John McGahern: Critical Essays
Edited by Raymond Mullen, Adam Bargroff and Jennifer Mullen
Oxford: Peter Lang
243 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-1755-9 | £40.00
This volume is a collaborative reassessment of the writing of John McGahern. The contributors provide provocative readings of his major works and also examine some of his lesser-known short stories, essays and unpublished archival materials which have not yet received due critical attention. The book also has a focus on topics and issues in McGahern’s writing that have been overlooked, thus extending the critical discourse on this important Irish author. The contributors to the volume range from emerging voices in Irish literary criticism to established scholars in comparative and postcolonial literature. They share an innovative approach to McGahern’s writings, challenging conventional readings of his fiction.
Contents: Antonella Trombatore: Communicating with Nature: An Ecosemiotic Reading of Elizabeth’s Umwelt in The Barracks – Maggie Pernot-Deschamps: Habits and Rituals in The Barracks – Bridget English: ‘All real seeing grew into smiling […] all else was death, a refusal, a turning back’: Narrative, Death and Subjectivity in The Barracks – Paula McDonald: The Literary and Empirical Origins of McGahern’s Ecological Consciousness – Brendan Thomas Mitchell: Emergence of the Self: McGahern and Joyce – Fergal Casey: Camus’s Philosophy of Revolt in The Leavetaking and The Pornographer – Christine O’Dowd-Smyth: The Caretakers of the Condition of ‘nothing new being possible’: Post-Colonial Landscapes of Peripherality in McGahern’s Amongst Women and Abdelhak Serhane’s Le Soleil des obscurs – Nicholas Collins: ‘[L]ike a shoal of fish moving within a net’: King Lear and McGahern’s Family in Amongst Women – Jennifer Mullen: The Law of the Father: Tyrannical Fathers and Rebellious Sons in McGahern’s Amongst Women and Driss Chraïbi’s Le Passé simple – Graham Price: The Fact is a Fiction: Representations of Memory, Place and Modernity in Friel and McGahern’s Short Stories – Malachi O’Doherty: Gossip and Reality: Wondering Who to Believe in McGahern’s Stories – Niamh Campbell: This is Mine: Phatic Communion and Textual Space in That They May Face the Rising Sun and Memoir – Michelle Kennedy: Isolated Fathers: The Powerlessness of Powerful Patriarchs in McGahern’s Works.

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