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. . . in the mass, are almost uncivilized. Like children, they require governing with the hand of power. They require authority and will bear it. (Cited in Hazel Waters, 99)From the 1840s to the 1880s, this ideological stance also found visual form in illustrations by Sir John Tenniel and others for the British magazine Punch.
Britain is depicted in its feminine aspect as the Athena-like Britannia (Figs. 1 and 4), and in its masculine aspect as the sometimes stern, sometimes avuncular John Bull (Figs. 2 and 3). The feminine aspect of Ireland is the delicate Hibernia, who needs the protection of her older, stronger sister (Fig. 1) or the medical advice of Dr. Bull (Fig. 3). A revolting Land League anarchist (Fig. 1) supplies one version of the masculine aspect of Ireland. In two Tenniel cartoons from the 1860s, the masculinized emblematization of Ireland is infantilized (Figs. 3 and 4). Rather than having (like Britain) two adult representatives, Ireland is here personified as both an adult woman and an unruly son. The child Ireland sometimes appears without his mother, as in a (non-Tenniel) 1851 cartoon that indirectly alludes to the Great Hunger and the Maynooth grants (Fig. 2).
They are like children still listening to old fairy stories while their bread has to be earned, they are like children who are afraid to walk alone, who play with fire, who are helpless; like children who will not grow up.In 1914, Walter Long described the Irish as being like naughty children, who think it is amusing to give way to their inclinations, while in 1915, the Countess of Leitrim argued for compulsory recruitment of the Irish for the Great War, because in so many ways they are like children & they dont understand an invitation where they would quietly obey an order (both cited in Curtis, 1968, 54).
But, like children too, they have a strange ancient wisdom and an innate purity, and they appeal to the love and the pity of all who come in contact with them.
What would I not give . . . to help them? But the task is very difficult, and if you give children complete freedom they will certainly stray. (Cited in Curtis, 1968, 53)
Half regretfully he stared at the silty water. He could see his father rising from the table to reach for the belt which hung behind the door. The outlook was frightening; but it was better to walk in your bare feet. It was better to walk without shoes and barefooted than to walk without dignity. He took off his stockings and stuffed them into his pocket. His heart sank as he felt the cold wet mud of the path on his bare feet. (56)
The Irish, he [Dillon] added sagaciously, are an unfortunate bloody race. The father often says so.The free indirect discourse of the final two sentences blends the perspectives of Peter and the narrator, underlining the boys possible status as a nation-child. Through the storys prominent use of Daviss poem, the defeat of a seventeenth-century hero is refracted through the idealizing lens of nineteenth-century patriotism only to illuminate the operation of new forms of internalized oppression in the twentieth century. What Eoghan Roe suffered at the hands of the British, Peter now suffers at the hands of his own people. Oliver Cromwell read his Bible while he quartered infants at their mothers breasts, claimed the teacher, but this imputed religious hypocrisy is recapitulated when ORourke pauses to lead the class in the Angelus prior to strapping Peter excessively. Brother Quinlan is infuriated by Swaines battered face, but cant recognize that deep inside him Peter felt battered too (54). Peters shame, the violence he suffers, the violence he inflicts, and his subsequent attempt to regain dignity by rejecting his ill-fitting paternal inheritance, allude in part to the political and psychological difficulties of finding ones own feet in a newly independent country.
Dont tell me, Peter said with feeling.
I mean, look at us. First Cromwell knocks hell out of us for being too Irish and then Rorky slaughters us for not being Irish enough.
It was true. It was a pity they couldnt make up their minds. (50)
He had started with a pure loving simple ideal but it had gone foul on him, turned inevitably into something evil. It had been like this all his life, with the Brothers, with the very country he came from. (152)This observation on the last page of the novel harks back to its opening pages: discussing the Provisional IRA campaign with Brother Benedict (the vicious, supercilious head of the reform school), Brother Sebastian had argued that anger and hatred spoil the purity of the [IRAs] vision and the result is evil (9). In Mac Lavertys fable, Owen Kane may to some degree stand in for the Northern Irish catholics, salvaged from one set of evil circumstances only to fall victim to another.
