Northern Irish Literature: The Imprint of History, 19562006, by Michael Parker. Two volumes: Northern Irish Literature, 19752006, pp. 357; Northern Irish Literature, 19752006, pp. 334 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). $135 each. In keeping with the promise of its title, Michael Parker's two-volume study of Northern Irish literature from the postwar era to the present relates the literary productions of that period to the major events of modern Irish history. Within the outlines of the last fifty years, Parker enlarges the possibilities of his literary and historical narrative by refocusing attention on often overlooked economic, political, and social developments in Northern Irish life. These two volumes comprise the work of eleven years of scholarship and writing; Parker's consistent achievement is to illuminate "the imprint of history" on literary works. He approaches texts by placing them within their original cultural landscape to "increase perceptual angles" (Edna Longley's phrase) on their composition, production, and reception, reconstructing a narrative that includes the intersecting histories of nationalists, republicans, and loyalists. His procedure in each instance is to set forth a detailed historical narrative complete with references to newspaper accounts, historical studies, memoirs, and diaries, to show the "depth of field" in which
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Published: Sep 19, 2010
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