Patrick Ward, Exile, Emigration and Irish Writing (Dublin IAP 2002)

Patrick Ward, Exile, Emigration and Irish Writing (Dublin IAP 2002), 298pp. Contents incl. The Concept of Exile: Critical Constructions [1]; Exile in the Irish Language Tradition and in English Language Tradition Prior to the Famine [27]; Nationalist Constructions: Famine and Fenianism; Feelings and Forms [91]; Holy Ireland: Constructions, Omissions, Evasions, Resistance [132]; Exile, Art and Alienation: George Moore’s Irish Writings [182]; The Exile Writes Back: Artists, Escape, Representations and Exilic Studies [232].

Discussion of William Drennan’s ‘The Wake of William Orr’: ‘Out of dystopian chaos of irrationality, arbitrary injustice and casual cruelty, he prays for a new creation … Drennan’s appeal is to a shared future rather than a fragmented, nightmarish past from which he was necessarily excluded. His past, his history, had to be in a sense erased to effect any kind of union with the Catholic oppressed. This meant that freedom and harmony inevitably had to be projected onto a millenarian future. He was perhaps naïve in his aspirations and like Edgeworth ignorant of the depth and difference of Irish feeling. Like [sic, for unlike] most of the United Irish leadership however, he survived the rising and its savage reprisals with his life and limbs intact and his liberty unimpaired.’ (p.71.)

Quotes Synge: ‘I believe in Ireland I believe the nation that has made a place in history by the seventeen centuries of manhood, a nation that has begotten Grattan and Emmet and Parnell will not be brought to complete insanity in these days by what is senile and slobbering in the doctrine of the Gaelic league. There was never till this time a movement in Ireland that was gushing, cowardly and maudlin, yet now we are passing England in the hysteria of old women’s talk.’ (Prose, Works, II, pp.399-400; here p.167.)

Chap: ‘Exile, Art and Alienation: George Moore’s Irish Writings’, pp.182-231). ‘Moore with his aptitude for excess became a triple “exile”, alienated from Ireland, France and England, displaying and living out all the characteristics of Said’s intellectual exile. He existed in a metaphorical exile as an “outsider”, one who never fully adjusted to the trappings of “!accommodation and national well-being”. He was restless, unsettled, one who succeeded in unsettling others and one who could not return “home”. He was an artist for whom writing became a place to live. Moore’s art was predicated on dissatisfaction, on “the idea of unhappiness” and duality of vision, a hybrid and dialogic presupposition of comparison and conflict between Ireland, France and England, between the quotidian and the élite.’ (p.231.)

Quotes Eagleton: ‘[In Moore] style becomes a kind of willed repression or amnesia, a scrupulously externalising medium which sets its face against portentous metaphysical depth and operates as suavely ironic detachment from historical reality.’ (The Anglo-Irish Novel, p.216; here p.231.)

Quotes Mitchel on Mangan: ‘For this Mangan was not only an Irishman, not only an Irish papist, not only an Irish papist rebel, but throughout his whole literary life of twenty years he never deigned to attorn to English criticism, never published a line in any English periodical, or through any English bookseller, never seemed to be aware that there was a British public to please. He was a rebel politically, [101] and a rebel intellectually and spiritually a rebel with his whole heart and soul against the whole British spirit of the age.’ (Poems, p.xxviii.) Further, ‘No purer and more benignant spirit ever alighted upon earth - no more abandoned wretch ever found earth a purgatory and a hell.’ (p.xxxv); ‘for his history and fate were indeed a type and shadow of the land he loved so well. The very soul of his melody is that plaintive and passionate yearning which breathes and throbs through all the music of Ireland. Like Ireland’s his gaze was ever backward, with vain and feeble complaint for vanished years. Like Ireland’s, his light flickered upwards for a moment, and went out in the blackness and darkness.’ (p.xxxvii). [All here pp.101-02.]


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