See were like a child thats been batteredIn Fools of Fortune, Imelda was not battered, but she was driven out of her head by the painful feelings suffered when she made contact with the memory of her parents experiences. In OConnors scenario, on the other hand, the child has had to shield herself psychologically from her own battering. In several interviews, OConnor has acknowledged personal reasons for being drawn to this analogy, specifically the various forms of abuse she suffered as a child from her mother. The ultimate blame for her mothers actions she lays at the feet of the Roman Catholic Church, as she obliquely indicated in a controversial appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II (see Cullingford, 1994, 57-61).
Has to drive itself out of its head because its frightened
Still feels all the painful feelings
But they lose contact with the memory
And if there ever is gonna be healingIn OConnors conception, the nineteenth-century infantilizing trope has been reworked: the Irish race is still like a child, but a child who has been abused, by the Roman Catholic Church, by the British, and then by Irish authority figures. The actors are virtually the same as in Fig. 4 (although the figure of Pope John Paul II would need to be added behind Britannia), but our sympathy is now requested for the child rather than the adults. Whereas some Irish feminist critics have tended to criticize the woman-nation equation, OConnor reclaims the stereotype:
There has to be remembering
And then grieving
So that there then can be FORGIVING
There has to be KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING
I have a friend who I argue about with this. And I say to him, I am Ireland. I was born and live here. Ive seeped in all these feelings that come from generations and generations. I watch whats going on and I see how it mirrors whats going on in my own life. I grew up in that house, which was Ireland. There were four children there. I feel a connection with the story of the Children of Lir, which also represent the four provinces of Ireland. (Waters, 1995, 1)Connor thus reads her personal history as an allegory of Ireland over the centuries, and vice-versa. Whereas the speaker in Eavan Bolands poem Mise Eire [I am Ireland] declares that she wont go back / My roots are brutal (1995a, 102), OConnor does go back, to Patrick Pearses poem I am Ireland (anthologized in Deane, 1991, II, 558), and to the sovereignty goddess tradition that lies behind it. She represents herself as both mother Ireland and battered child Ireland. According to OConnor, this is why the album that contains the song Famine is called Universal Mother: I wanted to mother people. But essentially its about mothering myself (Waters, 1995a, 2). Ireland could thus be said to be her inner child.
the ideology of colonialism is rooted in the Western concept of the child who needs to be guided, protected and educated as a ward. This metaphor is what drives the ideology of colonialism and modernity, a presumptuous paternalism which depicts the world of the colonised advancing dynamically towards the model of the coloniser as the human being develops from childhood to adulthood. There is no other way it can achieve progress. In a colonised society, the warped colonial view is transmitted through the warped relationship between parents and children. (Waters, 1994a, 195)In a series of opinion pieces published in The Irish Times between 1995 and 1997, and in his book An Intelligent Persons Guide to Ireland, Waters went on to assail what he termed the post-colonial mindset, which urges its bearer to give voice to the colonisers version of history (1995e, 12). He found a paradigm of this mind-set in revisionism, which, instead of detailing a value-free, non-tribal version of Irish history, supplied the historiographical needs of a new tribe of amnesiac neurotics (1995b, 14).
