This collection of fourteen substantial essays has been designed to map the landscape of Irish fiction since 1960, and to assess the extraordinary literary achievement of Irish novelists and short story writers, North and South of the border, over the last forty years.
As this volume demonstrates, Irish novelists and short story writers since 1960 have both continued and challenged conventional notions of Irish fiction; and they have contributed, in stimulating and inventive style, to the continuous examination of Irish identity, culture and politics, while making their fiction resonate with wide cultural, intellectual and human interest.
The book includes essays which focus on major individual writers - Samuel Beckett, Brian Moore, Jennifer Johnston, Maurice Leitch, John McGahern, Patrick McGinley and John Banville. There are also general essays of a more explicitly comparative and thematic nature covering such topics as the impact of modernisation on Irish fiction, the contemporary ‘Big House’ novel, the Protstant imagination, the ‘Troubles’ Novel, the importance of the past, childhood and women’s narratives, constructions of masculinity, and women short story writers. By closely analysing key texts, exploring the relationships between texts, and also between texts and their social, cultural and political contexts, and by examining significant themes and preoccupations, these essays offer valuable insights into the variety and complexity of modern Irish fiction from a range of viewpoints.
Introduction: The New Humanism. Elmer Kennedy-Andrews
Part 1: Thematic and Comparative Studies
‘Something important had changed’: Modernisation and Irish Fiction since 1960. Patrick Walsh
Ivy over Imperial Ireland: The Irish Big House Novel since 1960. Robin Marsh
‘Fabled by the Daughters of Memory’: History as Nightmare in Contemporary Irish Fiction. Robert Garratt
Shadows of the Gunmen: The Troubles Novel. Elmer Kennedy-Andrews
How I Achieved this Trick’: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary Irish Fiction. Eamonn Hughes
To Say ‘I’: Female Identity in The Maid’s Tale and The Wig my Father Wore. Heidi Hansson
Part 2: Individual Author studies
Beckett after 1960: A Post-Humanist Context. Paul Davies
The Art of Science: Banville’s Doctor Copernicus. Declan Kiberd
‘A Shocking Libel on the People of Donegal’? The Novels of Patrick McGinley. John Goodby and Jo Furber
Form, Theme and Genre: The Importance of Catholics in Brian Moore’s Work. Kathleen Devine
The Remains of Protestantism in Maurice Leitch’s Fiction. Barry Sloan
Jennifer Johnston: Tremors of Memory. Richard York
‘All Toppers’: Children in the Fiction of John McGahern. Patrick Crotty