Julian Moynahan, Anglo-Irish: The Literary Imagination in a Hyphenated Culture (1995)

Julian Moynahan, Anglo-Irish: The Literary Imagination in a Hyphenated Culture (Princeton UP 1995), 288pp.; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, ix; PREFACE, xi; Prologue: “Irish Enough” [3]; II: Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849): Origination and a Checklist [12]; III: William Carleton (1794-1869): The Native Informer [43]; IV: Declensions of Anglo-Irish History: The Act of Union to the Encumbered Estates Acts of 1848-49 ... With a Glance at a Singular Heroine [74]; V: Charles Lever (1806-72): The Anglo-Irish Writer as Diplomatic Absentee; With a Glance at John Banim [84]; VI: The Politics of Anglo-Irish Gothic: Charles Robert Maturin, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, and the Return of the Repressed [109]; VII: HistoryAgain: The Era of Parnell - Myths and Realities [136]; VIII: Spinsters Ball: George Moore and the Land Agitation [144]; IX: ‘”The Strain of the Double Loyalty”: Edith Somerville and Martin Ross [162] X: W. B. Yeats and the End of Anglo-Irish Literature [198]; XI: After the End: The Anglo-Irish Postmortem [224] (See other works, infra.)

Author taught in Ireland 1963-64. Notes that hybridisation is good, after Charles Darwin: it produces “hybrid vigour”. [Cf., ‘Most of the writers explored in this books were offspring from a colony that was cancelled and cancelled itself through the Act of Union in 1800. Anglo-Irish literature begins after colonialism […] for about a century and a half these writers produced much of the best of Irish writing for that span of time and it is [still to be called] an Anglo-Irish literature. It is a hybrid litarature. Hybridisation is good, as Charles Darwin noted. It produces “hybrid vigour”.’ (p.xiii; quoted in Girard, p.22, n.)]

F. S. L. Lyons, ’You can detect, I think, four main phases ... first of settlement, second of ascendancy, third of contraction, and finally of seige.’(Irish Times, 9 Jan. 1975, p.12); Moynahan, p. 266 [notes]

Erroneously characterises Wolfe Tone as a ’Northern zealot’. [8]

Maria Edgeworth: the resemblance of Jason Compson to Edgeworth’s grasping land-agent jason Quirk is uncannily close. [12]

On Butler’s biography: ’she treats CR as soemthing of an eccentric deviation from Edgeworths more signifianc accomplishments. It appears to mmystify and partly irritated her that virtually all readers and critics have found Castle Rackrent Edgeworth’s greatest book. [13] In her biography Butler portrays a lackof an Anglo-Irish concept by assuming that to be Anglo-Irish and to be English are the same [goes on to point out her failure to grasp ’double or split consciousness’of a ’unique situation’.]

Notes that R L Edgeworth was a good mimic who could recite stories in accourate peasant dialect [15] And further, ’Castle Rackrent is an extended feat of impersonation or mimicry, based upon real life. [quotes ’The only character ... &c.’; Letter to Mrs Stark, 6 Sept., 1834; cited in Butler, Maria Edgeworth, p.240-41.]

notes phrase ’minute prolixity’to whch ME adverts in the Preface.

It entails getting one’s own back and the preservation of self-identity by the ’playful’takeover of an identity that is opposite and opposed. [22]

Writing Together
A trend toward allegorical or eqivocal writing may indeed develop from several factors in the Anglo-Irish artists’situate. We can agree that one of these might be a sense of social guit, which a writer cannot opening acknowledge without appearing as a traitor to her class, and which therefore must be smuggled in,a s it wre into express. We saw this form of indirectoin in Irish Gothic, particualy in Le Fanu’s ghost stories and mysteries. Le Fanu also supplied the formula of its operation. ’Mystery’- for mystery read allegory - is the shadow of guilt.Something else reinforcing the AI writers turn towards equivocal or veiled writing may be her or his despair, after Union, of remaining in or joining the mainstream of English writing. To put it brutally, it was no longer socially rewarding to go to London and make sounds (and gestures) like an English man.To stay at home and do that was not rewarding [178] either. Hence the incentive to discover another way of writing, perhaps one that drew form very old traditions indeed of Irish indirectness, reticence, and implicitness in speaking, in manners, and in mien. The formula for this might be, ’to say what one means one says what one does not mean.’[See also foregoing comments on Mccormack; and note that Moynahan gives no source for the sentence from Le Fanu.]

Works by the same author: The deed of life: the novels and tales of D. H. Lawrence (1963, 1966); Ed., The Portable Thomas Hardy 1977, 1979); Ed., Sons and lovers: text, background, and criticism (1968, 1977); Vladimir Nabokov (Minnesota UP 1971), 47pp. Novels incl. Sisters and brothers (1961), Pairing off (1969), and Garden State: a novel (1973).

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