A nation, like an individual, has to be able to recount a reasonable story of itself, one without either despair or presumption. As long as it veers between idealization on the one hand and disavowal on the other, it will behave exactly like Freuds neurotic patient, afflicted by reminiscences. It will be incapable of working through the traumatic moments of its history, which must then either be jettisoned from the narrative in a strategy akin to what Freud calls secondary revision, or remain as a stone to trouble the living stream. (ix)Eagleton later employs Freuds revisionist disciple, Jacques Lacan, and his discourse of the Other to analogize the relationship between the British and the Irish in the nineteenth century:
The British may find themselves here in the situation of the Lacanian adult vis-à-vis the infant, who in catering to the childs immediate needs fails to decipher the absolute demand for recognition obscurely coded within them, and so unwittingly crushes that demand in the very act of relieving the infants want. Since the infant can only express this impossibly general demand for recognition in narrowly specific terms, in gestures which at once reveal and conceal it, this misapprehension is built into its transactions with the parent. The infant may then, so to speak, shift ground and try again; but the same structural misprision is bound to occur; and in the rift between need and demand will germinate desire, that objectless, insatiable hankering which is born of the despair of ones demand ever being fulfilled. (141-2)
We, you and I, must remember everything. We must especially remember those things we never knew.The percolation of such RMT themes into the debate about historical revisionism can also be seen in Waterss An Intelligent Persons Guide to Ireland, in which he argues that [d]ifferent "versions" of Irish history do not arise out of confusion about what happened, but out of a desire to explain different sets of feelings arising out of the same sets of events (88). According to Waters, the facts of history depend on context and circumstance, on point-of-view, whereas the truth of history is about feelings that will not disperse, no matter how you try to explain them away (88). Revisionists wanted to debunk as much as possible of the nationalist version of history, maintains Waters, simply because the continuing consequences of our history made them feel bad (88). For Waters, truth is a feeling that must be recovered mnemonically from within:
The guilt, pain, anger, fear and self-hatred which deeply infect society in the Republic, provided also the motivations of revisionists seeking to explain away their own pained experience and get on with living in the present. Revisionism is a form of forgetting. But our history lives within us. I do not mean metaphorically. Somewhere inside all Irish bodies is the pain of our history. If we could feel that pain, we would know the truth in a manner beyond versions or words. The only facts we really need is [sic] that the pain exists, and that there is a reason for it. We are the products of history, socially, politically, morally, psychologically. So a historiography that denies the validity of our feelings is not wholly trustworthy. (89)In the last sentence of this quotation, Waters is making an argument similar to that previously advanced by Brendan Bradshaw in his pivotal anti-revisionist essay, Nationalism and historical scholarship in modern Ireland. Bradshaw criticizes the reliance of the supposedly value-free school of historians on a number of interpretative strategies which have the effect of filtering out the trauma (338; my italics). According to Bradshaw, whereas the communal memory retains a keen sense of the tragic dimension of the national history, revisionist historians have sought to remove the pain (341). He argues that historians instead should display empathy and imagination when dealing with the catastrophic dimension of Irish history (350).
Walking in certain areas in Ireland, there is an ache that is not part of consciousness. I cannot walk in some graveyards in this country, or in some parts of the country, without feeling this kind of liquid sense of being absolutely lost. And then of anger. And this aching for a people I dont personally know, but whom I feel in my bones somehow. And thats what I paint What Im talking about is being born with a sense of abuse. But a sense of being abused historically. [Graham]Grahams testimony and Waterss commentary are akin to Sinéad OConnors description in Famine of the nation-child who still feels all the painful feelings, but has lost contact with the memory. This prioritization of feeling reinforces Terry Eagletons claim that although nationalism is a complex, contradictory social phenomenon, by no means reducible to the verities of the heart it is the kind of politics for which, as with feminism, feeling bulks remarkably large (1998, 84). According to Eagleton, the cult of feeling in the eighteenth century was certainly to issue in one dissident movement in the subsequent century, that of nationalism (84). Which feelings, then, are most strongly evoked by nationalism? According to the editors of the volume Nationalisms and Sexualities, wherever the power of the nation is invoked we are more likely than not to find it couched as a love of country: an eroticized nationalism (Parker et al 1). However, the song Famine and the quotations from Waters and Graham suggest that under certain historical circumstances pathos may be just as important as eros. For example, the young girl with the walk of a queen is only described at the end of Yeatss Cathleen Ni Houlihan, but the stage has been dominated by her principal avatar, the piteous Poor Old Woman, who grieves for her losses, and who never set out the bed for any of her lovers (Deane, II, 602, 600). In the feeling tones of Irish nationalism, pathos is usually filial, inspiring empathy with the mourning mother, but as Plunkett, Trevor, and OConnor demonstrate, it can also be parental, inspiring empathy with the damaged child. Such pathos provides a style: as Benedict Anderson notes, communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined (6). It also modulates particular narrative forms: as Luke Gibbons notes, memory involves not just a matter of retention or recollection but of finding the narrative forms that will do justice to this troubled inheritance [Irish history] without sanitising it, but also without succumbing to it (1997, 269).
