Conor McCarthy, Modernisation: Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969-1992 (Four Courts Press 2000), 240pp.

Contents
Preface [9]; Introduction [11]; ‘Brian Friel: Authority and Geography’ [45]; ‘Irish Metahistories: John Banville and the Revisionist Debate’ [80]; ‘Modernisation without Modernism: Dermot Bolger and the “Dublin Renaissance”’ [135]; ‘Film and politics: Neil Jordan, Bob Quinn and Pat Murphy’ [165]; ‘Intellectual property: Edna Longley and Seamus Deane’ [197-228]; Bibliography [229]; Index [237].

Introduction (pp.11-44)
Expounds Clark Kerr’s theory of modernity and points out its weakness. Writes: ‘[T]he blockage to critical views of Irish modernisation has worked on the level of ideology, where a particular set of ideas has been accepted as “common sense”, and very little space is available in which to assess the adequacy of this theory of the Irish case, or to suggest alternatives.’ [15]

Modernisation .. has been understood as standing in opposition to tradition, or effecting a radical break with it. In Ireland, the chief repository of tradition has come to be seen as the discourse of the nation, and the political movement known as nationalism. To the degree that modernisation theory takes it as given that the shift from tradition to modernity is progressive and desirable, tradition is, in this formulation, seen [15] as regressive, something to be left behind or discarded. Hence, nationalism come to be seen as atavistic, authoritarian, provincial, chauvinist. However, I will argue that it is more accurate and help to look at modernisation and nationalism as related, intertwining but contradictory phenomena. Nationalism ... is an element of modernity. To dismiss it or to launch negative critiques of it, as has been the trend of much of recent Irish critical, historiographic, social scientific and cultural work, is simply to misread it or to fail to attempt to recover any of the liberatory or progressive impulses that may be found embedded in the discourse of nationalism. [16]

The dismissively negative view of nationalism has advanced itself in the Republic under the name of “revisionism”, and it is my argument here that much of what is termed “revisionism” in the Irish academic humanities is in fact traceable to the influence of modernisation theory. [17]

The term [revisionism] was introduced into Irish debate by Desmond Fennell, who, in a series of books published since the 1960s, has questioned the modernistation process initiated by Whitaker and Lemass, suggesting that this process has led to the abandonment [17] of most of the goals of the Free state (subsequently the Republic) set itself in the immediate post-Independence period. The most important of such goals were the project of political unification with Northern Ireland and the revival of the Irish language. [18]

Much of this book will consist of examinations of the clashes and contradictions in radical or avant-garde cultural and intellectual practice between nationalism and what might be called Left-culturalism, or Brechtianism. By the latter I mean a self-consciously materialist approach to cultural and intellectual activity, which I would like to advance as a more genuinely radical approach to Ireland’s ersatz modernity, than the putative readicalism of modernisation theory. So I will be using the term “revisionism” to discuss not only historiography, but also the work of novelists, playwrights, film-makers and critics. If the historians’ debate can be crudely characterised as one over nationalist interpretations of the past, it is possible to suggest that the “national question” has inmpinged on other areas of study and discussion that frequently seem quite unrelated to history or politics. Hence my interest in retaining the term “revisionism” (though I hope it will emerge from this book severely battered) as a way of articulating apparently unrelated areas of debate and practice with each other. In these areas, the nation, nationalism, nationality can appear as a kind of significant absence. [… &c.]’ (p.18.)

[...] for Harvey and Berman, modernity is not simply the positive endpoint of a cheerfully uplighting narrative of preogress (as modernisation theory would have it) but an overwhelming, complex, confusing, liberating, disturbing condition of life under capitalism from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards. [19] (Quotes: “... a maelstrom of perpetual disintegration and renewal, of struggle and contradiciton, of ambiguity and anguish.”).

Remarks after McLaughlin that revisionism and modernisation theory ‘sanitise’ emigration as a matter of rational choice and cultural tradition. [22]

Cites Chomsky’s ‘policy-oriented intellectuals’. [25]

Liam Kennedy has, in fact, disputed the relevance of the whole “post-colonial” thesis to Ireland on precisely economic grounds (Kennedy 1992). But what Kennedy ignores is the fact that social, political and even economic thinking takes place in the realm of ideology and culture, and it is here, as Colin Graham recently demonstrated, that the kind of “post-colonial” analysis sponsored by such groups as Field Day might function to open up new areas of understanding. (Graham, 1994.) [...] However, Kennedy and Graham both reckon that the vocabularly of [25] imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism have been discredited by their use in the context of the Northern crisis by Provisional Sinn Féin.’

‘The problem is that, as the critic Seamus Deane puts it, “Empiricists make good liberals; that is to say, all good liberals are empiricists, but not all empiricists are liberals’ (Deane, ‘Wherever Green is Read’, in Ciaran Brady, ed., Interpreting Irish History, IAP 1994, p.238.)’ ‘Deane reckons that the goal of liberalism in the Republic is to improve the existing economic-political system to the point that individuals would no longer feel the need for recourse to such trouboing or supposedly atavistic “ideologies” as nationalism or Roman Catholicism. When Deane tells us that the “buzz-word” of Irish liberalism is “pluralism”, and that its ideal is to organise the society of the Republic to the point that ideologies are replaced by individual “life-styles”, chosen out of a “free-market” charcterised by the tolerance [26] of indifference, he is not simply enunciating a reactionary or traditional view. Rather, he is expressing irritation at the poverty of modernity as it has been conceived in mainstream bourgeous intellectual discourse in the Republic. If it seems that Deane is conflating economic with cultural modernity, then it must be admitted that such may be the case but only because that is the character of the intellectual terrain as he comes to it, where an economic modernisation driven by transnational captial finds its intellectual analogue in modernisation theory. […&c.]’ (pp.26-27.) Later writes of ‘what Seamus Deane has called our “long colonial concussion”, being the crisis of Ireland’s post-1922 political ideologies, state unionism and state nationalism.’ (Deane, Heroic Styles: The Idea of a Tradition, Field Day Co. 1986, p.58.)

Makes considerable use of Liam O’Dowd, ‘Neglecting the Material Dimension: Irish Intellectuals and the Problem of Identity’, in Irish Review, 3, 1988, pp.8-17, writing: ‘Liam O’Dowd points out how Irish intellectuals have been preoccupied with the issue of idenity and the ways that it is formulated in the realm of ideas and culture, but have neglected the “material dimension”, leaving it solely to the economists and the state bureaucracy. He traces this to the central importance of issues of identity to the cultural nationalism that drove the national revolution between 1912 and 1921 (though it found its own roots further back in the nineteenth century). This resulted in an intellectual stratum formed by the social changes effected via Westminster before Independence: the break-up of the estates of the Anglo- Irish landlord class and their consequent decline; the concomitant production of a class of peasant proprietors; and the rise of the commercial and professional middle classes. Such intellectuals took the new socio-economic order for granted, and thus were not disposed to think or seek its transformation (O’Dowd, 1988, pp.11-12). Thus the generation of famous post-Independence intellectuals, exemplified by Sean O Faolain, Peadar O’Donnell, and their journal The Bell, produced critiques of the social order in which primacy was given to the realm of discourse, not to the material base. The stress was on “critical exposure rather than systematic radical analysis” (O’Dowd, 1988, p.12). Such thinkers did not affiliate their work to mass movements for change, but rather produced a somewhat self-validating discourse of greater “cultural civility” than the prevailing norms. The Lemass/Whitaker modernisation changed this situation profoundly, with its new emphasis on the role of the state in economic planning, industrial development, policy research and the promotion of multi-national investment. Later, a whole new level of the state bureaucracy was introduced with the accession to membership of the European Economic Community in 1973. All of this was accompanied by a substantial growth in education at all levels, but especially at second and third level. The result has been a marked shift from the intellectual scene being dominated by what Chomsky has called “value-oriented” intellectuals, to a new technocracy (Chomsky, 1982, pp. 68-69). This appears to be common to all industrialised countries.

