Irish University Review

Published by Edinburgh University Press
Print ISSN: 0021-1427
Publications
It might be argued that Northern Ireland--a territorial and signifying space whose meanings and boundaries have been so violently contested, a body politic sustained and racked by anomalous and permeable partition--has been in the condition of abjection since its foundation. Against this disorder, Northern Irish writing has often been posited as a purifying, redemptive force, able to 'hold a plea' with the rage of conflict and crisis. (1) Yet, for Julia Kristeva, it is literature that carries the full power of abjection into effect; all literature...
 
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published [following peer-review] in Irish University Review: a Journal of Irish Studies, published by and copyright Irish University Review.
 
This article solely focuses on Seamus Heaney's ‘Route 110’ sequence from his final collection of poetry, Human Chain. The sequence is broadly founded in memory and sees the poet revisit a series of significant instances from his life. It can be argued that this poem is an elegy, not only in the sense of mourning someone else, but also an elegy for the self and for the past. ‘Route 110’ sees the poet reflect on life from the perspective that comes with experience. Notions of birth and rebirth, allusions to classical myth, and lamentation feature prominently throughout the course of the sequence.
 
The mass drowning of Protestants in Portadown is the defining cultural memory of the 1641 rebellion, yet it is a little known and highly contested incident. In this essay I return to the earliest recorded memories of the massacre found among the 1641 depositions to show how the Portadown drownings were represented by eyewitnesses as well as through rumour and hearsay; by survivors and by the bereaved; by refugees speaking within weeks and months of the event, to those recalling the event over a decade later. Identifying different 'stories' of the atrocity, and considering how they were shaped by time and circumstance, I discuss how a range of deponents diversely remembered the Portadown atrocity, and illuminate the tensions, inconsistencies and contradictions in their memories. By recovering part of the history of 1641 memories, I suggest that the 1641 depositions are a rich resource for memories of the rebellion but not its 'facts'.
 
There is very little eighteenth-century Roman Catholic fiction in English. The reasons are not hard to understand. Anti-Catholic penal laws existed not only in Ireland but in Great Britain also, enshrined in the English Popery Act of 1698, itself extended to Scotland after the Union of 1707. The first Catholic novel in English is usually considered to be Elizabeth Inchbald's A Simple Story (London, 1791).1 In Ireland, a predominantly Irish-speaking as well as Roman Catholic country, the absence of Catholic fiction is still less surprising than in the case of the neighbouring island.2 Even so, recent research on eighteenth-century Irish print culture has noted the emergence of an affluent middle-class Catholic English-speaking readership in urban centres, and particularly in Dublin.3 As the century went on, Irish Catholic readers expanded their English-language reading beyond religious works to become consumers of the varieties of print culture available in the country.4 As early as 1735, the Catholic bookseller James Hoey, Senior, opened a Dublin lending library for novels and romances.5 And it was Hoey's son, James Hoey, Junior, who in 1770, published The History of Mr. Charles Fitzgerald and Miss Sarah Stapleton, a Catholic novel that is, in its own satiric and parodic ways, an extremely subversive one. This essay seeks both to recover this forgotten novel and to examine the literary, religious, and cultural contexts in which it appeared.
 
What happens to memories when migrants carry their pasts with them to their receiving countries? How do these migrated memories of a past originally connected to the native country develop when they intersect with the cultural legacies of other communities? Fiction which remembers Ireland's Great Famine and which was written between 1854 and 1890 provides an interesting case study to explore these questions: many novels and short stories which recollected the bleak years of mass starvation were written and published in North-America, the continent where the largest percentage of emigrants of the Famine generation settled. As this article will demonstrate, these early works of Famine fiction frequently testify to the 'multidirectional' (Rothberg 2009) nature of memory in cultural transfer, in that reconfigurations of the Famine past interact with memories of the Middle Passage and current as well as past debates on slavery in the American South.
 
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