 - online.)

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Breaking Wood”: ‘I was breaking wood in the shed / As dark fell. The wind gusted / And slammed the door, pitching / Me into such blackness that I / Missed my stroke and struck / A spark from the floor. // It brought back my father / Chopping wood in autumn, / And with it came the smell / Of leaf-mould, the hinted / Flights of late swallows, / The shrivelled gold // Of wasps in the notches / Of wide-spoked webs. Memories / Stilled me so long it was dark / Before I rose to gather the sticks. / A sigh of resin and I felt / The stirring of seeds of regret // As I tumbled the white wood / Into the rumbling box / And heard the wind whip / On the trees and bend into / A straight stream of lament / At the razoned edge of the wall. // White fall of wood and blue-red / Leaping spark, pitch black / Blow of wind, dark inks / Of still and moving waters, / The seasonable deaths of summers, / The unseasonable deaths of fathers ... // Should I have struck with the axe / Near darkness, called the spark / From his deep energies of enrichment / And decay? Still, in this tangled weather / I must break sticks for warmth / And split the flinty wind // For its interior noises. / Soon the red honeycomb of fire / Will sting the poker bright / Up half its length. Soon / The fume of wood upon the air / Will take my feeling to the night.’ (Rep. in Rich and Rare, Irish Poetry and Paintings, ed. & intro. by Joseph McMinn [UUC] (Salmander Books 1994;Gill & Macmillan 2004, 2008), p.59 [with “Farmhouse, Ballyhagan” by John Luke on verso facing page.]

[Q. source:] ‘The unemployment in our bones / Erupting in our hands in stones / The thought of violence a relief/ The act of violence a grief / Our hatred and our love / Hand in glove.’ (Quoted in anon. student writing, ENG106, 2008.)

Strange country: ‘It is too simple / To say I miss you. / If there were a language / That could not say “leave” / And had no word for “stay” / That would be the tongue For this strange country [...]’ (Quoted in Gerald Dawe, review of Deane‘s Collected Poems, in The Irish Times (April 6 2017 - online; accessed 27.07.2023.)

Note: Dawe points out that it is the source of the short title of Deane"s Clarendon Oxford Lectures published as Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing Since 1790 (Oxford 1997). [See, however, the coincidental use of the term in Flann O"Brien"s Third Policeman under Notes - as infra.

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Reading in the Dark (1996), regarding the secret that his grandfather has had had his Uncle Eddie executed as an IRA traitor in error for Tony McIlhenny, a previous suitor of the narrator’s mother: ‘She knew it all now. She knew I knew it too. And she wasn’t going to tell any of it. Nor was I. But she didn’t like me for knowing it. And my father thought he had told me everything. I could tell him nothing, though I hated him not knowing. But only my mother could tell him. No one else. Was it her way of loving him, not telling him? It was my way of loving them both, not telling either. But knowning what I did separated me from them both.’ ‘I a felt it was almost a mercy when my mother suffered a stroke and lost the power of speech, just as the Troubles came in October 1968. I would look at her, sealed in silence, and now she would smile slightly at me and very gently, almost imperceptibly, shake her head. I was to seal it all in too. Now we could love each other, at last, I imagined.’ (p.187; quoted in Aveen McManus, “Narratives of Childhood - A Comparative Study”, MA Diss., Univ. of Ulster 2005, p.44-45.)

Reading in the Dark (1996): ‘It was a city of bonfires. The Protestants had more than we had. They had the twelfth of July, when they celebrated the triumph of Protestant armies at the battle of Boyne in 1960; they had the twelfth of August when they celebrated the liberation of the city from the besieging Catholic army in 1689; when they had the burning of Lundy’s effigy on the eighteenth of December. Lundy had been the traitor who had tried to open the gates of the city to the Catholic enemy. We had only the fifteenth of August bonfires; it was a church festival but we made it into a political one as well, to answer the fires of the twelfth. But our celebrations were not official, like the Protestant ones.’ (p.33.) ‘But since we had cousins in gaol for being in the IRA, we were a marked family and had to be careful.’ (p.44.) ‘That, he said, was the Field of the Disappeared. the birds that came toward it would pass from view and then come back on either side; but if they flew across it, they disappeared.’ (p.53.) ‘She knew now she was being challenged by evil, and the children were being stolen from her by whatever was in that grave out the back. Oh she knew without knowing how she knew. There was no question.’ (p.66.) ‘We must recognise the irrelevance of our internal difference in face of the demands of world history.’ (p.81.) ‘Every time he said no trouble, no more troule, and he kept saying that, I could sense trouble, she said, I could feel my clothes tautening on me as if someone was pulling them tight from behind, I wanted to die and I wanted to face up to him, but I couldn’t do either, so I just sat there.’ (p.201.)

Reading in the Dark (1996): ‘I could tell him nothing, though I hated him not knowing. But only my mother could tell him. No one else. Was it her way of loving him, not telling him? It was my way of loving them both, not telling either. But knowing what I did separated me from both of them.’ (p.216.) ‘Isn’t it about time it all stopped? Did nobody want free of it? Why had it to go on and on and on and on?’ (p.203.) ‘Now, as the war in the neighbourhood intensified, they both sat there in their weakness, entrapped int he noise from outside and in the propaganda noise of the television inside.’ (q.p.). ‘All through this, my father remained as silent as my mother. I imagined that, in their silence, in the way she stroked his hand, smiled crookedly at him, let him brush her hair, bowing her head obediently for him, she had told him and won his understanding. I could believe now, as I never had when I was a child, that they were lovers.’ (p.225.)

Reading in the Dark (1996): ‘Now the haunting meant something new to me - now I had become the shadow.’ (q.p.) ‘I felt [it] almost a mercy when my mother suffered a stroke and lost the power of speech [...] I was to seal it all in too.’ (p.230.) ‘I felt [it] almost a mercy when my mother suffered a stroke and lost the power of speech [...] I was to seal it all in too.’ (p.230.) ‘[She sleeps] the last sleep of the old world’ (p.232.) ‘As though in a dream, I watched a young gypsy boy jog sedately through the scruff of debris astride a grey-mottled pony. Bareback, he held lightly to the horse’s mane and turned out of sight in the direction the army had taken before, although it was still curfew.’ (p.232.

—The foregoing all quoted in Maureen-Anne Kane, UG Diss., UUC 2006.)

Reading in the Dark (1996) [of Aunt Katie}: ‘Some families, Katie told us, are devil-haunted; it’s a curse a family can never shake off. Maybe it’s something terrible in the family history, some terrible deed that was done in the past, and it just spreads and it spreads down the generations like a shout down a tunnel that echoes and echoes and never really stops.’ ([Reading in the Dark], quoted on Good Reads - online [n.p].)

Reading in the Dark (1996): ‘People with green eyes were close to the fairies, we were told; they were just here for a little while, looking for a human child they could take away. If we ever met anyone with one green and one brown eye we were to cross ourselves, for that was a human child that had been taken over by the fairies. The brown eye was the sign it had been human. When it died, it would go into the fairy mounds that lay behind the Donegal mountains, not to heaven, purgatory, limbo or hell like the rest of us. These strange destinations excited me, especially when a priest came to the house of a dying person to give the last rites, the sacrament of Extreme Unction. That was to stop the person going to hell. Hell was a deep place. You fell into it, turning over and over in mid-air until the blackness sucked you into a great whirlpool of flames and you disappeared forever.’ (Do., on Good Reads - online; note that the character's name is probably chosen in reference to Cathleen Ni Houlihan - such is the cultural ambience of the novel.)


Yeats, Ireland and Revolution’, in The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies (1982), pp.139-147, ‘Yeats began his career by inventing an Ireland amenable to his imagination. He ended by finding an Ireland recalcitrant to it; hysterical and diagrammatic; strained rhetoric of “The Statues”; incoherence, hysteria, strident oratory; [...] He denies for instance the bourgeois character of the Irish revolution in order to preserve it as an aristocratic emblem caught in the tide of bourgeois life. he took the racial element in Irish nationalism, separated it from the class element, and made the former supreme. [...; His] so called fascism is, in fact, an almost pure specimen of the colonialist mentality’]. Note, this essay and its major premises were answered in Augustine Martin, ‘What Stalked Through the Post Office?’, Crane Bag, Vol. 2, Nos. 1 & 2 (1978); rep. Crane Bag Book (1982), pp.312-25 - taking the view that 1916 reversed Yeats’s judgement on the middle class as irredeemable since the signatories had joined the company of those who ‘weighed so lightly what they gave’ and ‘lived in joy and laughed into the face of death’.

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‘Yeats and the Occult’ (1984)
Review of books on W. B. Yeats, in London Review of Books (18 Oct. 1984):

The Mystery Religion of W.B. Yeats by Graham Hough; Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry by Cairns Craig; Yeats. Poems 1919-1935: A Selection of Critical Essays, ed. by Elizabeth Cullingford; The Poet and his Audience by Ian Jack; A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats by A. Norman Jeffares; Poems of W.B. Yeats [ed.] by Jeffares.

