David Lloyd

Life
1955- ; b. N. Ireland; ed. boarding school (to avoid Northern Irish accent) and UCD; student of cultural nationalism and critic of the ‘literary and political formulations of Irish identity’ conceived as a way of eluding the hegemony of colonialism while actually ‘caught up within the reflected forms of imperialist ideology’; teaches in University of California at Berkeley; issued Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan [... &c.] (1987); issued Anomalous States: Irish writing and the post-colonial moment (1993), in which he confronts ‘the elevation of a minor Irish poet to a touchstone of contemporary taste’ taking Field Work (1979) as the chief focus; with Paul Thomas, Culture and the State (1998).

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Works
  • Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism (Berkeley: California UP 1987) [see extract];
  • Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-colonial Moment (Duke UP; Dublin: Lilliput Press; Durham: Duke UP 1993) [see contents];
  • ‘Nationalisms Against the State: Towards a Critique of Anti-Nationalist Prejudice’, in Gender and Colonialism, ed. Timothy R. Foley, et al. (Galway UP 1996), [q.pp.];
  • with Paul Thomas, Culture and the State (London: Routledge 1998), vii, 232pp. [see extract];
  • Ireland After History (UNDP; Cork UP 1999), viii, 141pp. [five essays incl. ‘Nationalisms against the state’; ‘Regarding Ireland in a postcolonial frame’; ‘True stories: Cinema, History and Gender’, &c.]
  • Irish Times: Temporalities of Modernity [Field Day Files] (Field Day Books; in assoc. with Keough-Naughton Inst. for Irish Studies / NDU 2008), 240pp.
Journal Articles [selected]
  • “Pap for the Dispossessed”: Seamus Heaney and the Poetics of Identity’, in boundary 2 , 13, 2/3 [On Humanism and the University II: The Institutions of Humanism] (Winter/Spring 1985), pp.319-42;
  • ‘Writing in the Shit: Beckett, Nationalism and the Colonial Subject’, in Modern Fiction Studies, 35, 1, Spring 1989, pp.71-86; p.74;
  • ‘“Articulate to the End”: R. S. Thomas and the Crisis of Language’, in Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, 30, 4 (Oct. 1999), [available online at Calgary Univ online; accessed 21.05.2011];
  • ‘Subversive Law Subverted: Subversive Law in Ireland’, in The Irish Review, 35, 1 (Spring 2007), pp.144-47.

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Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-colonial Moment (Dublin: Lilliput 1993), 174pp., with index. CONTENTS: Introduction; ‘Pap for the Dispossessed’: Seamus Heaney and the Poetics of Identity [13]; Writing in the Shit: Beckett, Nationalism and the Colonial Subject [41]; The Poetics of Politics: Yeats and the Founding of the State [59]; Adulteration and the Nation [88; centrally on Joyce]; Violence and the Constitution of the Novel [125].

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Commentary
Edna Longley, The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1994), p.31: quotes remarks on ‘the negation of recalcitrant or inassimilable elements in Irish society’ and desires to ‘recover subterranean or marginalised practices which have been understood variously as aberrant, pre-modern and residual, or incoherent’ (Lloyd, p.5-7); comments, that ‘this doubly mystifies the illegal organisation [meaning IRA]’. See also, ‘The Aesthetic and the Territorial’, in Elmer Andrews, ed., Contemporary Irish Poetry (1992), pp.63-85, noting that to emphasise the aesthetic in any way is to provoke a particular line of attack epitomised by David Lloyd’s essay “Pap for the Dispossessed”: Seamus Heaney and the Poetics of Identity’ (p.68.)

See also Denis Donoghue, ‘Fears for Irish Studies in an Age of Identity Politics’, in The Chronicle of Higher Education (21 November 1997) - comparing Lloyd and Declan Kiberd to the former’s advantage [copy attached].