Quotes J. J. Lee: ‘Most Irish economists have clung to neo-classical models with a diligence which largely precludes conceptual originality even while fostering technical virtuosity.’ ‘The kernel of the problem is the desire to exclude “non-economic” factors from “economic” analysis. It is striking that a country with so distinctive a pattern of under-development has made so little contribution to development economics.’ (Lee, Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society, Cambridge UP 1985, p.583). McCarthy remarks that Lee makes scarcely any reference to Raymond Crotty, ‘the best known advocate of development politics’ (viz., Ireland in Crisis: A Study in Capitalist Colonial Underdevelopment, 1986), and remarks: ‘Lee is chiefly interested in what he calls “performance”, being mainly the economic performance of the independent Free State and then Republic. Ideas are significant, or achieve prominence in what he calls the “market of ideas”, to the extent that they are taken up by government for the purpose of policy formation. Yet when he comments on the stagnancy of economic theorisation in the Republic, he misses the irony that, in using the “market of ideas” as his dominant metaphor for intellectual activity, he is reproducing the performance-oriented cost-benefit model he is criticising for its tendency to filter out “non-economic” ideas.’ (p.25.) Further, quotes preface of The Modernisation of Irish Society 1848-1918: ‘a term [modernisation] widely, if ambiguously, used in international scholarship, modernisation may prove immune to the parochial preoccupations implicit in equally exclusive and more emotive concepts like gaelicisation and anglicisation. Modernism is defined as the growth of equality of opportunity […&c.]’, and remarks: ‘In the anxiety to avoid “parochial preoccupations” and “emotive concepts”, this passage betrays the lineaments of historical revisionism […] In the concentration on the “equality of opportunity”, merit and functional specialisation, the traces of individualism are visible. It is clear that Lee’s concept of modernisation corresponds to the technocratic idea of development promulgated by modernisation theory. The concept of functional specialisation suggests a debt to structuralist functionalism, the dominant school of American sociiology betwee[n] the Second World War and the late 1960s, when Lee was writing. [sic].] (p.28.)

‘On O’Faolain and O’Donnell: […] an intellectual stratum formed by the social changes effected via Westminster before Independence: the break-up of the estates of the Anglo-Irish landlord class and their consequent decline; the concomitant production of a class of peasant proprietors; and the rise of the commercial and professional middle classes. Such intellectuals took the new socio-economic order for granted, and thus were not disposed to think or seek its transformation. Thus the generation of famous post-Independence intellectuals, exemplified by Sean O’’Faolain, Peadar O’Donnell, and their journal The Bell, produced critiques of the social order in which primacy was given to the realm of discourse, not to the material base. The stress was on “critical exposure rather than systematic radical analysis” (Liam O’Dowd, ‘Neglecting the Material Dimension: Irish Intellectuals and the Problem of Identity’, in Irish Review, 3, pp.8-17.) Such thinkers did not affilate their work to mass movements for change, but rather produced a somewhat self-validating discourse of greater cultural “civility” than the prevailing norms.’ (p.29.)

The Lemass/Whitaker process effectively passed control of the modernisation of the economy and society of the Republic over to multinational capital. [...] From the moment of the Lemass/Whitaker initiative on, the relationship between economic base and ideological superstructure was contradictory, the first operating to delegitimate the second. [...] As activity by the Provisional IRA increased in the North, Southern intellectuals increasingly felt the need to mount a struggle in the ideological realm to prevent the spread of subversive ideas. The main thrust of this tendency has been the critique of nationalism that I have referred to as “revisionism”.’ [31]

Post-Whitaker: ‘The future role for the business and bureaucratic élite of the Republic would be negotiating markets and financial assistance with the European Economic Community, and facilitating, by means of financial and other incentives, the penetration of the economy by multinationals. [viz., ‘deterritorialisation’].’ (p.31.)

Cites Lyotard on ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’ (Lyotard, 1984.)

Quotes Desmond Bell: ‘In 1960s Ireland, “modernism” as a pseudo-international style and sensibility was championed not by a radical avant-garded but by the purveyors of consumer capitalism [...] In Ireland this modernism degenerated into a shoddy simulation of consumer prosperity in a society undergoing a tawdry and shortlived experience of global post-war capitalist boom.’ (Bell, 1988, p.229.)

Further: ‘Such are the contradictions of Irish modernisation that we have prematurely entered the post-modern era. We are experiencing for example - in the sphere of economic ideology, “monetarism” without a prior social democracy; in politics a “new right” without an old left, “post-nationalism” with the national question materially unresolved; at the social level, [34] a return to “family values” without the advances of feminism; at the cultural level, the nostalgia and historicist pastiche of “post-modernism” without the astringent cultural purgative of modernism. We are entering the future, as some wag has commented, walking backwards.’ (‘Ireland without Frontiers?: The Challenge of the Communicative Revolution’, in Richard Kearney, ed., Transitions: Narratives of Modern Irish Culture, Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1988, p.229; here pp.34-35.)

Assails J. W. Foster’s call for ‘psychological embourgeoisement’ of liberal humanism - which he calls ‘at the least disappointing’ - in conjunction with remarks of Longley about the impossibility of leaping from ‘primitivism to post-modernism without an intervening period of historical, cultural and evaluative ground-clearing’, and retorts: ‘What Longley and Foster seem to miss is Bell’s sense of the “contradictions of modernity”. In the desire for “psychological embourgeoisement’ and for a ‘thorough-going empiricism’, we can read signs of a seriously undialectical form of critique, that is incapable of paying attention to the underbelly of the process of modernisation. [...M]odernisation, as it is implicit in “psychological embourgeoisement” or “evaluative ground-clearing”, is understood as an entirely beneficent process. What Longley and Foster fail to grasp are the full ramifications of the prcoess of whidh they constitute the intellectual analogue.’ [36] See later: ‘[...] a crucial function of this book is to draw attention to the gaps and elisions, the points of hesitation in cultural production in Ireland, and also in the kind of cultural critique exemplified by Foster and Longley. It is in such gaps or at such moments of hesitation that this book tries to locate itself, drawing attention to the tensions between tradition and modernity, between national culture and modernism, between authority and critique.’ [37]

Bhabha reminds us that the nation conceives of history as itself story-shaped, but that the historian or critic can read this nation-narrative as having been actively constructed. So one can say that the nation is a narration. (Bhabha, 1990, p.1-7.) [39]

David Lloyd: ‘To the monopoly of violence claimed by the state corresponds the monopoly of representation claimed by the dominant culture.’ (Lloyd, 1993, p.4.) ‘Control of narratives is a crucial factor of the state apparatus since [41] its political and legal framwords can only gain consent and legitimacy if the tale they tell monopolises the field of probabilities. The state does not simply legislate and police against particular infringements, it determines the forms within which representation can take place. Acess to representation is accordingly as much a question of aesthetics as of power of numbers, and not to be represented often as intrinsically a function of formal as material causes. (Ibid., p.6; here p.41-42.)

