John McGahern and modernity: reshaping the Irish literary landscape

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Wu, Yen-Chi
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University College Cork
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This study examines John McGahern’s career trajectory in relation to the changing Irish historical context and literary landscape in the latter half of the twentieth century. Drawing on scholarship of new modernist studies, I argue that McGahern’s seemingly regressive career trajectory from social realism to revivalism is a sustained and subtle engagement with Ireland’s modernization. In the Irish context, new modernist studies has contributed to reshaping the relationships between revivalism, modernism, and social realism, which become more intertwined than linear. With the incorporation of postcolonial theory, moreover, it helps us to reconsider the experience of modernity in terms of plural time (where the modern and the nonmodern compete with each other) and multi-layered place (where the local is deeply tied to the global). Building on existing McGahern scholarship, this thesis intends to map his career trajectory onto a reconfigured Irish literary landscape, and to highlight his investment in the modern experience of space and time.
John McGahern , Irish literature , Modernism , Modernity , Postcolonial criticism
Wu, Y-C. 2019. John McGahern and modernity: reshaping the Irish literary landscape. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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