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John Goodby, ‘Reading Protestant Writing: Representations of the Troubles in the Poetry of Derek Mahon and Glenn Patterson’s Burning Your Own’, in Kathleen Devine, ed., Modern Irish Writers and the Wars [Ulster Editions and Monographs, No. 7] (Colin Smythe 1999), pp.219-89, remarks on Lloyd’s essay “Pap for the Dispossessed”: Seamus Heaney and the Poetics of Identity’ in which ‘Heaney is damned as “minor” and “bourgeois” - a judgement whose moralist lack of sophistication hardly needs to be laboured.’ Goodby adds a footnote critiquing Lloyd’s view that the urge to aestheticise is political in so far as it attempts to avoid difference.’ (Goodby, op. cit., p.224 & ftn. 10.)

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Emer Nolan, James Joyce and Irish Nationalism (London: Routledge 1995): ‘David Lloyd, indeed, argues that Irish cultural nationalism is primarily concerned with the sublation of diversity and difference. He argues that nationalist ideology invariably tells of an original, unreflective wholeness of the people, which has now fallen into disunity. Nationalism seeks to transcend this condition in the eventual achievement of a restored and self-conscious unity. [The] specific project in Ireland since the nineteenth century has been “the forging of a sense of Irish identity that would transcend historically determined cultural and political differences and form the reconciliatory centre of national unity.”’ Writing in the Shit’, in Anomalous States, 1993, p.35; Nolan, p.52.)

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Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland: Translations, Languages, Cultures (Cork UP 1996), quotes, ‘Devoted to the reunification of the people by the revitalisation of a hyothetical past unity, culutral or political, nationalism depends nonetheless on those forces that tend to reacinate a people and that, by instigating an uneven process of modernisation, fragment those social structures which come to appear in retrospect as the expression of a coherent and unified national consciousness.’ (Lloyd, Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism, Berkeley: California UP 1987, p.94; cited here in with introductory remark to the effect that Lloyd points to Mangan’s translations for the Nation and concludes that translation ‘embod[ies] a duplicity that effects all nationalisms’; Cronin, p.116.); ‘The assertion that the Eastern races represent an earlier stage of human history than the Western races transforms easily into the assertion that they are accordingly more “primitive” and therefore given an evolutionary model of human history that is at once racial, linguistic, and political, that they are susceptible of cultivation and development by Western powers.’ (Ibid. [n.p.]; Cronin, p.119.)

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Chris Morash, ‘Celticism: Between Race and Culture’, in ‘The Triple Play of History’ [with Willy Maley & Shaun Richards], in irish Review, 20 (Winter/Spring 1997): ‘Some of the more challenging work done in the area of Irish studies in recent years has located itself along those faultlines which run through what David Lloyd has called “the continued meshing of Irish cultural nationalism with the imperial ideology which frames it’. Lloyd uses this phrase near the end of his essay on Seamus Heaney, “Pap for the Dispossessed’, which concludes in a deliberately provocative key by equating “the elevation of a minor Irish poet [Heaney] to a touchstone of contemporary taste’ with “a discourse whose most canonical proponent argued for the [study of] Celtic literature as a means to the integration of Ireland with Anglo-Saxon industrial civilisation’ - Matthew Arnold.’ 1 intend neither to endorse nor to take issue with Lloyd’s reading of Heaney’s location within Irish culture here; what interests me is his use of Arnold in a strategy of guilt by association, even to his quietly parodic use of the word “touchstone’, one of the key terms in Arnold’s critical vocabulary. What is new, and for some readers potentially outrageous, in Lloyd’s essay is the object of the attack, Seamus Heaney, who is very much alive and thus presumably capable of taking personal offence. The strategy of guilt by association with Arnold, however, we have seen before, albeit in a less outrageous form - less outrageous because its object has usually been Yeats, who is dead and thus cannot take personal offence [...]’ (p.29.)