‘In […] From Cathleen to Anorexia: The Breakdown of Irelands (pamph. 1990), the critic Edna Longley picked up Haughey’s phrase [‘a failed poltical entity’], arguing that both the Northern and Southern Irish states had “failed” as cultural units. […] In her essay, she goes on to suggest that the principle failure has been that of nationalism, which has been an oppressive state ideology in the Republic and has fostered irredentism in the Northern minority.’ (p.11.) Later quotes, ‘Irish literary criticism can’t leap from primitivism to post-modernism without an intervening period of historical, cultural and evaluative ground-clearing. We had had neither a revisionist literyr criticism nor a thorough-going empiricism.’ (‘Writing, Revisionism and Grass-seed: Literary Mythologies in Ireland’, in Jean Lundy & Aodan MacPoilin, eds., Styles of Belonging: Cultural Identities of Ulster, Lagan Press 1992, p.20; here p.36.) / While this formulation is apparently unexceptional (apart from the astonishingly patronising and inaccurate term “primitivism”), it presupposes that “primitivism” is the only phenomenon to be critically analysed, and that a “revisionist literary criticism” or a “thorough-going empiricism” are the only alternatives. There is no sense of the kind of project of critical modernism that [Desmond] Bell writes of, no sense that the bourgeois “modernity” that has emerged as the Republic, unfinished as it may be in important respects, ought to be subjected to critical scrutiny. […] What Longley and [John Wilson] Foster fail to grasp are the full ramifications of the process of which they constitute the intellectual analogue. […; 36] The kind of criticism practised by Foster and Longley is afraid ot address its own conditions of possibility, as to do so would be to allude to its historical contingency. That is, they wish to produce a critique of what they see as “tradition” - for example, nationalism - but they wish not to have that critique applied to themselves. Hence they wish to halt the dialectic of criticism at the point of “psychological embourgeoisement” and “evaluative ground-clearing”.’ (pp.36-37.) Further, ‘Edna Longley has constructed an increasingly deliberate and explicit critical project out of the “revisionary” impulse that she detects in and draws out of much contemporary Ulster poetry. Since this book is also concerned with the idea of “revisionism”, but from a different perspective from that of Longley, it has seemed suitable to pursue a critical project in a different direction. I am concerned, that is, to take issue with Edna Longley, but my argument with her is part of a wider discussion of “revisionism”.’ (p.44.)

Chap. I: Brian Friel - Politics, authority and geography (pp.45-79)
Cites Terence Brown’s view that much Irish writing of the 1970s is part of a complex working-out of artistic and political identity; and quotes The Mundy Scheme: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen: What happens when a small nation that has been manipulated and abused by a huge colonial power for hundreds of years wrests its freedom by blood and anguish? What happens to an emerging country that has emerged? Does that transition from dependence to independence induce a fatigue, a mediocrity, an ennui? Or does the clean spirit of idealism that fired the people to freedom augment itself, grow bolder, more revolutionary; more generous? (Friel, 1996, p.7; here p.45.)

Offers analysis of the ‘bardic’ posture in espoused by Friel (’he knew no reason why Ireland should not be ruled by its poets and dramatists’; Hickey & Smith, p.224-25) and finds in it an assertion of bourgeois subjectivity: ‘so Friel is interested in the status of the creative writer, and sees him as having a special relationship with “the people”’ and Under takes to trace ‘the crisis and breakdown of this idea in Friel. [47]

[...] bardic function may not, therefore, be quite as generous or all-inclusive as it initially seems [49]

The relationship Friel articulates can be described ... as bardic, and it was about to break down in Ireland. [...] As Terence Brown has described it, the traditional roles available to the writer - either the legitimiser of the status quo, or its lonely, liberal conscience - were in the process of being swept away [...] However, in Northern Ireland, the relationship was complicated by political violence, and the sectarian divisions of society, with the result that as social and economic forces combined to detach Friel from an obvious community [47] in the South, political conflict put pressure on Friel to identify himself openly with his background community, that of Roman Catholicism and nationalism, in the North. In the 1980s, Friel went on the attempt to resolve this problem with Field Day, with debatable results. [48]

The bardic community lies at the heart of his culture. [48; quotes Fiske and Hartley on ‘the bardic mediator’]

While Friel is clearly aware of the problematising of national identity brough by the new economic politics, and the dependent relationship with foreign states and capital they produce, he can only criticise the social structures and phenomena produced in Ireland by these changes in terms of the (im)moral behaviour of bureaucrats. He ofers no analysis of the fundamental economic and class dynamic at work, only a moral castigation of the epiphenomenon. [49]

[... Friel] saw society as made up on “individuals” whose identity was threatened by the tide of modernisation. [I]n the same passage that he conceives of the writer as bard, Friel also appeals to the bourgeois-liberal notion of the individual, and hence, appears more in the nature of a traditional intellectual. This individual is imcomplete or damaged if without a clear national self-consciousness. This confusion also applies to the bardic conception of the writer, who is, for Friel, somehow of the world, but not of it. [50]

[Richard] Pine concedes that Friel’s politics is cultural, that his culture is political, but he is disingenuous in his refusal to name that politics. [52]

Notes that Freedom of the City was widely received as an apology for terrorism. [52]

typo: Tone, Pearce [sic] and Connolly (Friel, 1984, p.118; here p.53.)

McCarthy notes that Friel uses ‘Brechtian techniques to present the self-conscious narration of the “events” [but] contradicts this’ through his retention of ‘the authorial and dramatic authority’ of the place which governs the ironic presentation of the characters. [~54]

Quotes Lionel Pilkington: ‘in each instance Friel’s anti-republican tendency is based, tautologically, on the ultimate passivity of the spectator. As in the case of the final moments of The Freedom of the City and Volunteers, for example, it is the spectator’s inability to do anything, except watch passively the action on stage, that serves as the proof that nothing, in fact, can be done [...] All that the theatre can do in the face of political resistance is re-confirm an identity which is recognisable as “true”. In doing so, however, the bourgeois theatre reveals (at least to criticism) its implicit counter-insurgency function. To adapt the definition of counter-insurgency that appears in a British Army manual of 1971, the theatre functions - like censorship or the imposition of a military curfew - as a means of isolating an and-colonial politics “physically and psychologically from [its] civilian support”.’ (Pilkington, ‘Theatre and INsurgency in Ireland’, Essays in Theatre/Etudes Theatricales, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1994, pp.129-40; pp.134-35.)

Quotes Edward Said: ‘There is nothing mysterious or natural about authority. It is formed, irradiated, disseminated; it is instrumental, it is persuasive; it has status, it establishes canons of taste and value; it is virtually indistinguishable from certain ideas it dignifies as true, and from traditions, perceptions, and judgements it forms, transmits and reproduces. (Said, Orientalism, 1979, p.19-20; here p.56.)

Foucault (on authority): ‘First of all, discourses are objects of appropriation. The form of ownership from which they spring is of rather a particular type [... which] historically [...] has always been subsequent to what one might call penal appropriateion. Texts, books and discourses really began to have authors [...] to the extent that authors became subject to punishment [.../] Once a system of ownership of texts came into being [...] at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries - the possibility of transgressionn attached to the act of writing took on, more and more, the form of an imperative peculiar to literature.’ (Foucault, ‘What is an Author?’, in Rainbow, 1984, p.108; here pp.58-59.)

Quotes Living Quarters, Frank: [...]what has a lifetime in the army done to me? ... have I carried over into this life the too rigid military discipline that - that the domestic life must have been bruised, damaged, by the stern attitudes that are necessary over - I suppose what I am saying is that I am not unaware of certain shortcomings in my relationships ...’ (Friel, 1984, p.194; here p.59.)

Sir: ‘But reverie alone isn’t adequate for them. And in their imagination, out of some deep psychic necessity, they have conceived this (ledger) - a complete and detailed record of everything that was said and done that day, as if its very existence must afford them their justification, as if in some tiny, forgetten detail buried here - a smile, a hesitation, a tentative gesture - if only it could be found and recalled - in it must lie the key to an understanding of all that happened. And in their imagination. out of some deep psychic necessity, they have conceived me - the ultimate arbiter, the powerful and impartial referee, the final adjudicator, a kind of human Hansard who knows those tiny little details and interprets them accurately. And yet no sooner do they conceive me with my authority and my knowledge than they begin flirting with the idea of circumventing me, of foxing me, of outwitting me. Curious, isn’t it? (Friel, 1984, p.177-78; here pp.60-61.)