What he [Graham] was saying is that there is such a thing as societal feelings, societal pain, societal hurt, and that these feelings have an integrity of their own. He was also saying that we are stuck with our history, that we cannot escape it no matter how hard we try, and that sooner or later we must face the truth of it. (89)
Mícheál OHehirs voice is perhaps the last evocation truly capable of protecting those pre-modern decades from the strange false memory syndrome afflicting social and political analysis in Ireland. His voice transcended history, fiction and propaganda, because it was full of life.
We are blessed that it remains on tape for us to hear again, a truth capsule to use as an antidote to the cultural disinformation with which we are besieged. It is not what he said that matters, but the way he said it, which evokes in us all a truthful memory of what it was really like at the time.
That voice may remain the most useful commentary on those years because it was not possible to hear it and remember those times for anything other than what they were: less prosperous, certainly, less enlightened, possibly, but kinder, more ethical and far less brutalising than the age in which we now live. (1997c, 16; my italics) Here, the language of FMS is utilized to support an inverted form of the RMT thesis, in which for once the past is better than the present. In this same article, Waters also shows how he envisions the difference between truth and facts. He acknowledges that the labeling of what was known in neutral Ireland as the Emergency (1939-45) as a black and white existence in which the generality of people were lorded over by political and religious leaders, of the Lemass era as a time of prosperity and abandon, and the FitzGerald years as more enlightened than those that followed may have a certain academic truth (1997c, 16). However, he claims that this truth will be unconnected to the meaning of such times for mere citizens, for whom the truth is vested in things like family, relationships, a stretch of road or street, a football pitch, a chip shop, a dancehall, a pub (16).
[I]n conditions of acute stress the experience of the body politic comes to be lived as part of the individual memory of each citizen, and its defeats resented as failures that touch them. One result of such personalization is that people will regard their nationthat is, themselvesas a single body in a more than metaphorical sense. [Hroch] This blurring of the boundaries between the personal and the political, inscribing the physicality of the body in public space, may not be at all to the detriment of feminist politics, or at least that project which calls for an entire transformation of the public sphere to allow women to participate in it as real women.This quotation from Hroch suggests that, despite citing Bakhtin, Gibbons is still drawn to the concept of a national psyche. This can be seen not only in the above quotation, but also in the opening sentence of his books first chapter: Ireland is a First World country, but with a Third World memory (3). In this deceptively simple sentence is encoded the child-nation motif: threaded through Transformations in Irish Culture is the implicit narrative that the Third World child Ireland has grown up into a First World adult, that its memories of Third World experiences have been repressed, and that they can only be recovered through the analysis of vernacular, popular, collective social practices.
