Spring 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 2 Nonfiction |

New Ireland / Hidden Ireland: Reading Recent Irish Fiction

Reading Recent Irish Fiction Seeking the "lost land" of Ireland—a place of historical complexity and intense, if ambivalent, personal significance—poet Eavan Boland recalls first a Dublin street "of statues: / iron orators and granite patriots. / Arms wide. Lips apart. Last words" ("Unheroic," 6). Such a public thoroughfare is perhaps what evokes Ireland for most Americans, and indeed, from the vantage point of the nation's coming of age as a European state, not a former British colony, Irish identity might seem as secure, perhaps as banal, as a street full of monuments. Yet Boland is haunted by an alternate vision: the incidental memory of a man, a hotel resident, who "finished / his day of ledgers and telephones" to return to his room and secretly tend "a wound / from war or illness—no one seemed sure / which would not heal." When she seeks the "difficult knowledge" of her own country, Boland probes beyond the iron-hewn "certainties" of "Ireland hero history" to uncover

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Kenyon Review logo
Kim McMullen has been a member of the Kenyon English department since 1984, teaching courses in twentieth-century Irish literature, postmodern narrative, American modernism, American studies and James Joyce. Interested in the intersection of gender and nationality in contemporary Irish culture, she is currently completing a book entitled "Decolonizing Rosaleen: Gender, Sexuality, and Nationality in Contemporary Irish Literature and Film." Other research interests include the Irish literary heritage industry, the poetry of Eavan Boland and recent Irish fiction.

Read More

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.