J. J. Lee: ‘The Northern virus inevitably infected the Southern body politic. The wonder is that it infected it so little for so long. This was partly due to the quarantine measures adopted byJack Lynch. His own instinct was against involvement. But he had to tread carefully. ‘Re-unification’ held ritualistic pride of place not only on the agenda of ‘national aims’ but in Fianna FA rhetoric. Public opinion, as far as one can tell in the absence of specific surveys, had subscribed overwhelmingly to the aspiration of a united Ireland since partition, at least as long as nothing need be done about it. In 1969 the majority seemed to be mainly concerned to prevent the problem spilling over into the South, while at the same time being anxious to protect Catholics in the North from feared Protestant pogroms. Lynch thus found himself confronting a confused popular instinct, searching for a way to do nothing while persuading itself of its anxiety to do something. How to disengage from the implications of the rhetoric without affronting self-respect required a sustained mastery of shuffle techniques.’ (Lee, 1989, p. 458; here p.62.)

It is significant, therefore, that Frank Butler’s service has been in the Middle East, and not on the Border, which can only be a few miles from Ballyeg. [64]

‘In relation to Friel’s work, insofar as this amounts to a narrativising of Irish contemporary history, the North represents discontinuous experience to the South. It offends and complicates the developmental narrative of Southern modernisation. There it is to be repressed. The North is the “event” that might have been included in Living Quarters but was left out.’ (p.64.)

[I]t is ideologically contradictory[: ... t]he state that claims the right to speak for the whole island and its people must, by the same token, defend and assert the Border. [64] Hari ... is not ... a site for the projection of the wishful fantasies of Southern state nationalism in relation to the North. [65]

’Friel’s most Brechtian play remains firmly in the hands of the institutional theatre, and as such remains in accordance with the model of the dominative theatre explained by [Augusto] Boal‘ (Theatre of the Oppressed, trans. Charles and Maria-Odilia McBride, Pluto Press 1979, p.66).

Quotes Hegel and followers in illustration of ‘bourgeois’ conception of drama, which is driven (in this view) by ‘The Character as Subject’ not ‘the Character as Object’: Drama is not constituted by plot or narrative, or material conditions, rather drama is a conflict that arises out of the class of opposed free subjectivities. [67] Further cites in opposition to this Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (1979), paraphrasing: ‘For Boal this is one of the central characteristics of bourgeois drama .. The only limitation is the will of another character ... In Boal’s terms, and remembering Foucault, this reveals the bourgeois assumptions underlying the play, of the centrality of individual and the author as both the source and limit of meaning, and also the absence of the social’. In making these asservations, McCarthy reminds us that this is preciselywhat we see in Faith Healer.’ [67]

Grace: ‘It wasn’t that he was simply a liar ... it was some compulsion he had to adjust, to refashion, to re-create everything around him. Even the people who came to him ... yes, they were real enough, but not real as persons, real as fictions, extensions to himself that came into being only because of him. And if he cured a man, that man became for him a successful ficiton and threfore actually real, and he’d say to me afterwards, “Quite an interesting character that, wasn’t he? I knew that would work.” But if he didn’t cure him, that man was forgotten immediately, allowed to dissolve and vanish as if he had never existed.’ (Selected Plays, p.345; here p.68.) Further, ‘O my God I’m one of his fictions too, but I need him to sustain me in that existence - O my God I don’t know if I can go on without his sustenance.’ (Ibid., p.353; here p.69.)

Cites Richard Kearney’s view that Faith-healer amounts to an allegory of Anglo-Irish relations (Kearney, Transitions, 1988, p.131; here p.71.)

‘Grace and Frank approximate to Arnoldian images of the dull, rational Anglo-Saxon and the flamboyant, poetic Celt. [...] But Teddy also states that Grace is Irish ... point[ing] to an upper middle-class, probably Protestant Unionist background.’ (p.75.)

‘The coloniser was thus also able to use the colonised as the repository onto which potentially upsetting or fragmentary psychological or sexual impulses can be projected. In the face of this, the colonised is forced to assert a respectable or sovereign identity, as a reply to a discours that defines him as barbarian, childish, feminine, incompetent, treacherous and irrational. But these are precisely the characteristics what we have found Frank and Grace attributing to each other.’ (p.75.)

Seamus Deane: ‘[...] 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 [...] disppointment, but it is a disappointment all the more profound because it is haunted by the possibillity of miracle and Utopia.’ (Introduction to Selected Plays, 1984, p.20; here pp.77-78.)

‘Frank offers himself to the audience as a sacrificial victim to a guilty audience [sic], but it they who have been interpelleated into the subject-position of killers by the ideology of authorial and stage authority. So story-telling is socially cohesive or “healing”, but also narcissistic, and inclined to draw attention away from the world, and the imbrication of the theatre in that world. Even at the moment of its greatest critis, Friel’s (self-)understanding of authority remains firmly rooted in the borugeois conventions identified by Boal. The fierceness with which they are asserted is the sign of that crisis. [79]

What I have attempted here has been to examine the self-representation of authorial crisis in these two plays, by relating it to the earlier Freedom of the City, which stages the crisis of representation in clearly socio-political terms. It is a vindication of Deane’s suggestion of the Irish literary-cultural ship between eloquence and violence, but also an extension of that notion into the realm of the social, in that eloquence is the analogue at the level of the individual of the monopoly of representation claimed by the dominant culture. In this way, we return to Said’s articulation of the state, culture the intellectual: the state is the political-institutional manifestation of the best that has been thought and done, the culture is the elaboration and refinement of those ideas, and the intellectual is the individual socially sanctioned to engage in such elaboration. The crisis of authorial authority is clearly related to the crisis of state authority. It has been in these plays of the 1970s Friel has most radically explored the crisis of authority of both state and author. [END]

Chap. 2: Irish Metahistories - John Banville and the Revisionist Debate (pp.80-134)
Quotes Banville: ‘I don’t really think that specifically “national” literatures are of terribly great significance ... We go on and on about our great writers but we have very few great writers, perhaps two. Two great writers or even ten great writers don’t really make a literature ... The fact that Joyce and Beckett were born in Ireland or even wrote about Ireland is not really important ... There is an Irish writing, but there isn’t an Irish literature We can’t continue to write in the old way ... Most of Irish writing is within a nineteenth-century tradition where the world is regarded as given ... But the modern writer cannot take the world for granted any longer ... I’ve never felt a part of any (national) tradition, any culture even ... I feel a part of a purely personal culture gleaned from bits and pieces of European culture of four thousand years. It’s purely something 1 have manufactured. (Sheeran,1979,pp.76-80; here p.80.)

Quotes Banville: ‘[...] I shall, I suppose, appear simple-minded if I say straight away that I have never been able to understand why it must always be one or the other [i.e., art or action] that one must plump for, since, frivilous creature that I am, I cannot rid myself of the quaint conviction that art is action.’ (1977, p.20; here p.81.)