The figuration of Ireland as a woman intensified under a system of cultural apartheid in which the entire native population, both male and female, shared the condition of women in the metropolitan centre. In these circumstances, the recourse to female imagery in poetry and popular protest turns the colonial stereotype against itself, positing an alternative feminized public sphere (imagined as the nation) against the official patriarchal order of the state. (21)
For an overview of the gendering of Ireland from the mythological background to the twentieth-century, see Cairns and Richards (1988a and b), Lebow, and Valente. For feminist critiques, see Boland (1995b), Coughlan, Cullingford (1990), Dalsimer and Kreilkamp (1997a), Innes, Longley, Meaney, Wills. Back
Declan Kiberd, drawing upon Curtis, does refer to both forms (1996; 30, 104). See also Bartlett (36-7). On the use of the infantilizing (and feminizing) stereotype in other parts of the British Empire, see Nandy (1983 and 1987), to whom Kiberd also refers. Back
In Apes and Angels, L.P. Curtis discusses some of these cartoons; however, his argument concentrates more on simianized than infantilized representations of the Irish. See also Liz Curtis. My source for many of the infantilizing images is Martin Weimers detailed survey, Das Bild der Iren (especially 539-49). An interesting undergraduate analysis of selected cartoons from Punch (including some on Irish subjects), as well as the essay Punch and Prejudice by Professor Anthony Wohl, can be found at http://vassun.vassar.edu/~victstud/punchpage1.html. Back
Curtis identifies four types of emblematic Irish male in British Victorian caricature: (i) the northern protestant; (ii) Pat, who is buffoonish, ingratiating, but not nationalist; (iii) Paddy, who is a nationalist, but not of the physical force variety; (iv) the simianized or Calibanized version of Paddy, who represents physical-force nationalism (1997, xxi-xxiv). Fig. 1 is an example of the fourth category. When this essay was first presented as a paper at the 1998 MLA conference in San Francisco, an audience member suggested that in these cartoons the Irish and British males may embody an interpretation of the national character, while the females embody an interpretation of the national soul. Joep Leerssen has traced allegorical personifications of facets of Ireland as a man to the poetry of Dáibhí Ó Bruadair (c.1630-1691), in which the Irish natives as a group receive the name Tadhg and the English colonists the name John (224). Back
Further examples can be found in Weimer (539-49). Back
Pedagogical insistence on the use and importance of the Irish language is also a feature in both Plunketts story and many of the classroom scenes in Doyles novel. Back
On the significance of both 1916 and 1966 for the younger Irish generation, see the contributions by Dermot Bolger, Philip Casey, Ferdia Mac Anna, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Michael OLoughlin and Fintan OToole to the anthology 16 on 16 in Bolger. Back
J.M Synges play The Playboy of the Western World (1907) is also relevant in terms of the father-son-nation dynamic. For an arresting female perspective on the mother-daughter-nation dynamic, see Rita Duffys paintings Becoming, Scullery, Dancer, and Awakening, in Grinnell and Conley, 18, 89, 107, 120; for discussion of Duffys work, see Dalsimer and Kreilkamp (1997a, 39; and 1997b); for an interview with Duffy, see Conley and Armstrong. Back
A more detailed analysis of Lamb can be found in my forthcoming essay The pose arranged and lingered over. For what could be read as a visual counterclaim to the imagery of Mac Laverty, see the mural of a boy with gas mask and petrol bomb in Rossville St. Derry in the 1990s (in Rolston, 33). In the film Nothing Personal (1996), and Daniel Mornins novel All Our Fault (1991) from which it was adapted, the accidental killing of a child in Belfast in 1975 also takes on a similar emblematic aura. Back
For an analysis of the child-nation motif in Trevors 1988 novel The Silence in the Garden and Mary Lelands 1985 novel The Killeen, see Morrison (for more on Lelands novel, see Smith). Mary Morrissys magical realist novel Mother of Pearl (1996) distorts Irish geography to produce a child-nation parable about the ideological phantoms haunting both the post-independence Free State / Republic and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Back
A theatrical form of this structure can be found in Tom Murphys play Bailegangaire (1985), in which buried traumas from the past (encapsulated in the death of a child) are unearthed and largely dissipated through storytelling, so that new possibilities can be glimpsed through the imminent birth of another child. Back
