Memory Ireland Volume 3
The Famine and the Troubles
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Syracuse University Press
Front Flap, Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright
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A project such as this one cannot be completed without the support of many people, and I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth: Amanda Bent, Conrad Brustrom, Joe Cleary, Denis Condon, Íde Corley, Michael G. Cronin, Peter Denman, Luke Gibbons, Colin Graham, Kylie Jarrett, Sinéad Kennedy, Eva Lindroos, Conor McCarthy, Janeen...
Introduction: Cruxesin Irish Cultural MemoryThe Famine and the Troubles
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This third volume of Irish Cultural Memory sets out to focus on two periods that form what I call “memory cruxes” within the broader memory bank of Irish cultural experience. In an obvious way, just as there are particular moments that stand out in the individual memory over time, there are also moments that can be identifi ed as particularly important in the cultural memory of a group. These...
The Famine and Memory
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1 The Indigent Sublime Specters of Irish Hunger
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The problem is, surely, how to address redress with adequate justice. Redress assumes, not a saving intervention that might prevent acts of violence and expropriation in the present, but an address to the past from which we are disjoined by the very history of which effective violence is a constitutive part. In relation to the violence of the past, we seem helpless, impotent to set right the injustice that has so forcefully shaped the very times that we inhabit. Suspended between...
2 The Starvation of a ManTerence MacSwiney and Famine Memory
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In the fall of 1920, daily newspapers around the world told the story of the starvation of a man. The death of Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, on October 25, 1920, the seventy-fourth day of his hunger strike in England’s Brixton prison, spurred an unprecedented level of collective mourning in the Irish diaspora; as such, it remains a unique event in Irish and Irish American...
3 Commemorating the Great Irish Famine1840s–1990s
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“Irish anniversaries,” according to historian Ian McBride, “have an uncanny way of making history themselves” (McBride 2001, 304). Introducing a collection of essays entitled History and Memory in Modern Ireland, McBride observes, “In Ireland, as is well known, the interpretation of the past has always been at the heart of national conflict . . . What is so striking about the Irish case...
4 Photography and th eVisual Legacy of Famine
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The question “Why are there no photographs of the Famine?” appears, at the outset, to be one easily answered. With photography in its infancy in Ireland (invented only in 1839 and in limited practice by the mid-1840s, primarily by wealthy Anglo-Irish hobbyists and a small handful of enthusiasts and budding entrepreneurs1), very few of the extant images dating to the Famine period deal in any way...
5 Memory in Irish Culture An Exploration
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One of Ireland’s earliest texts is the Book of Invasions, which records a genealogy of incursion and settlement for early Ireland. Already present is a mixing of history—telling it as it happened—and fiction—telling it as if it happened: for in those ancient times the boundary between empirical fact and cultural imagination was often blurred. When...
6 Narrating Sites of History Workhouses and Famine Memory
NIAMH ANN KELLY
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Emblematic of a dark period in a troubled colonization, the workhouse is a dirty word in Irish history. Its system, buildings, and sites comprise a challenging representational struggle between erasure and reconstruction in remembrance. Workhouses took years to build, employed thousands in the building pr....
7 Ethnostalgia Irish Hunger and Traumatic Memory
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Trauma theory made its debut in Irish studies during the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Great Famine (1846–49). A critical genealogy of this intervention will help to clarify the potential, the limitations, the dangers, and above all the ideological stakes and motives of this recent addition to the arsenal of nationalist historiography and cultural analysis. Among the...
Northern Ireland and Memory
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8 Life-Stories, Survivor Memory, and Trauma in the Irish Troubles The Case of Bloody Sunday
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Since the 1994 paramilitary ceasefi res, the Irish peace process has stimulated a fl owering of practices of history-making, remembrance, and commemoration concerned with the legacy of the Troubles in “post-conflict” Northern Ireland.1 Much of this work has taken the form of oral-history and life-history narrative that enables personal reflection on the significance of violent conflict in the recent past and reassessment of its impact upon individuals, families, and...
9 Vestiges Poems as Afterlives, A Reading
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“At certain periods of history,” writes the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, “it is only poetry that is capable of dealing with reality by condensing it into something graspable, something that otherwise couldn’t be retained by the mind” (Brodsky 1986, 52). The word that sparks this essay is “retained” rather than the inherently grander claims of Brodsky’s statement, claims that one can only fully understand and relate to the traditions of Russian poetry, instead of the slightly..
10 At Vision’s Edge Post-Conflict Memory and Art Practice in Northern Ireland
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The past is always present in Northern Ireland, structuring everyday experience to a degree not generally found elsewhere. In a society where historical events are continually relevant to contemporary life, both cultural memory and processes of memorialization become significant means whereby people live out their identities. In turn, this level of awareness also informs aspects of the visual: artists are not separate from the culture they inhabit but are equally formed by its...
11 The Language of Memory Translation, Transgression, Transcendence
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The Field Day Theatre Company, originating in Derry in the throes of the Troubles in 1980, set out with the express purpose of discovering a new language for the expression of Irish cultural memory. Field Day’s mission was “to contribute to the solution of the present crisis by producing analysis of the established opinions, myths and stereotypes which had become both a symptom and a cause of the current situation” (Deane 1985b, blurb). The intention was to try to open...
12 The Irreversible and the Irrevocable Encircling Trauma in Contemporary Northern Irish Literature
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Invoking Stephen Dedalus’s plaint in James Joyce’s Ulysses that “History . . . is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” (U 2.377), Joep Leerssen has argued that Irish history is often defined as a “traumatic paradigm,” with history presenting “a nightmarish burden of uncanny familiarity, repeating the same dreary pattern . . . over and over again, as in a neurosis or a nightmare” (Leerssen 1998, 45). Howeve...
13 Forget 1690, Remember the Somme Ulster Loyalist Battles in the Twenty-fi rst Century
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The first two weeks in July in Northern Ireland are colorful.1 Two key commemorative days take place in the calendar of people who see themselves as British, loyalist, unionist, and Ulstermen. On July 1, the Battle of the Somme, 1916, is remembered through parades, church services, and wreath laying ceremonies, and eleven days later, on July twelfth, the Battle of the Boyne, 1690, is remembered...
14 Noncombatants and Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland
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Studies broadly examining post-Troubles memorialization (Brown and MacGinty 2003; Viggiani 2006) or specifically homing in on the commemoration of Republican and Loyalist casualties are starting to emerge (Rolston 2003; Jarman 1999; Brown and Viggiani 2010; Brown 2007; McDowell 2007; Graham and Whelan 2007), as is, to a lesser degree, the remembrance of the security force dead (Switzer 2006). The attention given to political or paramilitary commemoration refl...
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Back Flap, Back Cover
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Page Count: 376
Illustrations: 22 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2014
Series Title: Irish Studies
Series Editor Byline: Jim MacKillop