The first three of the four chapters in Graham Hough’s book were the Lord Northcliffe Lectures in Literature given at University College London in February 1983. The audience was general and the lectures were pitched accordingly. Yet all Yeatsian specialists will profit from this book and the ‘radical simplification’ of Yeats’s occult philosophy which it so lucidly achieves. Professor Hough takes Yeats’s beliefs seriously, but is neither a dévot nor sceptic. He demonstrates the ‘ancient lineage’ of the claims of the modern occultist fraternities, suggesting an analogy between the world of late Antiquity in which these beliefs first crystallised into recognisable forms and the period between 1890 and 1939 in which they underwent a revival. Against this background, enriched by the contributions of modern scholars from Denis Saurat to Frances Yates and Gershom Scholem, there emerge the first outlines of Yeats’s spiritual biography. As Professor Hough rightly remarks, this remains to be written. Should it ever be completed, this short book will be among its most important harbingers.

The various stages of Yeats’s involvement with the occult philosophy are well-known, but the continuity of his interests over more than half a century is so precisely traced here that we are not, as so often happens, bewildered by the specialised language and arcane beliefs to which the poet was endlessly hospitable. All through his commitments to the Theosophical Society, under Madame Blavatsky, to the Order of the Golden Dawn and to Spiritualism, and up to the formulation of his philosophy in the two versions of A Vision in 1925 and 1937, Yeats remained faithful to ‘mundane things’, as his father had told him he was. It is the combination of this particular fidelity to the actual world with his belief in the world beyond the stars that lends to his poetry and prose the double effect of being both immanent and transcendent. In Yeats we are constantly aware of a powerful, generative disorder upon which is exercised an equally potent control. The battle between them is fought out with a weaponry imported from the occult tradition. Sometimes the controls are so domineering that there is no battle at all. Instead, we get a dance of geometric shadows, a sort of metaphysical shadow-boxing. In other instances, the fertility of the actual experience is so abundant that the rage for order is reduced to nothing more than rage itself. Professor Hough, in his fourth chapter - ‘A Vision: Queries and Reflections’ - is satisfied that the symbolism of the Great Wheel, with its incarnations and antinomies, is effective just as long as we stay clear of some of the problems raised by Yeats’s notion of the Daimon and of the 13th Cone (or Sphere, Cycle or Gyre). I agree with this, but believe that it has a more sinister implication than Professor Hough would allow. The 13th Cycle may be the realm of an ultimate freedom. It may be the realm into which the Cuchulainn of the plays would pass were he to offer his history as legend to the world. It may be the God that is locked up in the Bastille of anthropomorphic history. But Yeats’s great gift for the embodiment of his thought in an image or a reference abandons him when he faces the 13th Cycle. It is an empty space. If everything else in A Vision is symbolic, close enough to apocalyptic literature to be irradiated by its light, the 13th Cycle is merely imaginary, too distant to be much more than the idiosyncrasy of a mind which could apprehend conflict in terms far richer than it could ever apprehend unity. It is at this point that Yeats’s occult belief passes into his social and political beliefs. It is quite unfair of me to wish that Professor Hough had said something about this. That would have meant a different and much longer book. Nevertheless, I wish it.


See longer extract - attached; available at London Review of Books - online; accessed 22.05.2015.

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The Longing for Modernity’ [editorial], in Threshold (Winter 1982): ‘A work of art does not fill a prescribed space. It invents a space which it fills [...] It uses social and political conditions to reflect not them, but its own estrangement from them, it capacity to defamiliarise them so that they might be seen free of the bigotry of conviction and yet within the consolation of form.’ (Threshold, Winter 1982; quoted in Liam Kelly, Thinking Long: Contemporary Art in Northern Ireland, Gandon Edns. 1996, p.14.)

Further (‘The Longing for Modernity’, 1982): ‘An equally polemical account of modernism and its triumph in the century of almost unbroken disasters ... global [w]ar, threat of holocaust, concentration camps, wastelands, alienation, cancer, bureacracy, mock-religious cults, crime waves, propaganda, the creation of plenty by the starvation of millions - and so on. Rationality, it appears, needs no encouragement to compete with atavism in the production of misery.’ (Ibid., p.4; quoted in Edna Longley, ‘The Aesthetic and the Territorial’, in Elmer Andrews, ed., Contemporary Irish Poetry, 1992, pp.[31]. Note: Longley remarks: ‘Polemical indeed! Did rationality or atavism, in its nationalist guise, set up the concentration camps? Rationalised atavism, perhaps. Deane’s own atavised rationalism betrays more clearly than usual the strains of reconciling Derry with Derrida.’ (p.31.)

Note that Seamus Mallon spoke of atavism in connection with the Omagh Bombing: ‘The reason for this is sheer atavism and barbarity of the people who caused it’ (BBC1/NI). In a subsequent interview on the same evening, he clarified his meaning: ‘ This has to do with reasons that have nothing to do with settling political problems or bringing peace’ (BBC1, 15 Aug. 1998).

Remembering the Future’, in The Crane Bag, 7, 2 (1983): ‘Modern Ireland has had some very powerful renderings of the Utopia-Eden melody by people who have felt that we suffered too much from the malady of the normal, humdrum everyday life. To lift us from the squalor of our little comforts, they have offered us a brilliant and seductive vision. Padraig Pearse, for instance, with his revolutionary tradition, from Tone to Emmet, to John Mitchel to himself, is one of our ancestral voices. With his fusion of the pagan and Christian ideals in the figures of Columba and Cuchulainn, with his appeal for the realisation of the buried life of the Irish soul though a violent upsurge against oppression, he takes a nostalgic vision of the Gaelic Eden, from which we have fallen into the Anglicised present, as the inspiration for the recreation of a modern Gaelic utopia. In a similar way, when Yeats speaks of the fusion of the two traditions, Gaelic and Anglo-Irish, Catholic and Protestant in a new Ireland which will stand out in the modern world as the only modern culture to have preserved its ancient soul, we are being tempted to read the past in the light of a future which has yet to come. It is easy to show what is wrong with these visionary appeals. Yeats, for instance, managed to imagine a new Ireland based on the two classes which were in the process of disappearing from it - the nineteenth-century Anglo-Irish and the nineteenth-century Gaelic speaking peasantry. But the appeal is saved from ridicule because it is rooted in the belief that there is a specific, a unique energy called Irishness which both he and Pearse identified with an anti-modernistic spirit. If it was industrial, technological, mass produced - then it was British. If it was pre-industrial, agrarian, hand-crafted - then it was Irish. [... &.] (p.84.) ‘[...] it may also be a repetition of the old mistake that we gain identity or that we lose it through another culture. That’ s a form of dependence. We stand in servitude to history if we insist upon it as an explanation for the future we might have had but won’t have. Freeing ourselves from that, we can begin to anticipate, not remember our future. That’s what independence is, in the end, about.’ (End; p.92.)

Remembering the Future’, in The Crane Bag, 7, 2 (1983): ‘We cannot but be anxious about our identity if we doom ourselves to be always in search of an idea so elusive that no society could ever embody it and, even more, an idea so eccentric that no feeling of normality can live for long in its company. People do not only possess a culture, they are possessed by it. Identity is here and now, not elsewhere and at another time. Real independence starts with that recognition. Otherwise, a selective reading of our lost past will become an explanation for our lost future. In a strange, but unattractive way, we will remember the future because we have forgotten the past.’ (‘Remembering the Future’, The Crane Bag, 8, 1, 1984, p.87; quoted in Thomas C. Hofheinz, Joyce and the Inventions of Irish History: Finnegans Wake in Context, Cambridge UP 1995, c.p.66.)

Civilians and Barbarians [pamph. 1983] (Ireland’s Field Day, Hutchinson, 1985): ‘Races like the French and the Irish, in their resistance to the English idea of liberty, had now become criminalised - inferno-human beings [...] the specifically Protestant resistance to the characteristics of these races became more pronounced. In the case of the French, the sin was lasciviousness; in the case of the Irish, it was drunkenness.’ (p.37; quoted in Emer Nolan, James Joyce and Irish Nationalism, Routledge 1995, p.104.) Further, ‘The language of politics in Ireland and England, especially when the subject is Northern Ireland, is still dominated by the putative division between barbarism and civilisation. Civilisation still defines itself as a system of law; and it defines barbarism (which by the nature of [the] distinction, cannot be capable of defining itself) as a chaos of arbitrary wills, a Hobbesian state of nature. (p.39).

Further [atavism]: speaks of a revaluation of barbarism as ‘atavism’ that gives ‘a privileged status’ to Irish past as a ‘primitivism [which] represent[s] a vigour lost to the sophisticated art of the civilised world’ (idem.; quoted in Loredana Salis, ‘“So Greek with Consequence”: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.) [Cont.]