During the song, OConnor notes that there never really was a famine: the potato crop had failed in Ireland, but other unaffected foodstuffs were shipped out of Ireland to pay rents and as part of trade deals, while vast numbers of people starved. For a forceful recent examination of the Great Hunger, see Kinealy; for an overview of historical debates about the event, see Donnelly. For a Web page that explores images of the Great Hunger, see http://www.people.Virginia.edu/~eas5e/Irish/Famine.html Back
See Waters (1995a) and OBrien. For articles about and interviews with OConnor on the Web, see http://www.sinead-oconnor.com and http://www.sessionsatwest54th.com/oct11/INSESS/ARTINV/art1intv.html. Back
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the essential feature of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor; some of its characteristic symptoms include persistent reexperiencing of the traumatic event and persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (424). Back
On the development of theories of the inner child from the writings of Carl Jung in the 1940s to a widespread therapeutic industry in the 1980s, see Abrams. OConnors own reference to her inner child was made in an anguished poem-plea published as a full-page ad in The Irish Times, in which she also declared that she represented a group of people called Adult Children / Those of us who have lost our childhoods (1993, 9). Presumably, OConnor took a part in Neil Jordans film The Butcher Boy (1997) because the narrative accorded with some of her own beliefs. Adapted from Patrick McCabes novel, the film depicts the journey into violence of Francie Brady, an emotionally deprived child living in a small Irish town in the 1960s. OConnor plays the Virgin Mary, who appears to Francie in visions. According to OConnor, the film is an exploration of how a terrorist is formed by the family, the church, the state, the country The repression and brutality of Francies life, the atmosphere of terror he grows up in; to me, thats the story of Ireland (cited in Travers 90). On her recent album Gospel Oak, OConnor plays the role of an eirenic Eire, addressing the IRA in 4 My Love, and England in This IS a Rebel Song. See http://www.gospel-oak.com for samples from the album, as well as a link to the film The Butcher Boy. On the role of the Great Mother theme in the work of OConnor and in various Irish plays and films, see Cleary. Back
Nandy and Fanon are also important for the post-colonial readings undertaken by Declan Kiberd in Inventing Ireland. Back
Nandys essay can be found in Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias. Back
In Padraic Pearse was an Irish hero, Waters switches to the term neo-colonial mindset (1996a, 12). Back issues of The Irish Times from 1996 can be accessed at http://www.irish-times.com. Back
See also Waters 1995c, 1995d, 1996b, 1997a. Back
See also Barre Fitzpatricks essay Freud and Ireland. Back
Some of the epistemological difficulties stemming from the use of terms like the Irish psyche or the Irish mind can be seen in several essays in the Irish Journal of Psychologys special issue on The Irish Psyche. Joseph Lee spends the first four paragraphs of his contribution, The Irish Psyche: An historical perspective, querying the existence of any such entity, then blithely proceeds to invoke it throughout the rest of the essay. A similar strategy can be seen in the contributions by Ciarán Benson, William Duncan. and (to some degree) by Geraldine Moane. A cogent critique of the essays in the special issue of the Irish Journal of Psychology can be found in Bruce Stewarts essay Inside Nationalism. Many of the cultural nationalist assumptions and linguistic problems associated with the phrase the Irish mind were noted by Conor Cruise OBrien in his 1985 review of Richard Kearneys edited collection of essays, The Irish Mind (OBrien, 192-8). Back
For a literary critics probe into the shortcomings of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic criticism, see Crews (1986 and 1995); the most devastating epistemological critiques are by Grünbaum (1984 and 1993). Further anatomizations can be found in the essays by various writers contained in Crewss anthology (1998), and in Esterson, MacMillan, Webster and Wilcock. L.P. Curtiss use in Anglo-Saxons and Celts (64-5) of Freuds theory of projectionalso utilized by Declan Kiberd (29-32)has been cogently critiqued by Richard Ned Lebow (13-5). Back