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Gerry Smyth, Decolonisation and Criticism: The Construction of Irish Literature (London: Pluto Press 1998), remarking: ‘In his insistence that the identitarian discourses of dominant nationalism are not the solution to colonial violence but the precise location of the problem, Lloyd reveals the poststructuralist assumptions underpining his own version of postcolonial theory. (p.30; with ref. to Nationalism and Minor Literature); reports with Lloyd’s attack on Heaney in ‘Pap for the Dispossessed’ [essay] and remarks ‘for Lloyd, Heaney is merely the latest (and far from the most accomplished) in a long line of Irish figures who have come unstuck when confronted with “the logic of identity that at every level structures and maintains the post-colonial moment” (p.31); quotes, ‘The process of hybridisation or adulteration in the Irish street ballads or in Ulysses are at every level recalcitrant to th aethetic politics of [31] nationalism and .. to those of imperialism. Hybridisation or adulteration resist identification both in the sense that they cannot be subordinated to a narrative of representation and in the sense that they play out the unevenness of knowledge which, against assimilation, foregrounds the political and cultural positioning of the audience or reader.’ (Anomalous States, p.114; Smyth, pp.31-32); quotes, Lloyd: The very division between politics and culture that is the hallmark of liberal ideology is conceptually bankrupt throughout the postcolonial world.’ (‘Cultural Theory and Ireland: review of Terry Eagleton’s Heathcliff and the Great Hunger, in Búllan: An Irish Studies Journal, 3. 1, Spring 1997, pp.87-91, p.87; here p.34.)

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Terence Killeen, reviewing of Ireland After History (Cork UP), in The Irish Times, Weekend (15 Jan. 2000), writes: ‘literature has to all intents and purposes been abandoned in favour of undliuted historical and cultural theory ... literature is now a backdrop, at best, to social thinking’; ‘sustained hostility to nation-state’; “for Lloyd, even a regime which is the product of an anti-colonial struggle is at great risk of relicating the homogenising and monolithic tendencies of the regime which preceeding it’; paraphrases, ‘good nationalism .. is dispersed, local, and very close to other marginal forces of Irish history, such as socialism and feminism [and] operates in a different time-scale from that of linear, progressive, narrative history’; confronts historiography; incls. thorough deconstruction of The Crying Game (here called an ‘easy target’). Killeen considers Lloyd open to charge of ‘wanting to arrest nationalism at a ... pre-revolutionary phase ... in spite of what actually happened’ but commends him for pointing ‘beyond the sterile revisionist/anti-revisionist dichotomy.’

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Scott Boltwood: ‘Lloyd describes the densely hybridised narrative structure of James Joyce’s Ulysses as an example of the anti-nationalistic discourse that resists such revisionist levelings. Using the “Cyclops” chapter as his example, he argues that Joyce constructs an “adulterated” text that resists the reader’s attempt to sort the competing voices into distinct narratives, which themselves could be reorganised to reaffirm the hierarchy which places nationalist ideology in a position against which various subalternities define themselves. In short, Joyce creates an adulterated text in which there “is not an opposition, conversational or polemical, between coherent ‘voices,’ but their entire intercontamination” (Anomalous States, 1993, 108; Boltwood, draft study of Brian Friel, UUC/CILB Fellow 2000.)

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Quotations

‘Irish cultural nationalism has been preoccupied with the possibility of producing a national genius who would at once speak for and forge a national identity.’ (‘Adulteration and the Nation’, in Postcolonial Discourses: An Anthology, ed. Castle & Gregory, Oxford: Blackwell 2001, q.p.)

Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism (Berkeley: California UP 1987): Theories that link the Irish with the remote origins of mankind, which are the extreme fringe of the drive to vindicate and unify Irela‘nd through research, have a popular equivalent that is exemplified by Lalla Rookh, in the parallel fashions of Orientalism and Celticism. The exoticism of both, which is sustained in the popular imagination by the comparative remoteness of their location from the centres of Empire, is involved in the notion of an “original people” in the sense of one that is less removed from untamed natural origins than the civilized European. If this implies a certain barbarism, it is a barbarism that is the result of the natural, uncontrolled expression of passion and sentiment, a notion whose ambivalent status is again evident in the more sophisticated uses made of it later by Ferguson and the Young Irelanders, in their different way. The "originality" of the oriental poets - or the Celtic - lies in the closeness to the “origins” of humanity and feeling.’ (p.12; quoted in Joep Leerssen, ‘Ireland and the Orient’, in Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East, ed. C. C. Barfoot, Theo d'. Haen (Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi B.V. 1988), pp.161-74; p.168.)