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Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea [1984] (1985 Edn. [Minneapolis], pref. Roger McHugh): ‘A literature predicated on an abstract idea of essence … will inevitably degenerate whimsy and provincialism. Even when the literature itself avoids this limitation, the commentary on it re-imposes the limitations again [...] The point is not simply that the Irish are different. It is that they are absurdly different because of the disabling, if fascinating, separation between their notion of reality and that of everybody else.’ (p.57; quoted in Gerry Smyth, Decolonisation and Criticism: The Construction of Irish Literature, London: Pluto Press 1998, p.29.) ‘The acceptance of a particular style of Catholic or Protestant attitudes or behaviour, married to a dream of a final restoration of vitality to a decayed cause or community, is a contribution to the possibility of civil war.’ (Heroic Styles, 1984, p.16; quoted in Edna Longley, review of Field Day Pamphlets, July-Aug. Fortnight, 1984; cited in W. J. McCormack, The Battle of the Books, Lilliput 1986, p.64. Note that McCormack adds, ‘it will strike Edna Longley as odd to regard Deane as an agent of depoliticisation, but this ultimately is the altered direction of the Field Day enterprise’; ibid., p.44.)

Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea [1984] (1985 Edn. [Minneapolis], pref. Roger McHugh) - Conclusion: ‘Although the Irish political crisis is, in many respects, a monotonous one, it has always been deeply engaged in the fortunes of Irish writing at every level, from the production of work to its publication and reception. The oppressiveness of the tradition we inherit has its source in our own readiness to accept the mystique of Irishness as an inalienable feature of our writing and, indeed, of much else in our culture. That mystique is itself an alienating force. To accept it is to become involved in the [17] spiritual heroics of a Yeats or a Pearse, to believe in the incarnation of the nation in the individual. To reject it is to make a fetish of exile, alienation, dislocation in the manner of Joyce or Beckett. … They inhabit the highly recognisable world of modern colonialism. (p.18.) [Cont.]

Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea [Field Day Pamphlet, No. 4] (1984): ‘The oppressiveness of the tradition we inherit has its source in our own readiness to accept the mystique of Irishness as an inalienable feature of our writing and, indeed, much else in our culture … The dissolution of that mystique is an urgent necessity if any lasting solution to the North is to be found. One step towards that dissolution would be the revision of our prevailing idea of what it is that constitutes the Irish reality. In literature that could take the form of a definition, in the form of a comprehensive anthology, of what writing in this country has been for the last 300–500 years, and through that, an exposure of the fact that the myth of Irishness, the notion of Irish unreality, the notions surrounding Irish eloquence, are all political themes upon which the literature has battened to an extreme degree since the nineteenth century when the idea of national character was invented.’ (Quoted in Catriona Crowe: ‘Testimony to the Flowering’, in The Dublin Review [n.s.; ed. Brendan Barrington] (Spring 2003; available online; accessed 07.11.2011.) [Responses by Colm Tóibín, Siobhán Kilfeather, Edna Longley, Ailbhe Smyth, Eavan Boland, et al. are also cited.]

Heroic Styles (1984; 1985 Edn. [cont.]): ‘One step towards that dissolution [of the mystique] would be a revision of our prevailing idea of what it is that constitutes the Irish reality. In literary that could take the form of a definition, in the form of a comprehensive anthology, of what writing in this country has been for the last 300-500 years and, through that, an exposure to the fact that the myth of Irishness, the notion of Irish unreality, the notion surrounding Irish eloquence, are all political themes upon which the literature has battened to an extreme degree since the nineteenth century when the idea of national character was invented. The Irish national character [...] has been received as the verdict passed by history upon the Celtic personality. That stereotyping has caused a long colonial concussion. It is about time we put aside the idea of the essence - that hungry Hegelian ghost looking for a stereotype to live in. As Irishness or as Northerness he stimulates the provincial unhappiness we create and fly from, becoming virtuoso metropolitans to the exact degree that we have created an idea of Ireland as provincialism incarnate. These are worn oppositions. They used to be parentheses in which the Irish destiny was isolated. That is no longer the case. Everything has to be rewritten - i.e., re-read. That will enable new writing, new politics, unblemished by Irishness, but securely Irish.’ (pp.17-18 [end]; quoted in part in Ginete Verstraete, ‘Brian Friel’s Drama and the Limits of Language’, Joris Duytschaever & Geert Lernout, eds., History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Literature, Amsterdam: Rodopi 1988, p.85; also in Edna Longley, The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, Bloodaxe 1994, p.25, where the author claims that Deane ‘reconceives D. P. Moran’s cultural separatism in more sophisticated terms.’ (See longer extract in “Irish Classics” - as infra.)

Brian Friel: Selected Plays (London: Faber & Faber 1984), Introduction [of Faith-healer]: ‘[...] the return home and death out of exile [...] reinstitutes the social and political dimension which had been otherwise subdued. Home is the place of the deformed spirit. The violent men who kill the faith healer are intimate with him, for their savage violence and his miraculous gift are no more than obverse versions of one another. Once again, Friel is intimating to his audience that there is an inescapable link between art and politics, the Irish version of which is the closeness [77] between eloquence and violence. The mediating agency is [...] disappointment, but it is a disappointment all the more profound because it is haunted by the possibility of miracle and Utopia.’ (Introduction to Selected Plays, 1984, p.20; here pp.77-78.)

The Artist and the Troubles’, in Ireland and the Arts, ed. T. P. Coogan [Special Issue of Literary Review] (London: Namara Press 1984), pp.43-50: ‘[...] A preoccupation with history does not necessarily involve a politicization of the artist. In Ireland, the reverse is often true. The core of Irish nationalist feeling, orange or green, has been a moral, not a political passion. No political ideology is bound up with it by political necessity; many are linked with it ephemerally or by opportunism. It might even be argued that the separation of Irish nationalisms from socialism left them ideologically lamed to such a degree that they became little more than exercises in introversion once the two States had been formed. The introversion helped to sustain the intensity of feeling; the sense of insecurity, especially in the North, further inflamed it; but the political world was, as a result, dominated by fidelities, loyalties, feelings which had little or nothing to control them. Everything went to heighten them. No idea of society, no idea of the future, no ideology save that of frustration, incompleteness, endless blind struggle, existed to discipline, channel, direct the energies of the community. In such a world, which was very different from that of the earlier part of the century, when programmes of national revival and rehabilitation gave form to political passion, it was almost inevitable that, for the artist, the only available resource was the construction of ideologies of an itself. A preoccupation with history was contributory towards this, especially when, as in the case of writers as diverse as Joyce, Beckett, Flann O'Brien, Francis Stuart, Patrick Kavanagh, history was understood as something to escape from, as an emptiness which only the activity of the artist could, in compensation, fill. / Thus the demands made by a dramatically broken history on artists who are caught between identities, Irish and British, Irish and Anglo-Irish, Catholic and Protestant, are well nigh irresistible.’ (p.49; see full text in RICORSO Library, "Criticism" - via index or as attached; also shorter extract supra.)

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Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880-1980 (London: Faber & Faber 1985): ‘The literature considered here derives from a cultural which is neither wholly national nor colonial but a hybrid of both. For almost three hundred years, Ireland has experienced a series of serious social and political breakdowns. ... Along with that catalogue of political failure there is a long history of rebellions and agrarian disturbances.’ (Introduction, p.11.) Further, ‘Language and landscape, so understood, can lead a protean existence in literature. In the early nineteenth century, Thomas Moore’s poetry exploited the traditional topos of the ruin in a landscape to give a specifically Irish political overtone and to breed out of this a specifically Irish form of nostalgia. [...] Ultimately, Irish writers were obliged to find some way of dealing with history, a category that includes language, landscape, and the various ideologies of the recovered past which grew out of them. The essays in this volume are dominated by this theme. Although all the writers discussed are affected by politics, no one of them could be described with confidence as a political writer. At first sight this seems odd, given the self-consciously political conditions of twentieth-century Ireland. Part of the explanation is to be found, I believe, in the development of Irish nationalism. It is a moral passion more than a political ideology. It was and is imbued with the sense of the past as a support for action in the present and has never looked beyond that. This is particularly true after the end of the War of Independence. Once nationalism, although only partially triumphant, was faced with the future, it became little more than a species of accommodation to prevailing (predominantly British) forces. Its separation from socialism left it ideologically invertebrate.’ (Ibid., pp.14-15.) ‘[I]n poetry, freedom is almost always realised as an interior freedom, with no political repercussions whatsoever. [...] They [Yeats, Synge, Joyce & O’Casey] produced work which was definitely Irish but which, at the same time, could not be defined by that term.’ (p.15.) [See further under James Joyce & W. B. Yeats.]

