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Northern Irish Literature, 1956-2006: The Imprint of History (v. 1 & 2)
The two volumes which make up Northern Irish Literature 1956-2006: The Imprint of History identify the contexts for literary production over the past fifty years, and address the troubled intersections where literature, history and politics meet. Chapters focus on a particular phase of the 'Troubles', offering detailed readings of both canonical and...
The two volumes which make up Northern Irish Literature 1956-2006: The Imprint of History identify the contexts for literary production over the past fifty years, and address the troubled intersections where literature, history and politics meet. Chapters focus on a particular phase of the 'Troubles', offering detailed readings of both canonical and less-known texts by writers from different traditions and generations. Unlike existing studies, which are generally confined to a single author or genre, these volumes explore the diversity of Northern Irish literature and demonstrate how writers and texts continue to engage in enriching, insightful dialogue. The first volume begins with the economic decline of the mid-1950s and identifies this, along with Britain's policy of decolonisation and the growth of ecumenism, as a major factor in the subsequent conflict. The crisis within unionism coincided with a period of reconfiguration within the nationalist community. The book examines how these growing tensions were depicted in drama, fiction and poetry, and the different strategies deployed by writers in attempting to represent the accelerating political collapse, polarisation and violence. It celebrates their exemplary attempts at creating a literature able to confront and counter the viciousness and injustice abroad in the province, and change perceptual angles. The second volume examines the political and cultural reconfigurations which frame the literary texts between 1975 and 2006, such as the hunger strikes of 1980-81, the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, the growing dialogue between the SDLP and Sinn Fein, and increasing collaboration between British and Irish governments. It explores the quickenings in literature that accompanied the peace process, and alongside its discussion of the responses of high profile figures like Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon to the changing political narrative, it attends to the work of less well-known authors like Deirdre Madden, Ruth Carr and Frank Ormsby, and to the emergence of a new generation of writers, such as Gary Mitchell and Sinead Morrissey. It demonstrates in particular how as the voices and perspectives of women have gained sustained attention since the 1980s, issues of gender have come increasingly to the fore in Northern Irish writing.
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