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Writing in the Shit: Beckett, Nationalism and the Colonial Subject’ (1989): ‘Simultaneously, the emergence of an increasingly politically conscious middle class coincides with the critical decline of the Irish language as the medium of daily life for the people, a decline that had already passed the 50 percent mark by the mid 1840s. Irish nationalism thus emerges at the moment of virtual eclipse of what would have been its “natural” language and prirnarily among a class that was, already, necessarily, estranged from that language.’ (Modern Fiction Studies, 35, 1, Spring 1989, p.74; quoted in Vincent Cheng, Joyce, Race and Empire, Cambridge UP 1995, p.311 [ftn.]). Further: ‘Paradoxically, in adopting such a model of cultural identification […] Irish nationalists reproduce in their very opposition to the Empire a narrative of universal development that is fundamental to the legitimation of imperialism.’ (Ibid., p.76; Cheng, idem.). ‘Even in its oppositional stance, nationalism repeats the master narrative of imperialism, the narrative of development that is always applied with extreme rigor and priority to colonised peoples […] The nationalist desire to develop the race into authenticity, borrowed already from a universalist ideology, produces the hegemonic conditions for the ultimate perpetuation of imperial domination even after independence is achieved.’ (pp.83-84; Cheng, idem.)

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Pap for the Dispossessed, in Anomalous States (1993): ‘It was the structure and implications of a resurgent politics of identity that I sought to critique in “Pap for the dispossessed”, written at a moment when Seamus Heaney was clearly attaining a canonical status nationally and internationally which gave sanction to the “tribalist’ interpretation of the Anglo-Irish conflict, if in the sophisticated form of viewing it as the atavistic residue of pre-modern and irrational social formations. At that point, it seemed important to dismantle the discourse of identity by drawing out the logical and historically determined contradictions that it disavows. To judge by Heaney’s undiminished status and his subsequent work, which, perhaps predictably, continues to play out an uneasy oscillation between local piety and universalist cultural claims, the need for such ideological critique remains. Though it addressed only the poetry up to Field Work, I have not felt it necessary to update the essay since the central arguments have retained their validity. (pp.3-4; cited in Tom Herron, ‘Spectaculars: Seamus Heaney and the Limits of Mimicry’, Irish Review, August 1999, p.183-91, p.183 [epigraph].) [Cont.]

Pap for the Dispossessed’, in Anomalous States (1993): ‘[Heaney’s aesthetics of reterritorialisation assumes] an original identity which precedes difference and conflict and which is to be reproduced in the ultimate unity that aesthetic works both prefigure and prepare. The naturalisation of identity effected by an aesthetic ideology serves to foreclose historical process and to veil the constitution of subjects and issue[s] in continuing conflict, while deflecting both politics and ethics into a hypothetical domain of free play.’ (Anomalous States, p.17; Herron, op. cit., p.184).

