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John McGahernAuthority and Vision$
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Zeljka Doljanin and Máire Doyle

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526100566

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526100566.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

Hand-rails to the past: McGahern and the memory of the Irish revolution

Hand-rails to the past: McGahern and the memory of the Irish revolution

Chapter:
(p.37) 4 Hand-rails to the past: McGahern and the memory of the Irish revolution
Source:
John McGahern
Author(s):

R. F. (Roy) Foster

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526100566.003.0004

This chapter looks at the way McGahern represents the memory of the Irish revolution in Amongst Women, That They May Face the Rising Sun, and in his autobiographical writings. The disillusioned and often bitter reflections of his protagonists partly reflect his own family’s experience, but also echo a strong reaction among writers and ex-activists in the 1920s and 1930s, whose responses and regrets are traced through the writings of people such as P.S. O’Hegarty, Desmond Ryan, Ernie O’Malley and Bulmer Hobson, as well as private letters and reflections. It is suggested that McGahern is in a sense channelling a powerful theme in the history of independent Ireland, that of living with the memory of violence by means of evasion and suppression, and that this lends his fiction a historical dimension which has not been fully appreciated.

Keywords:   Irish Revolution, Amongst Women, That They May Face the Rising Sun, Violence, History, Memory, Autobiographical writing

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