Although Vincent Kenny, in his essay The Post-Colonial Personality, relies on the psychological theories of Gregory Bateson, R.D. Laing, and George Kelly rather than Freud, he bases his whole argument on the child-adult postulate: A continually defeated people may be constructed as being stuck in their national development and growth, just as a child would be if it were to be severely oppressed by domineering parents (76; see also 70-1, 77-8). In Desmond Fennells Choosing our self-image (The Problem of Irish Identity), the Irish nation is equated with a teenager emerging from a condition of tutelage and dependence, who finds himself confronted with the problem of identity (192). In an intriguing analysis of child-nation equations, Kathryn Conrad has argued that the terms in which the relationship between mother and fetus were discussed in Ireland during the early 1990s at the time of the X Case reiterated in many ways the terms in which the relationship between Ireland and Europe was discussed in the context of the Maastricht agreement. Back
See Crews (1995, 159ff.). Back
See Crews (1995, 159ff.). Although OConnors song Famine uses imagery associated with RMT, it seems that in her own personal experience she has always been aware of having suffered abuse, but that some type of therapy helped her to augment incomplete but not repressed memories; she has also referred to the Twelve Step program for the treatment of addiction, andin Famineto posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is different from recovered memory (Waters, 1995a, 1-2). See also note 14. For a dynamic, though sometimes debatable, analysis of intersections between PTSD and RMT in the cultural contexts of Britain in the 1890s and the U.S. in the 1990s, see Farrell (1-33, 192-215). Back
For reasons of space, I can cite only a handful of representatives from the revisionist and nationalist camps. A much wider range of examples can be found in Brady. Back
Cited in Waters, 1994b, 9 and 1997c, 16. Back
Waterss argument can be compared with that contained in some of the sub-chapters in Bass and Daviss The Courage to Heal, such as But I Dont Remember (22), The Body Remembers What the Mind Chooses to Forget (74-5), and But I Dont Have Any Memories (81-3). For a critique of the assumptions and methods used by Bass and Davis in these sections, see Crews (1995, 192-9). Back
With regard to removing the pain, Chris Morash has noted that the phrase the demographic holocaust, which occurred on page 343 in the chapter on the Great Hunger in the first Allen Lane hardback edition of Roy Fosters Modern Ireland: 1600-1972 (1988), was altered to the demographic contraction in subsequent editions (Morash 138). Liam Kennedys attempt to explode what he calls the MOPE reading of Irish history (Most Oppressed People Ever) becomes evasive when he ever so briefly refers to the Great Hunger. Although Kennedy admits that in terms of duration and intensity the Great Hunger was an ecological disaster outside of European experience, he neglects to consider how this admission largely undermines the rest of his argument (200). Back
Waters repeats Grahams observation in Troubled People (1997e, 108). Compare Grahams testimony with the inner child therapist Cathryn Taylors definition of Inherited Grief: Unresolved grief that is passed on from generation to generation until someone finally breaks the cycle and resolves the feelings of loss (243). Back
Eagleton later links this claim to the Irish debate about revisionism and nationalism (1998, 315-18). Back
For reasons of space, I am omitting consideration of the other musketeers, logos, mythos, thanatos, and (sometimes) bathos; they are, of course, mercenaries, who also fight on the side of revisionism. Back
A complex blend of eros and pathos is exhibited in the poetry Yeats directs towards Maud Gonne, who personified Ireland for him both on-stage (in Cathleen Ni Houlihan) and off-stage. Some perceptive insights about Pearses use of pathos in the Rising and its aftermath (326-8) surface with a struggle from beneath a welter of psychoanalytic jargon in Stephen Tiffts The Parricidal Phantasm. Back
Lack of space prevents me from elaborating the significance for my argument of Andersons chapter Memory and Forgetting (187-206), one of two added to Imagined Comunities in the 1991 revised edition. Of especial relevance are Andersons reflections on the inherent paradoxes of Ernest Renans claim, in Quest-ce quune nation? (1882), that lessence dune nation est que tous les individus aient beaucoup de choses en commun et aussi que tous aient oublié bien des choses Tout citoyen français doit avoir oublié la Saint-Barthélemy, les massacres du Midi au XIIIe siècle (Anderson 199; see 199-206). Back
The article is also included in An Intelligent Persons Guide (58-60). Back
