Irish Cosmopolitanism: Location and Dislocation in James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett
By: Nels Pearson (author)Hardback
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Looking at the writing of three Irish expatriates who lived in Trieste, London, and Paris, Nels Pearson challenges conventional critical trends that view their work as either affirming Irish anticolonial sentiment or embracing international identity. In reality, he argues, these writers work constantly back and forth between a sense of national belonging that remains incomplete and ideas of human universality tied to their new global environments. For these and many other Irish writers, national and international concerns do not conflict, but overlap-and the interplay between them motivates Irish modernism. Joyce's Ulysses strives to articulate the interdependence of an Irish identity and a universal perspective. Bowen's exiled, unrooted characters were never firmly rooted in the first place. And in Beckett, the unsettled origin is felt most keenly when it is abandoned for exile. These writers demonstrate the displacement felt by many Irish citizens in an ever-changing Ireland unsteadied by long and turbulent decolonization. Ultimately, their work displays a twofold struggle to pinpoint national identity while adapting to a fluid cosmopolitan world.
Nels Pearson is professor of English and director of the Program in Irish Studies at Fairfield University, USA. He is coeditor of Detective Fiction in a Postcolonial and Transnational World.
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- ID: 9780813060521
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