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David Lloyd & Paul Thomas, in Culture and the State (London: Routledge 1998): ‘Our more immediate concern with the argument and bearings of Culture and Society [by Raymond Williams], however, is that its author’s self-positioning in that couplet leads him to overlook the fact that some of the very thinkers to whom he awards places of honor within the tradition themselves connected culture not so much to society as to the state. They had good reasons for doing so, which we have been concerned to uncover. If our account carries conviction, then culture does not, or does not just, designate a discursive formation in opposition to [146] society. Increasingly, culture became charged, rather, with representing the fundamental common identity of human beings. By virtue of its differentiation from the social and economc aspects of human lives, it could become an agency and the site of citizen-formation. Culture increasingy came to designate and to frame a set of institutions along the locus of society’s intersection with the state. These institutions occupy spaces of their own; for the very formulation of the space or spaces of culture demands its actualisation in pedagogical institutions whose function is to transform the individual of civil society into the citizen of the modern state. In Williams’s sense the axis here is programmatic: culture can oppose society only in theory, and at best with an anticipatory and ever-deferred utopianism, whereas in practice culture can and does serve the state quite directly. [...] What is practically required to effect this ideal is the moral formation of the citizen by an increasingly specialised cultural, not technical, pedagogy that occupies a separate space in its own right - a space that is steadily delineated by the state for society.’ (pp.145-46.) [Cont.]

David Lloyd & Paul Thomas (Culture and the State, 1998) - cont.: [on Williams’s critique of George Orwell:] ‘Orwell touches a nerve. What he and his much-maligned exteriority represent, most pointedly to Williams but also by extension to other avatars of the left, could reasonably, and without undue drama, be construed as a threat. The threat is on the one hand that democratic socialism could be espoused, and could indeed be advanced with reference to the “culture and society” tradition cherished at one time by Williams, but without recourse to anything within Williams’s no less cherished triangle of class, Marxism, and the academy. Perhaps these props and struts are not really necessary after all. Perhaps what they are propping up is not democratic socialism at all, but merely each other.’ (pp.176-77; for longer extract, see attached.)

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Ireland after History (1999): ‘Constituted in simultaneity with, and different from, modern civil society, and representing in a certain sense the “constitutive other” of modernity, these spaces that are the object of “new histories” are not, we have argued, to be conceived as alternative continuities, parallel to dominant narratives and only awaiting, in Gramsci’s sense, to attain hegemony in order to be completed. On the contrary, and at the risk of deliberate hypostasization, the apparent discontinuity of popular or non-elite history furnishes indications of alternative social formations, difficult as these may be to document and decipher for the disciplined historian; the same discontinuity as well as the formal grounds for the persistent inassimilability of non-elite formations to the state. (p.84; quoted in Roy Foster, The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland, Allen Lane/Penguin Introduction, n.3 [p.235].)

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Topics
Post-colonial
: ‘[T]he constitutive paradox of … ‘post-colonial studies’, namely the paradox that though they name a moment historically ‘after colonialism’, their insistent object has been less the Utopian project of decolonisation that the spaces and processes of colonised cultures that were always already outside of, or marginally dominant to, representations. This paradox is … the implicit acknowledgement that the ‘post-colonial’ is only a moment, and one that takes place in a specific space, that of the state, and within a specific history, that of a modernity that would relegate incompatible cultural forms to its own pre-history.’ (Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-colonial Moment, Dublin: Lilliput 1993, p.10.)

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Means of representation: ‘Control of narratives is a crucial function of the state apparatus since [41] its political and legal frameworks can only gain consent and legitimacy if the tale they tell monopolizes the field of probabilities. The state does not simply legislate and police against particular infringements, it determines the forms within which representation can take place. Access to representation is accordingly as much a question of aesthetics as of power or numbers, and not to be represented often as intrinsically a function of formal as of material causes. (Anomalous States, 1993, p.6; quoted in Conor McCarthy, Modernisation: Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969-1992, Four Courts Press 2000, p.41-42.