Compare David Lloyds argument that the processes of hybridization active in the Irish street ballads or in Ulysses are at every level recalcitrant to the aesthetic politics of nationalism and imperialism. Hybridization or adulteration resist identification both in the sense that they cannot be subordinated to a narrative of representation and in the sense that they play out the unevenness of knowledge which, against assimilation, foregrounds the political and cultural positioning of the audience or reader (1993, 114). See also Eavan Bolands distinction between the past and history, in her essay Famine Roads (Hayden, 218). Back
Compare the emphasis on the communal memory and the popular memory by Bradshaw (341). Back
Compare John Waters, in Race of Angels, who accepts the claim of one interviewee, Professor Ivor Browne, that culture is only one generation thick and not transmitted through a genetic race memory bank (226-7), but also cites approvingly the following claim by Professor Mike Cooley:
There are basic movements and body rhythms and images that are deeply rooted in our psyche. When a particular rhythm is played by people from a particular culture, that will call up that kind of morphic resonance in a particular culture. (283)Back
Kennedy lists the social and economic indicators that place Ireland among the worlds richest countries (167-81). His critique of representing Ireland as a Third World country is revisited in OToole (18-20). Back
Gibbons admits that because the accretions of conquestthe English language, the inscriptions of the Protestant Ascendancy on the landscape and material culture cannot be removed, there is no prospect of restoring a pristine, pre-colonial identity; nonetheless, he continues, the lack of historical closure is bound up with a similar incompleteness in the culture itself, so that instead of being based on narrow ideals of racial purity and exclusivism, identity is open-ended and heterogeneous (179). Back
Gibbonss interpretation of Ireland has also been advanced by a member of the Irish political establishment. In a 1995 speech at the opening of a festival in London of new Irish cinema, the politician and poet Michael D. Higgins (then the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht) described Ireland as a first-world country with a third-world memory a land of broken stories (Doyle, Calling the shots, 1). Back
Mulhern coined the phrase during a critical exchange with Luke Gibbons about the Field Day Anthology; see also Mulhern (1993) and Gibbons (1994). Bruce Stewart, in a critique of Kiberds Inventing Ireland, has used the term post-colonial depression (15). Back
Gibbonss axiom has been endorsed by David Lloyd, who calls it an apt formulation (1997, 87). Lloyd has also endorsed Sinéad OConnors Famine, describing its thesis as an insistence that there is a repression of the memory of the Famine in subsequent Irish culture, connected with our deeply embedded habit of disavowing the personal and cultural damage that is in part the legacy of our colonial past, and requiring that we learn to grieve in order to heal (in Hayden, 32). It is to some degree puzzling that Lloyd has endorsed Gibbons and OConnor, since he has elsewhere deprecated what he sees as the fetishistic maneuver that appropriates traditional figures of the nation, such as Kathleen Ni Houlihan (which, in the metonymic manner of popular/nonmodern culture, made no hard and fast distinctions between the actual and the figurative) and reduces them to a metaphor for national identity and a powerful interpellative figure in the nationalist struggle for the state (1997b, 192). Both Gibbons and OConnor are clearly using metaphor rather than the cherished metonymy of postcolonial analysis. On metaphor, metonymy, and post-colonial aesthetics, see Barry.
The burden of Gibbonss axiom has been expressed in less nuanced form by Declan Kiberd, who asserts that Ireland today oscillates between First and Third World status (1994, 108-9; see also 1995, 4); by Seamus Deane, who refers to Irelands curious status as, simultaneously, a Third World and First World culture (1995, 28); and by Joseph Lee, who claims that recent Irish historical experience cannot be encompassed within conventional categories of either European or Third World historiography (1989, xiii). None of these critics acknowledge the astringent critique of Third World theorization in Aijaz Ahmads In Theory (although Gibbons briefly refers to Ahmad on national allegory, in 1996a, 263). For an informed overview of the theoretical challenges facing post-colonial analyses of Ireland, see Graham, and Livesy and Murray. Back
Thanks to Patricia Haslam and Jim Smith for their feedback on an earlier draft of this essay, and to Fiona Walsh for obtaining the images from Punch.Back
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