Between Irish and British Fidelities: Poetry’ (1985): ‘When I returned from a Berkeley under curfew and full of tear gas, I spent my first weekend in Derry. It was October 1968. The occasion was the first civil rights march. Once again, people were running from the police, batons were swinging, and TV cameras were purring. I had arrived at a crucial time. Four years later, Derry had Bloody Sunday. In between, the bloodletting in the North had begun in earnest. The only response I could make was through poetry. Then, for the first time, I began to feel a member of a generation afflicted by a historical crisis and, again for the first time, I began to have a sense of what Irish writing had, for centuries, been grappling to overcome. When history becomes coincident with biography, poetry emerges. That has happened now in the Northern for that generation which reached maturity before 1970.’ (In Kathleen Jo Ryan & Bernard Share, eds., Irish Traditions, NY: Abradale Press 1985, p.75; quoted in Thomas C. Hofheinz, Joyce and the Inventions of Irish History: Finnegans Wake in Context, Cambridge UP 1995, p.65.

Silence & Eloquence’ [review], in The Guardian (12 Dec. 1991): Deane collates quotations expressing the linguistic predicaments of Irish writers, notably Montague [‘To grow / a second tongue, as / harsh a humiliation / as twice to be born’] and Kinsella [‘A dying language echoes / Across a century’s silence. / It is time / Lost soul, I turned for home.’] Of Kinsella, he says that he was ‘the first of the contemporary poets to explore the empty cavity between a language lost and a language gained, a space that has an obvious fascination for a writer.’ He continues, ‘but when that emptiness contains within it the death of a civilisation, the reconstruction of another, with one refusing to die completely and the other failing to be rebuilt, then the poetry becomes a great deal more than an exercise in linguistic anxiety ... But has he a home to go to? Kinsella’s unique attempt to go back to an original foundational moment, to reconstruct his own language from initial hesitation to final mastery is a miniaturised form of the problem that Irish writers have faced for at least four hundred years’.

On Reading in the Dark, ‘The first effect [of lies and betrayal] is to make everything phantasmal. Everything you thought was secure and actual has now become almost ghostly and haunting, and yet at the same time, the very moment it becomes that it becomes super-real: it is the reality that puts the quotidian, one that you thought was secure, out of court. / It has strong elements of Gothic narrative.’ (Carol Rumens, ‘Reading Deane’ [interview], in Fortnight [Belfast] (July-Aug. 1997, p.30; see further under Commentary, infra.)

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The Poet’s Dream of an Audience’, in Times Literary Supplement (7 March 1986), pp.286-87; review of John Kelly, ed., Letters of W. B. Yeats, Vol. 1; ‘Yeats was 22 when he wrote to Katharine Tynan about the possibility of having “a school of Irish poetry” founded on Irish myth and History - a neo-remantic [sic] movement”’; chose to reject England in turning to Ireland because England was to him the epitome of the modern world: materialistic, vulgar, fragmented’; he re-drew the Irish national charter so that it would correspond with his occult theories first he had to dismiss the enduringly quaint and obstreperous Ireland of the nineteenth century. “The humorous arcadia” of William Maginn, Fr. Prout, Somerville and Ross, and others’; I find that this first volume provides further illustration of Yeats’s relentless quest for an Irish audience which would, when formed, be the chief recipient of his work and, while being formed, would be one of the work’s chief preoccupations. To the end of his career he remained entranced by the spectacle of the audience which he had called into existence. It was the audience of his friends who gazed at him upon the walls of the Municipal Gallery, or of his fictive heroes and heroines whom he pretended to abandon ...’; As editor (with Edwin Ellis) of Blake, he came to believe in the necessity of a governing myth ... a system ... the effectiveness of which will be determined by the creation of an audience which has a natural disposition to believe in its tenets. That audience is sometimes the privileged sect of the magic circles; something it is the great bulk of the Irish people. The problem of bridging the gap between them can be solved, he believes, by a process of education which will have the appreciation of literature and the reinterpretation of the Irish past as the central element in its curriculum.’ [End para.; cont.]

The Poet’s Dream of an Audience’, in Times Literary Supplement (7 March 1986) - cont.: ‘First, however, there had to be a purging. Ireland had to de-anglicise itself; simultaneously, it had to get rid of the callow excitements of the propagandist literature of Young Ireland, the mid-century group which, led by Thomas Davis, had made the political ballad the staple literary diet of the Irish nationalist. This was a severe process of fumigation which Yeats proposed. Most Irish readers were happy to be either of the one half which “has received everything Irish with undiscriminating praise” or the other half which received it “with undiscriminating indifference”; At the same time he was completing the rout of Prof. Edward Dowden ... who had had the temerity to disparage the Irish literary revival and one of its mentors, Sir Samuel Ferguson. This is the beginning of a long war against Trinity’s hostility to the Irish language revival and to Irish nationalism in general. In 1900, in ‘The Great Enchantment’, he speaks of “that death whose manifest expression in this country is Trinity College ... and which has already turned our once intelligent gentry into readers of the Irish Times. Yet in 1893 he attacks those who would hurl the epithet “West-Briton” at anyone who dared question the nationalist cause. In a similar vein, he attacks the Catholics who raged against Carleton’s anti-Catholicism: “O these bigots - fortunately their zeal is not equalled by their knowledge.”’ (p.286.) [Cont.]

The Poet’s Dream of an Audience’ (1986)- cont.: ‘So he battled against Protestant and Catholic extremes, hoping to find in the interval between them an educated class which would be susceptible to his dream of a renovated culture. Between 1891 and 1894, his view, he claimed, changed greatly and “now I feel that the work of an Irish man of letters must be not so much to awaken or quicken or preserve the national idea among the mass of the people but to convert the educated classes to it on the one hand ... and on the other ... to fight for moderation, dignity, and the rights of the intellect among his fellow nationalists.” [Offers a gloss on the poem “Red Hanrahan”.] By 1894 Yeats’s educational programme had lost its first impetus and his audience had been reduced to an educated minority, de-anglicised and de-hibernicised and increasingly difficult to locate. This was process he was to repeat in later years. He imagines his audience, writes for it and then, in testing its reception of his work, finds that it has not become a substantial reality. Instead, his ideal audience finds its antithesis in fact. His theatre audience riots against The Playboy of the Western World [...’.] ‘The ideal audience within his poems - legendary and historic figures, personal friends - becomes more enhanced, more contrastingly dignified. / The drama of Yeats poetry is in part directed towards a putative audience; but the moment of ultimate recognition comes when the external audience is transposed from the actual into the internal symbolic world of the poems themselves. They remain embedded there as symbols and yet retain the immediacy of the historical actuality from which they have migrated.’ [...; 286]

The Poet’s Dream of an Audience’ (1986)- cont.: ‘No Yeatsian audience is fully educated to receive his work if it does not accept the centrality of his occult beliefs [... /] Since the unpublished letters became available on microfilm in 1976, it has been more difficult to say, with Auden, that it was very Southern Californian of Yeats to assemble such a ragbag of esoteric convictions; we find him giving a lecture at the Southwark Irish Literary Club in 1888 on the subject of “Sligo Fairies” and are informed in a footnote that the audience, which had believed itself to be well acquainted with this topic, got something of a shock at the range of Yeats’s knowledge. “In fact”, reports the informant, “he spoke as one who took his information first-hand” [prob. W. P. Ryan]’ [...] ‘The reading lists which proliferate in the letters of 1893-95 are the syllabuses of a teacher who has not yet read everything he is willing to recommend to his students but is nevertheless sure of the general direction in which his recommendations will lead. Carleton, Mangan, Ferguson and O’Grady are, in effect, all you need to know; Mitchel and Davis will serve, although they are propagandists first, writers next. Beyond that, there are quibbles about Jane Barlow and Emily Lawless. [...] The great educator and the great writer gave the idea of an audience different priorities. [; ... I]t was one of the assumptions on which he based his career as an Irish writer [-] that the Irish, as a race, were different, that they had the culture of a distant past in their veins and not the shallow newspaper opinions of the present. Irish national character was most uncooperative in its attitude towards the occult vision. Unabashed, Yeats went on coercing it, aggravating himself into poetry all the while [...&c.].’ (pp.286-87.)