Banville writes at the moment that modernism elsewhere in the West appears to have run into the sand, and at the moment in Ireland that it had finally arrived only to be put in crisis, when nationalism as a project of state legitimisation has been replaced by modernisation and the movement into Europe, but that modernisation suddenly appears challenged by the instability of the state, brought on by the re-appearance of nationalism in the North, and economic slowdown. He writes at a moment of metanarrative crisis, when nationalism as a project of state legitimisation has been replaced by modernisation and the movement into Europe, but that modernisation suddenly appears challenged by instability in the state, brought on by the re-appearance of nationalism in the North, and economic slowdown. He writes, in other words, at a moment that elsewhere in the West appeared to be characterised by capitalist crisis and radically new forms of politics. But in Ireland, the situation was complicated by the intertwining of apparently atavistic social and political forces, with their new opponents. This is exemplified in the way, in Northern Ireland, that the Civil Rights movement and the People’s Democracy contained within them segments of traditional nationalism and republicanism; and in the co-existence of Paisleyism and the reformisrn of Terence O’Neill. Modernity in Ireland appeared threatened not only by elements of ‘postmodernity’, such as the new student and feminist politics, the oil crises or the supranational structures of Europe, but also by traditional forces that the selfconscious modernisers of the 1960s thought that they had left behind. [83]

Invokes Habermas’s idea that the deliberate articulation of aesthetic experience reaffiliates it with matters of ‘truth and justice’ in order to persuade us that Banville’s retreat into the individual life of his aethete-characters is synonymous with a return to history. [83]

For the difficulty is that the novels of Banville that I am examining appear often to have no links with Ireland at all. (Cites Imhof.) [83]

[T]he historicist narrative of nationalism had been refused the kind of closure and moral resolution that it sought. [91]

Cites Bradshaw’s account the Irish revisionist’s supposed indebtedness to Herbert Butterworth’s The Whig Interpretation of History (1931), which was critical of teleological, or present-centred historiography and discusses more closely Perry Anderson’s attribution to Lewis Namier an attraction towards the English capacity to perceive and accept facts without anxiously enquiring into the reasons and meaning. [93; cf. Keats and Popper].

Notes that Ciaran Brady attributes to Moody and Co. the use of irony as the most suitable linguistic strategy, and remarks that this perpetuates ‘an inevitably and progressively elitist style’ [97] Further, ‘Brady’s solution to the problem thus created is not to call, as Bradshaw does, for a more ‘sympathetic’ history or the celebration of tradition, or for new evidence to be adduced to refute the ‘revisionists’, or for what he terms the ‘radical deconstructionist’ approach of Roland Barthes and Hayden White, deployed in Ireland by Seamus Deane (Brady, 1994b, pp. 27-28). Rather, he suggests a greater modesty on the behalf of the historians, a greater willingness to admit the provisional, “partial and imperfect” nature of their judgements and interpretations (Brady, 1994b, p. 29). [...] Brady’s argument is vitiated by the way, firstly, he admits the lack of evidence of self-conscious metahistorical reflection by Moody and Edwards but secondly tries retrospectively to construct a rhetorical position for them.’

’What must be said about the focus on “mythic criticism” by both Moody and Lyons, however, is that these writers appeared, in the 1970s, not to have absorbed the debates about the nature of myth that had occupied notable French structuralist writers, such as Roland Barthes and Claude Levi-Strauss.’ McCarthy goes on to lists Althusser, Foucault and Hayden White and characterises Tom Dunne, Ciaran Brady and M. A. G. Ó Tuaithaigh ‘cautious gatekeepers[,] fully two decades later’. [p.98]

Simply to dismiss “myths” as morally dangerous tales told to manipulate their audiences politically may also be to dismiss the discursive communities in which they circulate. Seen in this light, such pronouncements also arrogate to historians the moral, professional and epistemological “high ground” [...] [99]

[I]t is also clear that the construction of consensus is intimately and in an instrumental way related to the institution of an orthodoxy (the ultimate expression of this in the Irish case would be the state-assisted New History of Ireland) and that this in turn leads to a resistance to methodological and disciplinary self-questioning. [100]

Consensus has now been achieved, among the academic historians, but bow in a period of fresh political instability, it must be defended from pernicious outside influences, principally popular history emanating from Northern Ireland that seeks, on the basis of historical arguments, the dissolution of the existing constitutional arrangements in both polities of the island. [101]

a competitive system, that rewards conformity, specialisation, professionalism, mostly clearly in its junior members (graduate students) and therefore reproduces itself. [102]

After Gramsci: role of intellectuals as ‘experts in legitimisation’ [104]

David Lloyd (after Bakhtin and Said) ‘shrewdly focuses on the way that while the novel allows the emergence of a variety of social voices of discourses (Bakhtin’s “heteroglossia”) and the “imagining” of an emergent national community (Anderson), neither writer pays sufficient attention to the ways that the same form can also exclude or de-legitimate certain sociolects, and hence can make certain narratives, modes of sociality or political practices literally unimaginable. Lloyd is interested, then, in the socially regulative function of the novel, and the way that that function is made especially clear at moments of its failure. He terms such moments “crises of representation”, and discusses these moments in relation to the novelistic renderings of Ireland’s long nineteenth [105] century. But the same term is useful when we try to understand the moment of crisis in Ireland at the beginning of the 1970s in the work of historians. [106]

[T]he control of narratives and of representations is a crucial matter for the state, especially at times of crisis. [...] Either the crisis fo the state could induce a discursive and disciplinary modesty and reflexiveness, or it could induce a lapse into discursive and disciplinary defensiveness, arrogance and dogma. I suggest that the evidence [...] points towards the latter. [109]

[...] Banville’s fiction [...] represent[s] a notable, if oblique contribution to Irish historiographical debate. [...] He brings to a kind of historical writing what Seamus Deane has called “a high state of anxious self-reflection”. To this extent, even these “non-Irish” novels touch glancingly on the Irish condition: the conflict, which has been ongoing since the end of the 1960s, inherent in the arrival of intellectual modernity at the apparent end of that intellectual era.’ [p.11] Banville uses metafictional techniques to alienate his reader from any possible understanding of these novels as realist texts. [...] Gabriel Godkin, the narrator of Birchwood, spends his life dealing with epistemological and representational difficulties. [... A] major part of the interest of these books lies in this representation and self-representation of crisis. In it, Banville intrudes in or “interferes” with Irish history writing, Irish intellectuals, the historical novel, and the nineteenth-century “Big House” mode that has been adopted by Irish novelists from Maria Edgeworth to William Trevor. It is precisely in Banville’s representation of crisis, his embravce of and play with crisis, that his difference from and rebuke to Irish historiography lies. [112]

Quotes Seamus Deane on the redundancy of the ‘big house’ trope; retales Lukacs’s analysis of historical fiction; endorses James Cahalan’s conception that Sir Walter Scott’s progressivist notion of historical fiction - antiquarianism pointing towards the present moment and hence a rejection of the Gothic interest in the past as ‘difference’ - and remarks on his Irish followers, among whom Banims, Griffin, LeFanu, Carleton, Standish O’Grady, to none of whom was the vocabulary of realism easily availablefor the historical past. [124]

Quotes [and misattributes] Maria Edgeworth on the present ‘realities’ of Ireland and the ‘looking glass’ of fiction. [125]

Quotes [The Nation, Sept. 1846]: ‘The era to which Englishmen point as that in which their constitution was finally established in highest perfection [...] is precisely the day from which Ireland’s lowest debasement and bitterest sorrow most be dated. The “Glorious Revolution” is to us an abomination; the “Bill of Rights” a fraud, the “privileges of Parliament”, and the whole system of parliamentary government then se tup for worship and obedience, a delusion and a cruel mockery.’ ([125; Lloyd, Anomalous States, p.135; note that McCarthy fails to identify this with any source and risks giving the impression that it is a further obiter dicta by Lady Morgan.)

[T]here is no doubt that the past did exist. Banville merely demonstrates that it is accessible to us only in textual form, and also mediated by the subjectivity of the author. So he openly acknowledges his debts to Arthor Koestler’s The Sleepwalkers and Thomas Kuhn’s The Copernican Revolution, well as other texts, that contribute to the ‘entextualisation’ of history. But this textual self-consciousness immediately begs the question: what texts, or ‘evidence’, were not referred to in the course of the production of these novels. Thus, if Banville’s ‘biographies’ of Copernicus and Kepler are ‘histories’, they openly acknowledge the degree to which they construct their objects. An archaeology of the past is produced, but the materials that facilitate that production are admitted as textualised ones. So Banville’s work embodies a kind of discussion and ‘revisionism’ of the textual and epistemological issues that Irish academic history-writing has been anxious to skirt by recourse to professional authority and putative methodological objectivity. [134; End.]

