Writing the Irish West : ecologies and traditions /
Eamonn Wall.
Notre Dame, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, c2011.
xvii, 210 p. ; 23 cm.
0268044236 (pbk. : alk. paper), 9780268044237 (pbk. : alk. paper)
More Details
Notre Dame, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, c2011.
0268044236 (pbk. : alk. paper)
9780268044237 (pbk. : alk. paper)
contents note
Adequate steps : Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran -- Wings beating on stone : Richard Murphy's ecopoetry -- Tracing the poetry of Mary O'Malley -- High ground : John McGahern's western world -- Wild West show : the plays of Martin McDonagh -- Across a blue sound : Seøn Lysaght's Clare Island survey -- Carrying the songs : the poetry of Moya Cannon.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-194) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Eamonn Wall is Smurfit-Stone Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-09-01:
Wall (Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis) offers an exciting examination of the work of seven contemporary authors and finds correlations between the literature of West Ireland and the literature of the American West. Beginning by noting the beauty of both countries, the author applies ecological and cultural theories and through them discovers similarities of philosophy, if not of style, in the two literatures. The idea of "west" becomes both a motif and a mode of inquiry, and Wall discovers some surprising parallels between Irish and American literature. He includes Irish writers of varied genres and of varied perspectives on both the region and the human condition. In his chapter on the poetry of Moya Cannon, the author looks at how Cannon's use of landscape and language in portraying the West challenges some traditional thinking. And in the chapters on John McGahern and Martin McDonagh, he offers both an appreciation of their vision and a formula for evaluating their writing. Throughout, Wall opens up new interpretations of contemporary literature. Those interested in Irish literature and/or contemporary critical theory will benefit from this exploration of the Irish and American Wests. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. H. Kealy Immaculata University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2011
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Bowker Data Service Summary
Wall describes, analyzes and contextualizes the work of five authors to show the fundamental ways in which Western Ireland has influenced and shaped it.
Main Description
In recent decades, a large and well-regarded volume of creative work has emerged from the West of Ireland, written by residents of the region, by those raised in West of Ireland families outside the region, and by seasonal and occasional visitors. The fiction of John McGahern, the plays and films of Martin McDonagh, Tim Robinson's maps and place studies, the work of Richard Murphy, and the poetry of Mary O'Malley, Moya Cannon, and Sean Lysaght are known and admired worldwide. Yet, for all that has been made of the Western themes and settings in the work of such writers, and others, little effort has been made to examine their work collectively and in depth. Eamonn Wall's Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditionsis the first critical study to examine these seven contemporary Irish writers in their shared Western context. Wall describes, analyzes, and contextualizes their work to show the fundamental ways in which the region has influenced and shaped it. Certain themes and commonplaces recur obsessively: the bilingual nature of Western life and language, landscape, gender, poverty, the individual's relationship to nature and place, connections between Christianity and paganism, the overpowering weight of history, and each author's complex relationship to the Irish Literary Revival of Yeats, Lady Gregory, and J. M. Synge. Although well-developed theoretical approaches to reading Western American literature have been practiced for years, no such approaches exist in Irish discourse. Wall draws on extensive research on the literature of the American West for a comparative study that places the Irish and American Wests side by side. Underlined by an engagement with the role ecology plays in the study of literature, Writing the Irish Westhighlights uncanny connections between the works of West-of-Ireland writers and their Western American counterparts. "Eamonn Wall's daring book explores the cultural ecology of Ireland and America through the creation of an idea of the west that is at once gesture, criticism, and a sensory history of passing time. If true places are never on maps, Wall's critical cartography points the reader to new departures in the reading of Tim Robinson, Richard Murphy, and many others. Personal, reflective, and ambitious to engage with the wonder of literature and place, Wall has written a rich future for the writers and landscapes he loves." -- Nicholas Allen, National University of Ireland, Galway "This book makes an important contribution to transatlantic Irish studies. Wall's critical focus on ecocriticism is timely, providing new readings of Irish writing across genres. He employs a methodology that attends to literary cartography, postcolonial contexts, and persuasive close readings of his authors. What results is a book that is fresh, illuminating, and substantive, one that elucidates a new understanding of the literary and cinematic representations of the American West." -- Susan N. Maher, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth "Eamonn Wall's splendid new study ranges freely through contemporary Irish and American culture with both grace and precision. Focused on seven writers about the Irish West, Wall summons apt and surprising parallels and contrasts within Ireland itself and across the water to America. If, as T. S. Eliot said, disparate materials are always forming new wholes in the poet's mind, then this is a poet's criticism par excellence." -- George Bornstein, University of Michigan
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Adequate Steps: Tim Robinson's Stones of Aranp. 1
Wings Beating on Stone: Richard Murphy's Ecopoetryp. 51
Tracing the Poetry of Mary O'Malleyp. 71
High Ground: John McGahern's Western Worldp. 87
A Wild West Show: The Plays of Martin McDonaghp. 113
Across a Blue Sound: Seán Lysaght's Clare Island Surveyp. 139
Carrying the Songs: The Poetry of Moya Cannonp. 157
Bibliographyp. 177
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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