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Wherever Green is Read’, in Revising the Rising, ed. Máirín Ní Donnchadha & Theo Dorgan (Derry: Field Day 1991), pp.91-105; contains a tour-de-force critique of Roy Foster’s Modern Ireland (1980), taking the historian to task for dismissing the 1916 Rising on the grounds that its ‘rhetoric was poetic’ and that its underlying spirit was a ‘strain of mystic Catholicism identifying the Irish soul as Catholic and Gaelic’ (Mod. Ireland, p.497.) Deane comments, ‘The paragraph is itself an exercise in rhetoric and its central trope is that of “reading” clearly what has been obscured.’ (p.93.) ‘The whole point of Foster’s representation is that the Easter Rising was an exercise in irrationalism, a word entirely congruent with nationalist (of the Irish, not the British kind) and that it was read as such in Ulster. The legacy of the rising is the Northern crisis. The North can read the South; the South cannot read the North. Writing is the characteristic practice of the “incurably verbal” South and it is always, explicitly or implicitly, separate from pragmatic considerations and infused with what the North is good at, the extrapolation from verbiage of the real message, a capacity that is characteristically pragmatic, hard-headed, rational. Thus the North and South are constituted both as politically and culturally distinct entities … Foster’s own writing is itself a reading, dependent on the congealed stereotype of the partitionist mentality […].’ (p.94.) ‘Lamentations about that organisation’s [PIRA] use of violence in the furtherance of political ends come most loudly from those who have a well-established notoriety for that practice themselves - the British and the unionists. They are not opposed to violence as such; they are opposed to violence directed at them.’ (p.95.) [Cont.]

Wherever Green is Read’ (1991) - cont.: ‘revisionism’s desire to deny the validity or the possibility of any totalising concept, and to replace this with a series of monographic, empiricist studies that disintegrate the established theory of “Ireland” into a set of specific and discrete problems or issues that have at best only a weak continuity to link them’ (96.) ‘The kindest view of liberalism in present-day Ireland would credit it with the wish to improve the existing political-economic system in such a manner that people would be as economically secure and as free as possible form all the demonic influences of “ideologies”, religious and political. Its buzz word is “pluralism”; its idea of the best of all possible worlds is based on the hope of depoliticising the society to the point where is essentially a consumerist organism. […]. The full realisation of the individual self is regarded as an ambition that institutions exist to serve. Those that do not - religion, education, the 1927 Constitution, for example - are to be liberalised, gentrified, or abolished […].’ [Cont.]

Wherever Green is Read’ (1991) - cont.: ‘Its [pluralism] general attitude to what it does not like is that it is out-of-date, out-of-place in this wonderful world of the late twentieth-century. Pluralism has only one time, the present; everything else is, literally, anachronistic. It has the egregious tolerance of the indifferent to anything or anyone else who is willing to live in a hermetically sealed microclimate of individual or group privacy. Alas, it is also very expensive. The economic system must be functioning at a high level to sustain it and it can do that only in specific places and specific times. Ireland cannot afford to live in such present-ness. It must perforce live with its past. That is a matter of some resentment to this sort of liberal mind. [97]; Revisionists are nationalist despite themselves; by refusing to be Irish nationalists, they simply become defenders of Ulster or British nationalism, thereby switching sides [… &c.’; 102] (Note, ‘The kindest view’ to ‘abolished’, as above, all cited in Edna Longley, The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994, p.42.)

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Joyce the Irishman’, in Derek Attridge, ed., The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce (Cambridge UP 1990), 31-54: ‘[...] Like the other Irish writers of the turn of the century, Joyce learned the advantages of incorporating into his writing the various dialects or versions of English spoken in Ireland. This was not simply a matter of enlivening a pallid literary language with colloquialisms. He went much further than that. He incorporated into his writing several modes of language and, in doing so, exploited the complex linguistic situation in Ireland to serve his goal. The chief features of that situation included a still-living oral tradition which had begun to influence the writing of fiction in Ireland more than sixty years before Joyce was born, in the work of novelists like Gerald Griffin, the Banim brothers and, above all, William Carleton. The English spoken by the mass of the Irish people and partly recorded in the works of these writers, was oral-formulaic in its compositional principle and closely related to Irish. Much misunderstanding of this language and its supposed misconstructions was created by the application to it of the conventions of a literate print-culture. Certainly, the English language, as spoken in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ireland, was profoundly altered in its syntax, grammar and vocabulary by the migration of Irish speakers from a predominantly oral culture. The linguistic collisions and confusions which were an inevitable consequence were often taken to be characteristic of a particularly “Irish” cast of mind. This could lead, especially in times of political crisis, to a malign stereotyping of the Irish; equally, it often led to a benign view of Irish “eloquence”, quickwittedness and linguistic self-consciousness. Joyce would have felt the impact of this linguistic interchange in the standard clichés of the stage Irishman, but he would also have known its more sophisticated [42] variations in the work of Wilde and Shaw and in the Revival’s declared objective of reinvigorating the English language with the energetic speech of the Irish peasantry. His own work is itself part of the history of Ireland’s complicated linguistic condition.’ [Cont.]

Joyce the Irishman’ (1990) - cont.: ‘Dublin was a strange mix of the oral and the literate cultures. It prided itself on its reputation for wit, good conversation, malicious gossip, oratory, drama, and journalism. Joyce’s work reflects this aspect of the city’s culture. It is a mosaic of set pieces - sermons, speeches, stories, witticisms. rhetorical extravaganzas, and mimicries. The culture of print is also reproduced and parodied. The “Nausicaa” and “Oxen of the Sun” episodes in Ulysses are among the best-known examples. Pulp-literature and “high” literature are equally subject to this form of mimicry; language is always being proffered as a species of performance. In fact, the histrionic nature of Joyce’s achievement aids and abets his peculiar combination of pedantry and humour. The weighty and arcane learning of a Stephen Dedalus has to be worn lightly if he is to keep his local reputation on the Dublin stage as “the loveliest mummer of them all” (U1.97-8). Moreover, it is one of the most important of all the Joycean performances that a character should take possession of the language of others, the public language, and render it As his inimitable own. This is one of the several functions of quotation in Joyce’s work. The ability to incorporate the words of others into one’s own particular language-system is a sign of a “character”, a presence on the Dublin scene. In the first few pages of Ulysses, Buck Mulligan quotes Latin, Greek, Wilde, Swinburne, and Yeats, besides singing a song and blending all of this into his “hyperborean” (U1.92) conversational assault on Stephen. Quotation is one of the structural principles of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Stephen collects Words and quotations with increasing eagerness until the novel finally becomes a quotation from Stephen’s own writings. We are to presume that the world which gave itself to him in words has now become junior to his own word-world. To make the world conform to words is a characteristic aspiration of a culture which has found it for so long impossible to make its words conform to the world. The speaker of Irish-English in the world of increasingly Standard English finds it too difficult to conform to the imperial way. He takes as his script the advice: “When in Rome, do as the Greeks do.” There is a certain scandal in such behaviour. It is a linguistic way of subverting a political conquest.’ (pp.42-43; for further extracts, see under Joyce, infra.)

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Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature (1990), Introduction: ‘At its most powerful, colonialism is a process of radical dispossession. A colonised people is without a specific history and even, as in Ireland and other cases, without a specific language.’ (Deane, ‘Introduction’, Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature [Field Day] Minneapolis UP 1990, pp.10-11; cited in Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, ‘Joyce and the Tradition of Anti-Colonial Revolution’, Working Papers Ser., Washington State Univ. 1999, p.1.) Further, ‘seeing its role as the defender of a pious and chaste race in degenerate and promiscuous world … Irish freedom declined into the freedom to become Irish in predestined ways.’ [Cont.]

Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature (1990): ‘[I]t was then, in the midst of this oppress that the North began its internecine conflict. This restored to center stage all those issues of communal identity, colonial interference, sectarianism, and racial stereotyping that had apparently been sidelined.’ (p.13-14; Ortiz p.14.).

Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature (1990): ‘The island was conquered by pre-Christian invaders, Christian missionaries, the Normans, the pre-Reformation English, the Elizabethans, Cromwellians and by the Williamites. It was dominated by imperial England and it remains, to the present day, in thrall to many of the forces, economic and political that affect the United Kingdom in its troubled post-imperial decline.’ (Intro., Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature [reprints of Field Day pamphlets by Terry Eagleton, Frederick Jameson, and Edward Said], Minneapolis UP 1990, pp.6-7; cited in Edna Longley, The Living Stream, 1994, p.27).

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1991), ‘Introduction’, Vol. 1, pp.xix-xxvi: ‘[...] There is a story here, a meta-narrative, which is, we believe, hospitable to all the micro-narratives that, from time to time, have achieved prominence as the official version of the true history, political and literary, of the island’s past and present. [p.xix.; cited in Edna Longley, The Living Stream, 1994, p.36.] It is, for instance, useful to see that Irish writing in English - to take just one important element in the history - is not confined to the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. It has a history marked by continuity and discontinuity and it may be that both these features remain puzzlingly present when we speak of a ‘tradition’ of Irish drama’ [... &c.].

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1991), ‘Introduction’, Vol. 1: ‘[Nationalism] too is an act of translation or even of retranslation. The assumption it shares with colonialism is the existence of an original condition that must be transmitted, restored, recuperated, and which must re-place that fallen condition which at present obtains. It is not necessarily true that something always gets lost in translation. It is necessarily true that translation is founded on the idea of loss and recuperation; it might be understood as an action that takes place in the interval between these alternatives. This conception lies at the heart of much Irish writing, espe- cially in the modern period, and has of course affinities with the modern theories of writing as a practice.’ (p.xxv; quoted in Helen Lojek, ‘Brian Friel’s Plays and George Steiner’s Linguistics: Translating the Irish’, in Contemporary Literature, Spring 1994, p.98.)