Chap. 3: Modernisation without Modernism - Dermot Bolger and the “Dublin Renaissance” (pp.135-64)
[Critiques Bolger and associates in Raven Press and similar ventures, departing from Ferdia MacAnna’s “Dublin Renaissance” essay in Irish Review, which claims to overturn the romanticism of the literary revival; argues that Bolger, in particular, re-establishes a cordon sanitaire between modern Ireland and an idealised, and lost, romantic Ireland represented by the remnant of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy while blaming the rural Irish, in their recrudescence as Fianna Fail gombeen politicos, for the cultural and social wasteland of modern Ireland. Extensively quotes Raymond Williams’ typology of literary movements to locate the new Dublin writers.]

This is not to suggest that [Roddy] Doyle or, as we shall see, Bolger, simply employ a bland realism or naturalism. On the contrarty, their writing seems to betray a sense that such ontological and epistemological authoritative modes are unavailable to them. [140]

The group is thus marked by a shared practice, which is basically literary or journalistic; but not by a common theory. Indeed, many of these writers see themselves as transcending theory or ideology. [141]

The ultimately apolitical character of the artistic productions of the Raven Arts/Passion Machine formation lies in the confusions of modernisation, modernity, postmodernity and ideology described in the Introduction. [142]

[...] the image of dissent that MacAnna claims for the “Dublin Renaissaince” writers is out of all proportion to their actual achievements, and its polemical stridency leads it into further contradiciton. By this I mean that MacAnna overplays the moral and intellectual courage required of these writrers to mount the critique they have of their national culture and the state.’ (p.142; cites Joyce, Beckett, O’Casey, Kavanagh, et al. as unacknowledged antecedents.) ‘MacAnna is interested for polemical purposes in constructing a homogeneous group - contemporary literary (especially critical) intellectuals in the Republic - whom he can accuse of propagating a monolithic culture, which the new Dublin writing lies outside of. The new writing is therefore non-ideological, post-nationalist, post-socialist, post-modernist (it is a “deconstructionist’s nightmare”). MacAnna is interested here to construct an identitarian politics of writing - only Dubliners (preferably of his generation) can write about Dublin with validity.’ [145]

Further discusses idea of representative writer in Daniel Corkery, and remarks: ‘the paradox is, of course, that Corkery is the kind of figure that MacAnna sets himself up to opposed, on grounds of generation, culture and politics.’ [146]

Discussion of Bolger’s The Journey Home (1990 [sic]) departs from allusion to Georg Lukacs’ account of the novel as epic of the bourgeois age dealing in ‘transcendental homelessness’ and notes that every character in Bolger’s novel is ‘displaced, an exile’. [153]

Quotes [Hanno:] ‘I didn’t understand it then, but I grew up in perpetual exile: from my parents when on the streets, from my own world when at home [...] How can you learn self-respect if you’re taught that where you live is not your real home?’ (p.8.)

The ideological polemic of the novel [The Journey Home] is directed at the idea of a bourgeoisie that has rural origins. [156].

The novel, and O’Toole’s article [’Going West ...’, 1985], are based, then, on a belief in the compatibility of an ideology based on tradition and an economic practice based on modernistaiont. What both fail to account for is th efact that the construction of a cohesive nationa-state was often a precondition for the development of industrial capitalism in European history. [...] Furthermore, the Bildungsroman form is one which dramatises on the level of the individual subject the universal narrative of modernity that nationalism proposes at the level of the ethnic group. [157]

The fact is that Bolger and O’Toole are closer to their Revival antagonists than they think [...] The polemical point is to suggest that modernity in the Republic has been betrayed by nationalism; this forecloses any discussion of the nature of modernisation itself, or of the kind of modernising development initiated by Lemass. This approach, however, is typical of the novel, and of Bolger’s work more generally, which tends to depict the condition of Irish modernity, but not to offer a sustained analysis of it. [158]

But in Bolger’s Ireland, the capacity of the core to exploit the periphery is only to be measured by the extent that the country has succeeded in conquering the city. Thus, Bolger ends up producing a discourse of the countryside that is not, in fact, so far removed from the Revivalists that he so resolutely seems to be turning away from. [160]

Chap. 4: Film and politics - Neil Jordan, Bob Quinn and Pat Murphy (pp.165-96)
Lists developments in funding of independent film-making in Ireland and remarks: ‘It will be immediately clear that the developments here outlined parallel significantly the development of “revisionism” discussed earlier, and that the rise of the group named parallels the resurgence of violence in Northern Ireland. If one also acknowledges the censoriousness of the atmosphere surrounding the exhibbition of film in the Republic, the wave of attempts by the independent film-makers, to engage with social and political change in Ireland, with the recrudescence of violence and with the “tradition” of filmic representations in Ireland (mostly international in origin), that characters by the 1970s and 1980s becomes understandable’ [all sic; 169.]

Characterises Jim Sheridan’s film My Left Foot as ‘almost Victorian in its sentimentality’: ‘It portrays the progress of this man from his mother’s kitchen floor, where he reveals his ability to write, to the street outside, where the “lads” incorporate him into their football games, to his hospital therapy, and eventually to the launch of his autobiography in the home of a member of the Ascendancy, where in the company of the philanthropic “great and good”,he gains pleasing bourgeois acceptance. This progress is mirrored by his increasing spatial freedom and mobility, as he moves from the claustrophic confines of his parents’ terraced house to, at the end of the film, announcement of his engagement atop Killiney Hill in sourt Dublin, with panoramic views of the sea and the sity suggesting the final delightful freedom from the ghetto and his social class that the hero has attained. [...A]chieved through an aesthetic “transcendent” conception of artistic activity, and, paradoxically, his disability, which has served to bring his innate humanity into greater relief.’

Remarks on Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game: [I]t is noticeable that the representation of, arguably, progressive sexual politics in the film does not preclude the indulgence of negative stereotypes in relation to nationalism and “terrorism”. This relates the film to the anomalous condition of post-modernity. [...] in this case, we find a film engaging in a typically post-modernists displacement of national identity by sexual identity. [173]

Quotes [ad interim] Desmond Bell ‘We are experiencing for example - in the sphere of economic ideology, “monetarism” without a prior social democracy; in politics a “new right” without an old left, “post-nationalism” with the national question materially unresolved; at the social level, a return to family values without the advances of feminism; at the cultural level, the nostalgia and historicist pastiche of “post-modernism” without the astringent cultural purgative of modernism.’ [Bell, 1988, p. 229; here p.173]

That Cal was directed by an Irishman (Pat O’Conor) and adapted from his own novel by a Northern Irishman (Bernard MacLaverty) ought to alert us to the degree to which Irish cultural production can be interpellated by traditions or ideologies from outside the island. [175]

Notes that Angel, like Odd Man Out, characterises Northern violence as incomprehensible and destructive [176]; the film’s revenge narrative is entirely futile; All violence is placed on the same level; it is recognisably set in Northern Ireland [~176]

Quotes Edward Said’s remarks on the manner in which the logic of cause and effect between oppressors and victims vanisheds inside an enveloping cloud called “terrorism”, and note that Jordan’s Angel was produced at a time when ‘the political-discursive struggle to name the Troubles as either ‘political’ or merely ‘criminal’ was extremely intense. [177]

Argues that in the case of Angel ‘the aesthetic project and the project of state security are coterminous’

Quotes Brendan Bradshaw’s remarks on the “purposeful unhistoricity” of national myths, which can be positively appropriated by nationalist tradition.

