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Chapter 3 - Irish Writers and Europe

from Part I - After the War: Ideologies in Transition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2020

Eve Patten
Affiliation:
Trinity College Dublin
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Summary

This chapter examines the way in which Irish writing throughout the middle decades of the century negotiated a national identity in tension with a European sensibility. The Continental dimensions of many key Irish texts, such as Kate O’Brien’s The Land of Spices (1941), or the European locations of Irish émigré writers such as Samuel Beckett and Thomas McGreevy, need to be expanded into a full account of the country’s brokerage of European ideas, philosophies and intellectual stimuli. The Ireland that ‘froze for want of Europe’, in Patrick Kavanagh’s 1942 ‘Lough Derg’, emerged over these decades towards integration of various kinds, as reflected consistently in the work of writers such as Hubert Butler. In 1973, Ireland’s accession to membership of the European Economic Community marked a stepping stone in diplomatic and trade relations; how, in turn, does the writing examined in this chapter support the concept of the ‘Irish European’, and what implications does this have for outlines of a ‘national’ literary tradition?

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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