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Postcolonial theory and literary practice in Ireland, 1980-2015: Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright

Genoveffa, G. (2021) Postcolonial theory and literary practice in Ireland, 1980-2015: Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00109299


This thesis analyses depictions of nationhood and identity in some contemporary Irish fictions through a postcolonial lens. In particular, the thesis focuses on two writers, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright, and a specific period, namely the beginning of the 1980s, when postcolonial theory first started to develop in Ireland, and 2015, when Enright’s novel The Green Road was published. Fiction, and literature more in general, is affected by socio-historical events, and in turn effects potential for social change and transformation. This means that revising Irish identity is also, partly, revising the historical, political and social events that contributed to its construction, and now to its re-invention. This history is referred to by my chosen writers, and their novels engage with historical events and what they mean to the present, both national and individual. I have explored the joint phenomenon of changes in Irish society and the rise of postcolonial theory in the Irish academy, focusing on the relationship between narrative and its context, on definitions and perceptions of Irishness, and on disjointed narrative as a projection of displacement and uprootedness as seen against a postcolonial backdrop, both in terms of the colonial past and post-Independence legacies. I have examined the specific ‘version’ of postcolonial theory which has emerged, partly as a reflection of this inheritance. I have also analysed how the contemporary Irish novel reflects issues of identity that have been characterised through Ireland’s colonial legacy and postcolonial situation. The postcolonial approach of the thesis has argued the importance of considering the subaltern narrative. Additionally, it has explored characterisations that link back to ideas of double colonisation. This formed the basis for assessing to what extent and in what form the novels selected for discussion, which all refuse the linear narratives of both colonial and early versions of nationalism, have enabled or foregrounded a space in which to make subaltern and marginalised voices audible; and to explore and challenge subaltern issues of disempowerment and oppression, with specific attention to aspects of class and gender.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Matthews, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:109299


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