France and Ireland in the Public Imagination


Edited by Benjamin Keatinge and Mary Pierse

Oxford: Peter Lang

269 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-1747-4 | £40.00

This engaging collection of essays considers the cultural complexities of the Franco-Irish relationship in song and story, image and cuisine, novels, paintings and poetry. It casts a fresh eye on public perceptions of the historic bonds between Ireland and France, revealing a rich variety of contact and influence. Controversy is not shirked, whether on the subject of Irish economic decline or reflecting on prominent, contentious personalities such as Ian Paisley and Michel Houellebecq. Contrasting ideas of the popular and the intellectual emerge in a study of Brendan Kennelly; recent Irish tribunals are analysed in the light of French cultural theory; and familiar renditions of Franco-Irish links are re-evaluated against the evidence of newspaper and journal accounts.

Drawing on the disciplines of history, art, economics and literature, and dipping into the good wines of France and Ireland, the book paints a fascinating picture of the relationship between the two countries over three dramatic centuries.

Contents: Pierre Joannon: The Influence of France on Ireland: Myth or Reality? – Mary Pierse: Seeing France: Varying Irish Perceptions at the Fin de Siècle – Anne Goarzin: Attractive Marginality: Irish Painters in Brittany in the 1880s – Michèle Milan: For the People, the Republic and the Nation: Translating Béranger in Nineteenth-Century Ireland – Michel Brunet: ‘On the barricades’: John Montague’s Imaginary Representation of May ’68 in The Pear is Ripe – Karine Deslandes: Ian Paisley: Generating French Perceptions of an Ulster Loyalist Leader – Eamon Maher: The Enfant Terrible of French Letters: Michel Houellebecq – Eugene O’Brien: Towards an Irish Republic: Cultural Critique and an Alternative Paradigm – Benjamin Keatinge: ‘So much depends on a TV appearance’: Popular and Performative Aspects of the Poetry of Brendan Kennelly – Conor Farnan: Chagall, Balthus, Picasso, Lascaux: French Influences on Paul Durcan’s Engagement with the Irish Public Imagination – Dorothy Cashman: French Boobys and Good English Cooks: The Relationship with French Culinary Influence in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Ireland – Tara McConnell: Ireland in the Georgian Era: Was There Any Kingdom in Europe So Good a Customer at Bordeaux? – Brian Murphy: Exporting a ‘Sense of Place’: Establishment of Regional Gastronomic Identity Beyond National Borders.

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