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Benedict Kiely's Troubles Fiction: From Postcolonialism to Postmodernism

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Kennedy-Andrews, Elmer (2008) Benedict Kiely's Troubles Fiction: From Postcolonialism to Postmodernism. Irish University Review, 38 (1). pp. 98-120. [Journal article]

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Abstract

This essay traces a development in Kiely's work from the polemical, intensely nationalistic Counties of Contention: A Study of the Origins and Implications of the Partition of Ireland (1945), through the post-revolutionary 'rebel' narrative of his first novel Land Without Stars (1946) which begins to question nationalist orthodoxy, to the excoriation of militant Irish republicanism in Proxopera (1977), to the postmodernism of Nothing Happens in Carmincross (1985). Where his earlier novels and stories followed the assumptions about Irish writing which underpinned his study, Modern Irish Fiction, namely, that it was the job of Irish writers to reveal the universal truth of specific (Irish) individuals' struggle in a hostile (Irish) world, his latest work, imbued with the postmodern spirit, challenges the very foundations of accepted notions of what constitutes the (Irish) individual and his (Irish) world - not necessarily to demolish the concepts of the individual, society, nation, identity, or humanity, but to redefine them. Nothing Happens in Carmincross is seen to represent a strand of self-reflexive writing which is critical of realist premises and deconstructs the usual relationships which exist betweem text and reader, language and reality, fiction and history. In this novel Kiely accepts the urgent new challenge of experimenting with the possibilities of remapping identity, rewriting history and reinventing the language of the Troubles.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Benedict Kiely; postcolonialism; postmodernism
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Arts > School of English and History
Research Institutes and Groups:Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Arts and Humanities Research Institute > English
ID Code:13998
Deposited By:Professor Elmer Kennedy-Andrews
Deposited On:01 Jun 2010 09:41
Last Modified:01 Jun 2010 09:41

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