S A R A H B R O U I L L E T T E he Northern Irish novel has often been read as a foil to the region's more politicized, often nationalist, poetries. Foundational figures like Brian Moore, Jennifer Johnston, and Bernard MacLaverty--who published their first novels in the 1960s and 1970s--are thought to have formulated their literary versions of liberal humanism in opposition to any identification with or support for parties to the sectarian conflict at the heart of the Troubles. In their writing, the ideal articulation of the human subject is, in Elmer Kennedy-Andrews's terms, the figure who "avoids extreme political commitment, demonstrating a realistic sense of the dangers of political utopianism, and of how such ideals can lead to violence, anarchy and fascism" (14); in turn, the Troubles are represented as "an irruption of irrational, aberrant atavism which threatens the sacred realm of private feeling and personal relationships" (17). A newer generation of writers is not thought to have departed much from these forebears. Authors like Deirdre Madden, Glenn Patterson, and Robert McLiam Wilson ostensibly apply more postmodern techniques to the same task of denigration of nationalist projects, though they are likely to
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Jul 25, 2007
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