Chap. 5: Intellectual Property - Edna Longley and Seamus Deane (pp.197-228)
Cites Chomsky in identifying failure of modernising technocracy to develop equivalent value based intellectual tradition [198]

The failure of the intellectuals [198] to elaborate an oppositional discourse, a critical counter-narrative to the hegemonic ones, must be seen as contributory to the violence of Northern Ireland after 1969. Thus, the political arena was open to the paramilitaries and the British State after 1972 in Nothern Ireland, and the intellectual arena was vulnerable to the “invention of tradition”, or the old oppositional ideological narrative of Ireland, nationalism. [199]

Deane and Longley ‘opposing responses to this crisis’ [199]

’Longley’s overall point [is] that a non-sectarian institution (TCD) and a non-sectarian discourse (poetry) provide the ground of what she sees as the “revisionist” strain in her work. The weakness of this argument is that it still accepts the sectarian framework that Longley is rightly concerned to criticise.’ Cites Longley’s allusion to William Drennan’s sentence, “The Catholics may save themselvces, but it is the Protestants who must save the nation.’ (Longley, 1994, p.149), and remarks: ‘It seems invidious to produce such moral hierarchies, while one can also envisage other social, economic and political categories that might provide even more powerful critical positions. The most obvious of these would be class; another might be gender. Both might operate to complicate the tradition of dissent that Longley is intent on constructing as her own habitation with its foundations in TCD and Northern poetry [...] it never seems to occur to her to question the makeup of the student body of Trinity in class or gender terms [...; 199]

For Longley, the prolem is one of Roman Catholic authoritarianism (in the hierarchy) and subservience and conformism (in the laiety), as compared to TCD’s values of secularism, independence, individualism. [201]

If such critique seems ad hominem in tone, then it must be remembered that, as in the example of Edna Longley, intellectuals may choose freey to expose their personal histories in public. [201]

[I]t may be argued that the centre of gravity of Irish [sic ital.] literary critical debate is now located in the States [202]

Quotes Longley: ‘And for the same reasons: mysteries distort the rational processes which ideally prevail in social relations; while ideologies confiscate the poet’s special passport to terra incognita. Its literary streak, indeed, helps make Irish Nationalism more theology than ideolog. Conor Cruise O’Brien calls “the area where literature and politics overlap” an “unhealthy intersection”; because “suffused with romanticism”, it breeds bad politics - Fascism and Nationalism. But it also breeds bad literature, particularly, bad poetry, which in a vicious circle breeds - or inbreeds - bad politics. As Yeats says, “We call certain minds creative because they are among the moulders of their nation and are not made upon its mould, and they resemble one another only in this - they have never been foreknown or fulfilled an expectation.” Ulster poets today are sometimes the victims of improper expectations. Whatever causes they may support as citizens, their imaginations cannot be asked to settle for less than full human truth. And no cause [203] in Ireland (unlike, say, opposition to Adolf Hitler) carries such an imprimatur. This does not let the poet off the hook of general or particular “responsibility” towards policital events. The price of imaginative liberty is eternal vigilance.’ (Poetry in the Wars, Bloodaxe 1986, p.185; here 203-04.)

Charges that for Longley poetry is ‘conceived as a Platonic ideal’ and ‘reserved as a privileged position’ [204]

[...] Longley’s position as a putatively non-theoretical critic leads her into contradiction in making public statements [...] criticism itself must be political, and therefore ideological [...] the result of the collusion of poetry and criticism - that is, any kind of intersubjective existence for the text - must be the politicisation of poetry. [205]

The problem with Longley’s subsequent objection to Eagleton’s “colonisation” of Irish criticism is that his intervention gains much of its force and relevance from the Arnoldification of the disciplinary field by critics such as herself. [205]

Quotes: ‘Both Irish Nationalism and Ulster Unionism must accept the reality of the North as a frontier-region, a cultural corridor, a zone where Ireland and Britain permeate one another. The Republic should cease to talk so glibly about “accommodating diversity” and face up to difference and division. This owuld actually help the North to relax into a genuinely diverse sense of its own identity: to function, under wahtever administrateive format, as a shared region of these islands. At which point there will definitely be no such person as Cathleen ni Houlihan.’ (Longley, 1994, p.195; here p.206.)

Quotes John Barrell (1988) Poetry, Language and Politics (Manchester UP 1988) in dismissing the so-called impartiality of the criticism of the New Criticism [206] Also refers to Said’s concept of the necessarily ‘quixotic’ character of a postcolonial enterprise consisting in the acceptance of ‘the sheer difficulty of such generalisation’ [208]

There is at times in Longley’s criticism an implicit assumption (cultural corridors notwithstanding) that Northern Ireland is as naormal as Finchley’ that its experince of the moernity and humanism has necessarily been the same as that of the rest of the United Kingdom. [208]

Criticises conception of North Atlantic archipelago: ‘[...]the use of the “archipelago” model is an attempt to give authority of empirical fact, and hence objectivity, to Longley’s critical discourse’ but ‘it overlooks relations of power, which is something that Said’s model, in spite of its oversights, does not do. Thus, Longley’s “archipelago” is not unrelated to her critical model, or to her ideal of the separation of politics and culture, or humanistic disciplinary fields. It is something of a “well-wrought” artefact, that interlaly resolves its differences or safely stages different voices in an enclosed rhetorical space.’ [209]

Quotes: ‘[...] An “empiricist” may be someone who lives from hand to mouth. Or he may be someone who follows an ideal that is always developing, implicit rather than explicit.’ (Longley, 1986), p.93; here p.210.) Further, ‘Whereas Irish historiography has long been led by scholars bound up with Ireland’s changing condition, homegrown criticism, though now increasing in influence, has been overwhelmed by the international fixation on Joyce and Yeats. This chronic deficit underlies the current stand-off between historians and theorists.’ [1994, p.4; here p.211; Longley meaning that the criticism, rather than responding to neighbourly historians, emulates in its procedures the practice of international scholarship.]

Quotes Foster: ‘[...] the autonomous individual may be a bourgeois humanist fantasy, but many of us in Ireland would like to enjoy that fantasy, thank you very much [...] it would be foolish to embrace the psychological socialism of poststructuralism before reaping the reward of psychological embourgeoisement. (Foster, Colonial Consequences, p.231; here p.212.)

Deane’s biography, as a Roman Catholic nationalist born in the Unionist statelet of Northern Ireland, who manages to haul himself up to the peak of Irish academia, is in many ways the opposite of [Edna] Longley’s, and he has characterised int in this manner himself. (Deane, 1992, p.28.)

If Longley’s project often seems the literary arm of Conor Cruise O’Brien’s self-appointed task of reminding Southern nationalism of the blockage to its dreams constituted by Northern Unionism, then Deane’s project has been to remind the Southern state of what it has forgotten or betrayed in Northern nationalism. [213]

In [his] first Field Day] pamphlet, Deane suggests that the apparatus set up by the British state in the nineteenth century of poor houses, national primary schools, a national police force, the Ordnance Survey amounts to the creation of a grid of Foucauldian [213] “power-knowledge”, that permitted both a modernisation of Irish society and the creation of the necessary but refractory “other”, over against which British identity could be constructed. What Donoghue failed to notice [in his Afterword to the Field Day pamphlets] is Deane’s application of Foucault in the colonial setting. [214]

Deane has pursued a critical project of questioning the idea of modernisation in Ireland and in Irish literary culture [215] a critique of modernity insofar as it recognises modernity in Ireland as having always [been] compromised by its colonial source, which has meant that it has not been a modernity of which the Irish have been the agents, or a narrative of which the Irish have been the subjectss, except in the form of the final conservation modernisation represented by nineteenth-century nationalism. What makes this writing powerful, both as a form of cultural history but also as an intervention into the contemporary public sphere, is the Saidian manner of bringing it to bear on the present, and specifically the Northern present. The Field Day pamphleteers, of which Deane is clearly the chief, have the audacity to bring the Northern crisis into a kind of collision [215] with the cosy assumptions of a Republic more interested in its own embourgeoisement. The problem is also that this enunciative location of the Field Day discourse allows Southern liberals to dismiss it, as Edna Longley has done the Anthology, as a “Derry metanarrative”.’ (Longley, 1994, p.39; here pp.215-16.)

