Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 August 2021
The 1999 publication of Pascale Casanova’s The World Republic of Letters (translation, 2004) accorded Ireland and Irish writers an unusually high profile among world literature studies. In chapter 10 of that volume, entitled “The Irish Paradigm,” Casanova foregrounded the achievement of the Irish Literary Revival as what she termed “a compact history of the revolt against the literary order.” This chapter examines the value and limitations of Casanova’s reading as part of a broader examination of the pertinence of terms such as “national,” “international” and “transnational” with respect to Irish writing. It focuses on three case studies: firstly, the historical relationship between Irish fiction and the subject of empire, as exemplified by the work of nineteenth-century novelist Maria Edgeworth. Secondly, it examines the work of W.B. Yeats, most famous writer of the Irish Revival, and his critical status as poet of decolonization and exemplar of transnational poetics. Finally, the transnational character of contemporary Irish fiction is discussed, including recent writings by writers Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Mike McCormack and Melatu Uche Okorie.