New Publication: Colum McCann’s Intertexts


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Cork University Press today publishes Colum McCann’s Intertexts: Books Talk to one Another  by Bertrand Cardin.

The intertext is the effective presence of a text in another one. This relation of co-presence between texts is the subject of the present book. The book  focuses on the dialogue McCann’s books establish with other books. It confirms that ‘books talk to one another’, as the narrator of one of his stories remarks.  McCann’s books are studied here in turn, in the chronological order of their publication, from Fishing the Sloe-Black River (1994) to Thirteen Ways of Looking (2015), thus covering the two decades of the writer’s literary works.

In its dialogue with other texts, it absorbs and transforms them, and lets itself transformed by them. The multiple and complex relations that exist between them are approached in both synchronic and diachronic terms. Various modes of intertextuality – influence, intentionality, authority – are analyzed here and applied to McCann’s complete work. His novels and short stories denote a transposition of texts taken from the Bible or Irish mythology, but also Anglo-Saxon novels, plays or poems. Through McCann’s work, the present study highlights the articulation and interdependence of literary texts.

This study has the advantage of filling a gap. Indeed, critical books on McCann’s fiction emphasize the importance of intertextuality in this work, but do not go into the subject in greater depth. Therefore, it seems to be useful and innovative to decode McCann’s texts in the light of other texts, particularly when they quote them, refer or allude to them.


Bertrand Cardin is Professor of English at the Université de Caen Normandie


October 2016 | 9781782052241 | €39 £35 |   Hardback | 234 x 156mm| 246 pages


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