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Chapter 14 - Split Selves and Double Consciousness in Recent Irish Fiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2024

Malcolm Sen
Affiliation:
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Julie McCormick Weng
Affiliation:
Texas State University
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Summary

This chapter examines Donal Ryan’s From A Low and Quiet Sea (2018), Melatu Uche Okorie’s This Hostel Life (2018), and Correspondences (2019). These three publications offer insight into the directions being taken by contemporary Irish literature to address the absence of Black and minority ethnic peoples from Irish literature. Despite an ongoing boom in Irish publishing that has seen the global success of many authors, Irish literature continues to demonstrate a preoccupation with notions of Irishness rooted in the Irish literary Revival of the turn of the twentieth century. This essay questions the continuing whiteness of Irish literature through an examination of two recent exceptions in Irish publishing, which, in their inclusion of people of color, challenge comfortable notions of what Irish literature comprises. These texts force readers to confront issues of silencing and traumatic cultural absence for people of color in Ireland, raising important questions about a contemporary Ireland that is often congratulated for its liberal-mindedness.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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