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1991), ‘Introduction’, Vol. 1: Deane ends with remarks on Ireland’s reputation as a place where ‘political violence and literary arts flourish together’, and remarks that the aesthetic ideology that claims autonomy for a work is a political force that pretends not to be so’; he invokes Coleridge’s idea of “reconciliation of opposites”, apparently to explain the marriage of art and literature, and claims that in this linkage, “art ... is given priority even in this close-knit family”; ends with references to the “achievement of Irish people” and the “fecundity” of readings alternative [presumably to those of the editors] prompted on each page.’ [xxvi; End; for longer extract, see RICORSO Library, Irish Classics, attached.]

[ See Bibliography from Field Day Anthology in RICORSO Library - as attached. ]

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“Imperialism/Nationalism”, in Critical Terms for Literary Study, ed. Frank Lentricchia & Thomas McLaughlin (Chicago UP 1995): "Nationalism's opposition to imperialism is, in some perspectives, nothing more than a continuation of imperialism by other means. It secedes from imperialism in its earlier form in order to rejoin it more enthusiastically in its later form. In effect, most critiques of nationalism claim that, as an ideology, it merely reproduces the very discourses by which it had been subjected (quoted in James Wurtz, ‘A Very Strange Agony: Modernism, Memory and Irish Gothic Fiction” , Ph.D. Diss., Notre Dame U., 2005 - available as PDF online; accessed 10.06.2012.)

Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing Since 1790 (1997): ‘Even though the Famine fatally weakened any argument in favour of Ireland’s case being a beneficiary of the Union and immeasurably strengthened the case for some form of independence, it was still difficult to maintain the position that a traditional culture had been destroyed while making the integrity of that culture the basis of a claim for political independence. The difficulty was, however, nevertheless overcome by an intensification of the claim to Irish difference, an intensification largely achieved in the literature of the Irish Literary Revival by the remarkable feat of ignoring the Famine and rerouting the claim for cultural exceptionalism through legend rather than through history. The modernisation of Irish society after the Famine was, therefore, accompanied by the archaicising of the idea of Irish culture.’ (pp.50-51; quoted in Una Kealy, “George Fitzmaurice” [PhD Thesis], UUC 2004, p.77.) [Cont.]

Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing Since 1790 (1997) - cont.: ‘Thus, central to the nationalist position were the claims that (a) Ireland was a culturally distinct nation; (b) it had been mutilated beyond recognition by British colonialism; and (c) it could nevertheless rediscover its lost features and tehrefby recognise once more its true identity’ (Strange Country, p.53; quoted in Neil Campbell, ‘The Abbey Theatre: The Plays and Politics.’ (UG Diss., UUC [2001].)

Further: ‘Ireland was seen, and increasingly saw itself, as a characteristically “romantic” culture, thereby indicating its difference with England that was increasingly seen, and increasingly saw itself as an urban, “mechanical”, or utilitarian culture.’ (Ibid., q.p.)

Strange Country (1997): ‘The identification of the mysterious, unreal, or phantasmal element in the Irish situation was itself the product of an analysis of that situation. It was a way of specifying colonial otherness, a nationalist attempt to claim for Ireland an exceptional status and, at the same time, to assert that this exceptionalism lay precisely in Ireland's retention of traditional, even immemorial, feeling, no matter how deformed it might appear to be or to have become in the prevailing conditions of a fundamentally British commercial and technological modernity.’ (p.94; quoted in James Wurtz, ‘A Very Strange Agony: Modernism, Memory and Irish Gothic Fiction” , Ph.D. Diss., Notre Dame U., 2005 - available as PDF online; accessed 10.06.2012.)

Strange Country (1997): ‘[Free State Ireland was a] world that last lost faith in the heroic consciousness of the heroic individual and has replaced it by the unheroic consciousness of the Plain People of Ireland.’ (p.160.) ‘The vocation of “non serviam” of Stephen Dedalus had been replaced by the obedient functionary’s job in the Civil Service. The fake nation, with its inflated rhetoric of origin and authenticity, had given way to the fake state, with its deflated rhetoric of bureaucratic dinginess. In the passage from the fantasy of one to the realism of the other, the entity called Ireland had someone failed to appear.’ (p.162; quoted in Callum Boyle, UG Essay, UUC 2003.) [Cont.]

Accent and Sobriety
On the question of accent, we remember that Burke too had a brogue that occasioned much merriment and occasional insults from [63] his colleagues in the House of Commons; that one of the regular objections to his speeches, as to his writings, most especially the Reflections and those subsequent to it, was the extravagance of his rhetoric, the lack of sobriety in his prose that seemed deceitful, gorgeous, and Hibernian. In addition, Burke was well known for his melodramatic gestures in the House - throwing a dagger across the floor and thereby arousing the derision of the radicals especially.
 The intricate melodrama of Burke’s rhetoric was, of course, widely identified with the complex of privilege it was determined to glamorize, whereas his opponents, especially Paine, regarded themselves as the producers of a prose that was, by virtue of its simplicity and plainness, democratic in its form and appeal. The democratic identification was stifled in relation to Irish speech, for its corrective contrast was the speech or rather the prose of respectability, civility, control. Irish speech accent, pronunciation, eloquence, blarney, malapropism, excess - has always been a matter of interest and dispute, heavily laden with prejudice and exotic benignity, condescension and disdain, in the reaction of those who regard it as something not simply foreign, but complicatedly so because it still retains a sufficient quota of the familiar to make defamiliarization upsetting.
 We see a similar sequence of reactions to O’Connell’s demagoguery, his violence of speech, his abundant but banausic rhetorical skills, counterbalanced nicely by the later admiration for Parnell’s aloofness, hesitancy (if we may use the word), and landlordly penury of speech. These are sounds that echo in a highly political auditorium. The writers who reinvented Irish dialect as an indicator of a nationality that increasingly came to be moulded into the opponent of rationality ignited within that contrast others - between the richness of one, the anaemia of the other, the human warmth and sympathy of one against the calculating impersonality of the other.  They were, in effect, attempting in variant ways to rewrite Irish history as a series of pasts that were to be escaped from or returned to, something to grow out of or to grow back into, something to be erased or something to be revived.
 Irish accents, in their regional forms, have their periods of glory or of occlusion - the accents of the west or of the West Briton, or of [64] Munster, the accents of the Anglo-Irish, of Dublin 4, the accents of the north. In the Irish language a similar system of relations prevails. In it too, accent, dialect, and pronunciation attain different levels of prestige. One standard example is the contrast between the high prestige afforded the Munster dialect of Peadar Ó Laoghaire because it is or was regarded as the closest printed approximation to the caint na daoine (speech of the people), and the general derision reserved for the official state version of Irish, which is looked down on as a maiming of the authentic speech of native speakers of the language. In their turn, native speakers and scholars scorn the failures of pronunciation and euphony that afflict those who learned Irish at school and who lack those cradle fidelities to the language which are cherished so dearly in the hearts of purists. The Irish Revival takes much but not all of this linguistic politics on board and thereby produces another amalgam. But the central point here is that speech, like all the other excessive energies of the Irish national character, is encouraged throughout the nineteenth century to become more temperate or, conversely, more indulgent. The first attitude is a species of unionism, the other of nationalism; yet the division so described is altogether too curt, for there are mixings and overlappings between these traditionally polarized positions. But Irish speech is a political territory, exotic and barbarous, at times indecipherable, surveyable only from the vantage-point of the traveller - narrator whose norm is Received Pronunciation of the King’s English, a civil prose, unstained by dialect or rather by the clusters of apostrophes, Jottings of consonants, and feverish punctuation that indicate dialect’s dread and malformed presence, visible to the eye as audible to the ear. Abnormality characterizes both the speaker of Irish English and the speaker of the Irish language itself, whose status in English-language fiction and travel writing is scarcely that of a language at all. The speakers of these languages can be endearing, sentimental, loyal, savage, humorous, excessive but they are never subject to the charge of being cool and analytic. Such a role is preserved for those whose language is the King’s or Queen’s English. Above all, it is a role never assigned to those who write or speak in the Irish language. [65]
Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing Since 1790 (1997), pp.63-65.

