Becker, Daniel:

On the Threshold of Memory

National History and Liminal Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Poetry

Irish Studies in Europe is the title of a series of peer-reviewed academic publications in Irish Studies whose thematic and methodological range goes well beyond literary studies to include aspects of cultural studies in the broadest sense. The main emphasis is, of course, on the island of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) as well as the Irish diaspora in all aspects of society, history, culture, literature, the arts, and the media.

The “European” dimension suggested by the series title is an indication of a prioritised, but by no means exclusive, concentration on (mainland) European perspectives on Irish Studies. It is hoped that such an “etic” approach, as it were, may contribute a special dimension to the progress of Irish Studies at large and document the variety of European traditions of Irish Studies as inter- and multi-disciplinary fields of research, study, and teaching. Thus, the programme of this series is a deliberate reflection of the objectives of The European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS), under whose aegis the series is published.

Whether in the form of idealised ancient times or the representation of more recent political events, Irish national history often obtained a central position in the work of many Irish poets throughout the twentieth century. In more recent years, however, these strong ties between poetry and history appear to have been severed: As current research suggests, many contemporary Irish poets, who started publishing their works around the year 2000, have turned their poetic focus away from national concerns and, thus, have exchanged the topic of Irish national history for a more 'post-national' present-day perspective. Yet, this impression is misleading, as the present book will show. By analysing selected poems by Iggy McGovern, Tom French, Vona Groarke, Martina Evans, Leanne O’Sullivan, Paul Perry, Lorna Shaughnessy, Paula Cunningham, as well as the more intensively researched writers Paula Meehan and Paul Durcan, this study will argue that Irish history still finds its proper place in the work of contemporary Irish poets. More specifically, this book will focus on one of the most dominant ways of remembering Ireland's past in recent poetry: the negotiation of history via liminal remembrance, which refers to the observation that many contemporary Irish poems represent aspects of Irish history in between being remembered and being forgotten at the same time.

Contents (PDF)

ISBN 978-3-86821-893-0, kt., 188 S., 4 Abb., € 28,00 (2021)

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