Notes Terence Brown’s title-phrase about ‘Yeats, Joyce and the Irish Critical Debate’ (Literature’s Ireland, 1988, p.77-90) [217] and takes issue with is account of Deane’s work in Heroic Styles as an perpetuation of the familiar opposition: ‘This is the playing off of Joyce and Yeats, that has been performed since O’Faolain and O’Connor in the nineteen-forties. In this opposition, Joyce is held to represent a polyvalent, democratic answer, with his parodying of an array of styles, his celebration of the everyday and his semantic indeterminacy, to Yeats’s authoritarian mythic elistist univocal literary historiography.’ [216]

Brown sees in Deane’s assault on Yeats’s “pathology of literary unionism” a sectarian hostility to Anglo-Ireland comparable to that of [Daniel] Corkery [...] Deane resents this comparison he rightly sees in Corkery a valorisation of identity that he (Deane) has made it is concern to revise. In the latter’s famous trio of [...] “land, nationalism and Roman Catholicism” [...] Deane sees the “hungry Hegelian ghost” of “the idea of essence” as that which defines culture (Deane, 1986b., p.58.) Brown fails to recognise that Deane has been trying to lay that ghost.’[216]

Deane refuses to indulge in the full endorsement of Joyce that others have, since he is worried that the harmony produced by Joyce’s pluralism of languages and styles and his omnivorous narrative systems is the “harmony of indifference”, where “everything is a version of something else”, where sameness rules over diversity, where contradiction is finally and disquietingly written out.” (Deane, Heroic Styles, in Field Day Theatre Company, 1986, p.56; here 217.) [Note the term indifference and its later recrudescences.]

Deane demonstrates Joyce’s difference from Arnoldian cultural liberalism, which embraced the Hellenisation of England and the Celticisation of Ireland. To reject the latter is also to reject the former, and this is what Joyce achieved. He famously had no time for the Celticism of Yeats and the Revivalists, but he also saw that it was derived from Arnold’s opposition of Hellenicistic and Beraix culture. In Joyce’s repudiation of Celtic heroicism, essentialism, even racism, he was at the same time effecting a critique of the Arnoldian idea of culture as discourse that could help bind the English middle classes to their poorer countrymen. To this extent, Joyce becomes an anti-hegemonic writer, since Arnold was never less than sure that culture was a force for the state, the stating being the material manifestation of man’s best self. [217]

Deane v. Moretti [217]

Deane ... has a sense of cultural tradition as a terrain that is vulnerable to the embalming gestures of institutional and specifically metropolitan history. He is interested in what is lost in the production of “past-centred” history ... Deane has meditated at length, in these essays, on the relationship between history-as-text and history-as-experience, and in an Ireland where “history” is associated with either Northern violence or the allegedly repressive and backward period that came between Independence and the Lemass/Whitaker initiative, this is a position that has won him many enemies. [sentence sic.; 219.]

Quotes Colm Tóibín: ‘Unreconstructed Irish Nationalists have always had real difficulties with the 26 Counties. The 26 Counties are limbo, they believe, waiting for the day when our island will be united and the British will leave. This leaves out any idea that Southern Ireland has been forming its own habits and going its own way.’ (Tóibín, ‘Confusion of literary traditions’, Sunday Independent, 24 Nov. 1991, p.8; here p.219.) Further quotes: ‘the social and cultural revolution of the 1960s has left the artists in the Field Day group singularly unmoved ... They write as though nothing had changed: their Ireland is distinctly pre-decimal. Thus England is the problem and the enemy (and the dramatic other).’ (review of fifth series of Field Day pamphs. in Fortnight, No. 271, March 1989, p.21; here p.219.)

Charges Tóibín of participating in ‘an ideological project of hear McCarthyite proportions’ and an exponent of ‘Southern partitionism’ along with C. C. O’Brien, Ronan Fanning, and Eamon Dunphy in attacks on John Hume, Gerry Adams, and the Roman Catholic Church [220] Further, ‘Tóibín’s “social and cultural revolution” seems to lack any trace of international consciousness, any awareness of the American Civil Rights movement, of the anti-Vietnam war movement, of the Paris soixante-huitards. Tóibín seems to forget also that it was the singularly conservative revolution of the 1960s in the Republic that brought to power the corrupt or ineffectual political generation of the 1980s, in the form of Haughey (in Fianna Fáil) and Fitzgerald (in Fianna Gael). Tóibín’s implicit defence of the [220] mediocrities of the Southern state is congruent with the narrow sense of modernity I outlined earlier and suggests a disappointment that the 1960s change might have involved more than the bourgeois liberation of the humanist individual form “ideologies” of church, land, nation, language and class into a kind of consumerist democracy. The problem is that while this may have been the case in the South, it did not obtain in the North.’ [221].

Deane is sympathetic to anti-humanist strains in critical thought ... because he came to maturity in the era of the high institutional tide of Western humanism. His background put him outside the comfortable stabilities of 1960s modernisation in Ireland, North and South, and predisposes him to look at its legacy askance. His alienation in the Northern Ireland of the 1950s and 2960s has been matched by his sense of intellectual dislocation in the Republic in the 1970s and 1980s. Hence his sympathy to strains of thought critical of modernity; be they Marxist or postructuralist. [221]

But it is precisely this contradictory relationship to nationalism that makes Deane’s writing unsettling and power. It is also this that makes his under-theorisation of his own institutional location, and its relationship to his hermeneutic and intellectual practice all the more disappointing ... it is disappoint to see little evidence of his own role in displacing that [Anglo-Irish] tradition. [222]

Discusses the Fifth Province and links it with Deane’s epithet, ‘unblemished by Irishness, but securely Irish’.

[...] Deane and his colleagues display their inability to shake off their origins, be those origins political (nationalism) or institutional (the realm of academia, the discourses of literature, or high culture). [223]

Links him with Edna Longley in remarking: ‘In their enthusiasm to quarrel over ideologically driven criticism, over aesthetic ideologies, they never seem to pause to consider the “culture industry” or literary culture as an ideological apparatus, though such approaches are often implicit in Deane. [223]

[W]hile Deane sees culture as a realm of exclusion and force, and Longley sees it as a realm of transcendence and reconciliation, they both see it as primarily textual, making little allowance for a broader, anthropological sense of “culture”, or for culture as an element of a mass consumer society. To this extent they conform to O’Dowd’s thesis [...; 224]

it must be remembered that the versions of identity set out by intellectuals reflect their own place in the social structure [224]

Criticisms of Deane: ‘firstly the island-based imaginative geography is not questioned .. Secondly, if the stereotypes examined are those of the nation, the nation is taken as given’ [225]

must be capable of projecting all mentalities on the “island” [225]

McCormack identified areas to be addressed: ‘(a) the Irish language as cultural totem in the nationalist view of things, and as irritant in the Unionist view; (b) the role of the Catholic Church in political and social life north and south of the Border; (c) the whole question of social class as an alternative denomination in describing society; (d) the population explosion in the South, especially among the urban young; (e) nuclear energy, neutrality and US/British defence interests in Ireland. The core of these (as yet) unattended issues is the nature, existence and future viability of the nation-state.’ (Battle of the Books, p.55; here p.227.)

urgently need to produce a sociology of Irish intellectuals, that tries to explain their recent trajectory, in the academy and outside of it, their relationship to the authority of the State and to corporate capital, and the ways that these trajectories and relationships are in turn related to their interpretative scholarly and pedagogical practices. [228]

Ends by quoting Deane: ‘We do not only read and write history; history also reads and writes us.’ (Deane, ‘Whatever is Green is Red’, 1994, p.245.)


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