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Strange Country (1997) - cont.: ‘In a similar fashion, it could be shown that many of the Big House plays and novels of the twentieth century in Irish writing, most of them deriving from the Yeatsian model, conversely operate by claiming that it is precisely that cultivated Anglo-Irishness these derelict houses and people represent that has not been incorporated within the new state system - that the Anglo-Irish civilization, like the Irish-speaking civilization, is not represented by being treated as something archaic and remaindered, subsidised by the state but not integral to its functions. One of the most enduring characteristics of a postcolonial state is the presence within it of remaindered communities, formations that cannot be incorporated politically and must therefore be sustained culturally by the life-support machine of the aesthetic or the touristic, two intimately related practices. These display both the power and the failure of a system of representation that can only effect its purposes by a process of peripheralisation for those elements within the national state system that are presumed to have served their historical purpose and therefore are fossilised within a regime of tourism or writing or film that has to deal with their complex, fuzzy realities by stereotyping them as typically national, “Irish” in one or other of the senses of that limited, but monotonously fertile, category. Of course, it is also true that these peripheralities conceive of themselves in the very same terms as the pre-state nation conceived itself - as a form of authenticity environed by inauthenticity, as an elite group environed by a mob, as history incarnated in a group that has been cast away as no longer belonging to the present. If this is true in the Republic, it is much more harshly true of the two communities in the north, both of whom wish to speak the same language of economic development while also adhering to different cultural languages. And both experience the same plight - of being told that their communities must surrender the archaic language of difference - because it is irrational, improvident, insusceptible to civilization - and surrender it to a more controlled and controlling language of ecumenism that will permit economic development to proceed and a sad history to be left behind as nothing more than an object of touristic pleasure. [164] As always, there is a great deal of shadow boxing carried on in these staged displays. There is always the recourse to the notion that the Lebenswelt, the life-world, is threatened by the impersonal system, local custom succumbing to rational uniformity, “oul’ dacancy” giving way to heartless anonymity, aristocratic splendour fading into plebeian and philistine vacuities. It is not sufficient to call this specious combat boring; it is a combat that has boredom at its centre. Boredom is the only interesting issue that is raised by it.’ (pp.163-64; for longer extract, see RICORSO Library > “Critical Classics”, via index or direct.)

Freedom Betrayed: Acton, Burke and Ireland’, in The Irish Review, 30, 1 [Nov.] (Spring-Summer 2003), pp.13-35: ‘[...] Newman’s version of development, as expounded in the Essay on Development (1845), by which Acton was at first thrilled and impressed, was essentially a theological meditation on this issued. Ultimately, Acton, never adept theologically, read Newman’s essay politically and decided that it was deceitful, little more than a masquerade for the retention of the status quo, a sanctioning of authority on the grounds of its ancestal continuities. This aspect of his attack on Newman was replicated in his objections to Burke, who was by far the most potent modern source of the appeal to the existing, “traditional” authority in the face of Revolution. It was Burke who more than any other writer transformed the existing state of things into the traditional, conferring upon it the glamour of the past of which it was an extension and a refusal of the future that would, in denying it, deny all precedent. That future [Lord] Acton believed would be realized on earth, through the convulsive moments of a series of revolutions. Burke had the strange distinction of having introduced the Old World to modernity and then of having invented a potent argument against ever renewing the acquaintance.’ (p.15.)

Remarks on Irish novels: Foreword to Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006): ‘[...] For many readers, especially those acclimatised to the idea that the number of novesl in the “Irish tradition” is fairly limited and readily identifiable as such, the appearance of a work of this magnitude presents an alarming prospect. Yet its effect is to enrich rather than demolish our sense of what a particular genre or sub-genre might be. The “national marriage” novel, and the “improvement” novel, are not genres in quite the same sense that the gothic novel is, nor have hey been defined with the political suavity that has been brought to the proportion that there is an Irish gothic. But all of these, even the gothic itself, can be understood as subordinate examples [xix] of the nistorical novel, whether Scott or Edgeworth, is taken to be the originator, or Mazzini or Lukacs the theorist. [Here [speaking of Thomas Leland, as infra.] Because the case is so contested,the historical novel, as a genre, claims special attention, although that sometimes is given it on the grounds of prestige (it’s about serious matters), sometimes on the grounds of derision (it’s merely an amateurish exercise in drum-banging prejudice). Exactly how many version of the war of 1689-90, or of 1798 can be invented? Yet, when we look at the swarms of novels centred on these events, there is actually little variation in the range of polemical intent or of historical interpretation that they display. All have their creaky plots brone along by hefty and durable stereotypes. The durability of those stereotypes is at times disturbing. The Irish historical novel (if the epithet “Irish” has here any clarifying force in identifying a genre), leans heavily upon them. Perhaps what we need to do is recognise that their political function alters from decade to decade, but their sedimented contents remain intact.’ (p.xx.) [Cont.]

Remarks on Irish novels (Foreword to Loeber & Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, 2006): ‘‘A strange feature of the novel as a form is that it so readily lends itself to and so readily exploits national stereotypes, yet remains steadfastly transnational in its appeal. This is no doubt because it absorbs into its plots so many epic, biblical, romance and folk tale elements that it has widespread recognition. But this Guide demonstrates more than any before it, just how many admixtures of the generic and the national can be achieved, while also asking if there is any way to make sense or pattern of these audiences, poses the question of the national in such a manner tha it can neither be affirmed or denied in any of the orthodox ways. This question has been raised, especially in recent years, by various writers - Terry Eagleton, Joe Cleary, Emer Nolan, David Lloyd, Siobhan Kilfeather, Jacqueline Belanger - in relation to the issues surrounding “realism” and especially concerning the question of Irish nineteen-century realism as a defective form of its French or English models. [...] Can you trust realism? That is not maybe the best question to ask. It’s not so much a question of trust, as of appeal; and the appeal of a work can lie in its exotic or fabulous elements or in its domestic and recognisable features. Novels with strong picaresque elements, about love, adventure, or serial escapades, including tales of murder, espionage and kdnap, can easily exercise both forms of appeal. In many of the items listed here we can see how powerful is the influence of or even just the iea of the folk tale with its miraculous or satiric elements, but always [xxi] with its erosion of the idea of chronological time or sequenced historical events. It is obvious that the Roman Catholic Church laid claim, in one phase of its history, especially during the long night of the Penal Laws, to its peculiar access to or possession of the manners and customs of the native Irish; staying faithful to these ws of a piece with saying faithful to the Church; and the antiquity and the universality of the iea of the human conserved in these belong also to the Church, as well as to the people. Once the folk tale begins to migrate, via collections and early antropological studies of the Irish, into fiction, the asociation between customs and oppressions begins to be modified; very often, novels of an improving intent want to consolidate a linkage between freedom (emancipation) and the preservation of traditional mores. This was sustained into the Irish Revival and beyond as a particular cultural/political blend peculiar to the Irish (although it was not); but the point here, borne out by the listing before us, is that the novel was a literary form in which this mutation and ambition was first tested.’ (pp.xxi-ii.)

‘History is well-named as his-story, for her story belongs to nature, river, mountain, tree and stone, from which history issues and to which it returns.’ (Introduction to Finnegans Wake,

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Sundry topics

Inventing Nationalism”: ‘Irish Nationalism was not a natural growth. It had to be invented.’ (A Short History of Irish Literature, London: Hutchinson 1986, p.65; quoted in S. Slack, MADip. CA essay, UUC 2002-03.) Note the seminal role of this remark in relation to Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland (1995), and similar works.

Migration”: ‘He is going to seek his parents / Looking in the history of their bodies / For what he inherited. He is migrating / Out of his nativities / his tongue still undelivered / waiting / To be born in the word home’; also, Includes line, ‘The Government’s milk has been drunk/it lies in the stomach yet, freezing.’ (Quoted in Sean Lucy, ‘A Stronger, Sadder Voice’ in Crane Bag, 1.2, 1977, rep. Crane Bag Book,1982, pp.148-50.)

Irish existentialists? ‘Our main experience of alienation has been sectarianism; and sectarianism is one of the deepest forms of loyalty.’ (‘The Writer and the Troubles’, Threshold, No. 25, Summer 1974, pp.13-17; cited in Richard Deutsch, ‘“Within Two Shadows”: The Trouble in Northern Ireland’, in Patrick Rafroidi & Maurice Harmon, eds., The Irish Novel in Our Time, l’Université de Lille 1975-76, pp.132-54; p.149.)

Problem of language: ‘In Ireland, the problem of language as used by Irish writers is not in the end separable from the problem of the Irish language. A place deprived of its speech is rendered deaf to its traditions. Yet, having experienced this, Ireland, in the course of two centuries, has attempted to master, not only a new language, but also the new traditions that go with it while still feeling, sometimes profoundly, sometimes with irritation, the necessity to keep some sort of formative contact with the “Hidden Ireland” and its old language.’ (‘Irish Poetry and Irish Nationalism’, in Douglas Dunn, Two Decades of Irish Writing, [Carcanet] Chester Springs: Dufour Edn., 1975, p.8; cited in Robert F. Garratt, Modern Irish Poetry, Tradition and Continuity from Yeats to Heaney, 1986, q.p.)