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On James Joyce (in Anamalous States, 1993): ‘Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ most radical movement is in its refusal to fulfil either or these demands [i.e., individual and stylistic totalisations] and its corresponding refusal to subordinate itself to the socialising functions of identity formation. It insists instead on a deliberate stylisation of dependence and inauthenticity, a stylisation of the hybrid status of the colonised subject as of the colonised culture, their internal adulteration and the strictly parodic modes that they produce in every sphere.’ (p.110; quoted in Vincent Cheng, Joyce, Race and Empire, Cambridge UP 1995, p.312.) [See also comparison with Francis Stuart in regard to minor/major literature distinction of Deleuze & Guattari, under Stuart, infra.] Further: ‘[W]where the principal organising metaphor of Irish nationalism is that of a proper paternity, of restoring the lineage of the fathers in order to repossess the motherland, Joyce’s procedures are dictated by adulteration.’ (‘Adulteration and the Nation’, in Anomalous States, Lilliput 1993, p.105; quoted in Gerry Smyth, The Novel and the Nation: Studies in New Irish Fiction, London: Pluto 1997, cp.60; also quoted in Scott Boltwood, draft study on Brian Friel UUC 2002.)

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Irish Identity: ‘It is within the matrix of British Romanticism that the question of Irish identity is posed, with the result that the critique of imperialism is caught up within reflected forms of imperialist ideology […] Aesthetics ... conceives of an original identity which precedes difference and conflict and which is to be reproduced in the ultimate unity that aesthetic productions both prefigure and prepare.’ (David Lloyd, ‘Pap for the Dispossessed”: Seamus Heaney and the Poetics of Identity’, Boundary 2, Winter/Spring 1985, pp.319-42; rep. in Elmer Andrews, ed., Seamus Heaney: A Collection of Critical Essays, Macmillan 1993; also in Anomalous States, pp.24-25; and cited in Edna Longley, ‘The Aesthetic and the Territorial’, in Andrews, Contemporary Irish Poetry, Macmillan 1996, p.67); See also criticism of this assertion [‘It is within … imperialist ideology’] in Kevin Barry, in Critical Notes on Post-Colonial Aesthetics, in Irish Studies Review (Spring 1996), pp.2-11. [See also remarks under Seamus Heaney, supra.]

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Imperial ideology:‘The continual meshing of Irish cultural nationalism with the imperial ideology which frames it.’ (‘Pap for the Dispossessed’; cited in Chris Morash, et al., ‘The Triple Play of Irish History’, in Irish Review, Winter-Spring 1997, p.29.)

Young Ireland: ‘Culturally and politically, the concern of Young Ireland is precisely to articulate the “otherness” of Ireland around its own center, both geographically and politically, and in relation to the myth of a unified and coherent cultural past.’ (Nationalism and Minor Literature, James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism, Berkeley: University of California Press 1987, p.3.)

State monopolies: ‘To the monopoly of violence claimed by the state corresponds the monopoly of representation claimed by the dominant culture.’ (Lloyd, Anomalous States, 1993, p.4.)

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Narrative control: ‘Control of narratives is a crucial factor of the state apparatus since [41] its political and legal frameworks can only gain consent and legitimacy if the tale they tell monopolises the field of probabilities. The state does not simply legislate and police against particular infringements, it determines the forms within which representation can take place. Acess to representation is accordingly as much a question of aesthetics as of power of numbers, and not to be represented often as intrinsically a function of formal as material causes.’ (Ibid., p.6; here p.41-42.)

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‘[Defenderism, &c.] not so much an expression of ‘endemic Irish violence’ […] as the record of forms of social organisation and resistance inassimilable to either the legality of the British state or the political desire of nationalism which is for the state.’ (Anomalous State: Irish Writing and the Post Colonial Moment (Duke UP 1993), p.7.

Minority discourse […] contests genealogies of “origin” that lead to claims for cultural supremacy and historical priority. Minority discourse acknowledges the status of national cuture - and the people - as a contentious, performative space of the perplexity of the living in the midst of the pedagogical representations of the fulness of life.’ (Lloyd and Abdl JanMohamed, DissemiNations, p.307; quoted in Vincent Cheng, Joyce, Race and Empire, 1995, p.247-48.)

Atavism & Modernity: ‘Modernity, rather than dissolving the effects of colonial discriminations it considers atavistic or traditional, here in fact intensifies them’. (Quoted in Carla King, review of Ireland After History (2000), Books Ireland (April 2001), p.99. See further under A. T. Q. Stewart, infra.

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