Problem of language (2): ‘Irish literature tends to dwell on the medium in which it is written because it is difficult not to be self-conscious about the language which has become simultaneously native and foreign.’ (Celtic Revivals, p.13; quoted in Elmer Andrews, ed., Contemporary Irish Poetry: Collection of Critical Essays, Dublin: Macmillan 1992, [Intro.,] p.21.]

Problem of class: ‘The aesthetic heritage with which we still struggle clearly harbours the desire to obliterate or render nugatory the problems of class, economics, bureaucratic systems and the like, concentrating instead upon the essences of self, nationhood, community and Zeitgeist. If there is any politics to be associated with such an aesthetic, it is the politics of Fascism. It is again surprising that this clear implication should pass almost unnoticed in the body of contemporary Irish writing and in the scattered convictions which many writers still possess about the so-called autonomy of the imagination.’ (‘Literary Myths of the Revival’, in Joseph Ronsley, ed., Myth and Reality in Irish Literature, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier Univ. Press 1977; p.322; cited in Elmer Andrews, ed. and intro., Contemporary Irish Poetry, 1966, Introduction, p.22.) Also, ‘[The political] is not regarded as a natural mode of the imagination.’ (Celtic Revivals, p.13; cited in Andrews, Macmillan 1996, Introduction, p.17.)

Conor Cruise O’Brien: ‘But surely this very clarity of O’Brien’s position is just what is most objectionable. It serves to give a rational clarity to the Northern position which is untrue to the reality. In other words, is not his humanism here being used as an excuse to rid Ireland of the atavisms which gave it life even though the life itself may be in some ways brutal?’ (Deane interviewing Seamus Heaney, in The Crane Bag, No. 1, 1, 1977, pp.61-67; 62-63; cited in Edna Longley, ‘“Inner Émigré” or “Artful Voyeur”?, Seamus Heaney’s ‘North’, on Tony Curtis, ed., The Art of Seamus Heaney, Brigend 1982, p.92.)

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Big and small: ‘The fractured layers of Russian history, the sheer vastness of its geography, the strange blend of the exotic and the banal which it achieved on a scale emulated only the USA, put European and Irish history in a sudden and perhaps humiliating perspective. This was especially the case when, on our return to Ireland, the news that greeted us was still drastically dominated by the crisis in the North. For a moment, I saw I from another angle; at the same moment I saw history as something that, known at one level, is always at another felt as memory. Only in that sense does it stay alive. Only in staying so, does it become liberating. Otherwise it is incarcerating. The USSR helped me towards that moment of liberation out of which this poem grew.’ (Text, with ‘Russian History Lesson’, from Ronan Sheehan and Richard Kearney; The Crane Bag [“Socialism and Culture”], Vol. 7, No. 1 (1983), p.76.

The Fifth Province: ‘a place for dissenters, traitors to prevailing mythologies in the other four provinces’; quoted in John Gray, ‘Field Day Five Years On’, Linen Hall Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, Summer 1985, p.7; quoted in Elmer Andrews, ed. and intro., Contemporary Irish Poetry, 1966, p.24 [Introduction, ftn.].)

Remembering the Past’ (Crane Bag, 8, 1, 1986): ‘We have not escaped from history, just as the past was apparently receding, it suddenly loomed before us again as a dismal future.’ (p.82; cited in Shaun Richards, ‘Progressive Regression in Contemporary Irish Culture’, [pt. 3 of] ‘The Triple Play of Irish History’, in Irish Review, Winter-Spring 1997, p.39.)

Anglo-Irish literature: ‘It has lived between two languages and two cultures, it has competed with antiquarians and historical research, with political theory and clerical polemics in its attempt to identify the existence of a cultural community in which the possibility of freedom might be won.’ (Short History of Irish Literature, London; Hutchinson, 1986, p.248). Also, ‘[T]he risks of modern individuality and the consolations of traditional community’ (Short History of Irish Literature, 1986, p.213; cited in Gerry Smyth, Decolonisation and Criticism: Pluto 1998, p.108.)

Big House: ‘In fact the Big House is now more concerned with tourism and tax concessions, with the preservation of the artefacts of “culture”, than with power or value. In fiction, it is an anachronism. The over-extension of the Yeatsian myth of history into fiction helps us to see what an odd and protean thing it is and how far removed it has become from contemporary reality. In seeing this, we might finally decide to seek our intellectual allegiances and our understanding of our history elsewhere.’ (A Short History of Irish Literature, p.32; quoted in Conor McCarthy, Modernisation: Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969-1992, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2000, p.115.)

Celtic Revivals, ‘Nationalism, as preached by Yeats or by Pearse [and by Hyde], was a crusade for decontamination. The Irish essence was to be freed of the infecting Anglicising virus and thus restored to its primal purity and vigour’ (p.94; quoted in Vincent Cheng, Joyce, Race and Empire, 1995, p.299.).”In revealing the essentially fictive nature of political imagining, Joyce did not repudiate Irish nationalism. Instead he understood it as a potent example of a rhetoric which imagined as [true] structures that did not and were never to exist outside language.’ (Short History of Irish Literature, p.107; Quoted in Vincent Cheng, Vincent Cheng, Joyce, Race and Empire, 1995, p.312.)

Articulate nationalists: ‘Among [Joyce’s] contemporaries, Yeats and Pearse were the most articulate cultural nationalists, systematically re-reading the past in order to supply a model for future development. ... Both sanctified Ireland as a legendary and revolutionary place which was again about to take her place among the nations. Nationalism, as preached by Yeats or by Pearse, was a crusade for decontamination. The Irish essence was to be freed of the infecting Anglicising virus and thus restored to its primal purity and vigour.’ (Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature, 1880-1980, 1985, p.94; cited in Willie Maley, ‘Varieties of Nationalism: Post-Revisionist Irish Studies’, in Irish Studies Review, No.15, Summer 1996, pp.34-37, p.36).

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Medium not the message?: ‘Irish literature tends to dwell on the medium in which it is written because it is difficult not to be self-conscious about the language which has become simultaneously native and foreign.’ (Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature, 1880-1980, London: Faber 1985 [pb.]), p.13; quoted in Elmer Andrews, ‘The Poetry of Derek Mahon: “Places where a thought might grow”’, in Andrews, ed., Contemporary Irish Poetry: Collection of Critical Essays, Dublin: Macmillan 1992, p.21; also in Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland: Translations, Languages, Cultures, Cork UP 1996, p.142.)

Translation phenomena: ‘it is not necessarily true that something always gets lost in translation. It is necessarily true that translation is founded on the idea of loss and recuperation; it might be understood as an action that takes place in the interval between these alternatives.’ (General Introduction, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Derry 1991, p.xxv; quoted in Loredana Salis, ‘“So Greek with Consequence”: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.)

Overcoming oppression: ‘One way of coming to into self-possession, of overcoming any kind of oppression, colonial or otherwise, is to take charge of interpretation yourself, not allow yourself to be interpreted by others. This novel is a kind of parable of that attempt [...] on the part of a young kid. And that’s what I do in my other work too.’ (Carol Rumens, ‘Reading Deane’, interview], in Fortnight, July-Aug. 1997, p.30; quoted in Aveen McManus, “Narratives of Childhood - A Comparative Study”, MA Diss., Univ. of Ulster 2005, p.41.)

Colonial marks: ‘One of the things that is central to the story is secrets. I think the problem of a society where son much is forbidden, so much has to be kept secret for political reasons, is that when a secret is revealed it has this strange ability to alter the world. It makes th ereal world seem phantasmal. Where the real and the phantasmal coincide with one another, that’s a mark of colonised society.’ (Nicholas Patterson, ‘Different Strokes: An Interview with Seamus Deane’, in Boston Phoenix (6 Aug. 1998; quoted in Aveen McManus, op. cit., p.48.)

Northern ‘communities’: Both communities [in Northern Ireland] cherish a millenial faith in the triumph of their own conception of right. For the Catholic, that means the disintegration of the State, for the Protestant that means its final preservation [....] The spectacle is obviously pathological although, for all that, no less intimate with the social and political realities of the situation.’ (‘Heroic Styles:The Tradition of an Idea’, rep. in Claire Connelly, ed., Theorising Ireland, London: Palgrave 2003, pp.12-26, pp.21-22; quoted in Loredana Salis, ‘“So Greek with Consequence”: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.)

Field Day Theatre Company: Ireland’s Field Day (London: Hutchinson 1985): it ‘could and should contribution to the solution of the present crisis by producing analyses of the established opinions, myths and stereotypes which had become both a symptom and a cause of the current situation.’ (Preface, pp.vii-viii; vii.)

The Story of Field Day (BBC1, [Monday] 16 Oct 2006, 10.35 p.m., in which Deane said: ‘The responses Field Day very often brought out - in their clearest and most malign forms - were the very stock responses that we had been trying to rinse out of the system.’ [See preview by Sara Keating in The Irish Times (11 Oct. 2006.)

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