History and the related memory processes of remembering and forgetting have been crucial concepts in the definition of communal belonging in Ireland, as especially underscored by the nation-building process that unfolded at the end of the nineteenth century. However, the globalisation and cosmopolitisation of Ireland as experienced in the last decade and a half, together with the strained socio-economic circumstances of contemporary Ireland, has arguably provoked the need for cultural and literary artifacts to concentrate on the present in an attempt to comprehend and come to terms with the momentous transformations that the island has experienced in the last few years. In this context, where the presence of the present seems more pervasive than the presence of the past, a re-examination of the role of history in the construction of Ireland, past and present, is called for.
This collection will examine representations of history and the changes in the narratives of individual and collective identities that Ireland, north and south, has undergone, from modernism to the current global epoch. The focus of the collection will be on past and present uses of history in definitions of national identity from the time of W.B. Yeats and the Celtic Revival to the post-Celtic Tiger and post-Good Friday agreement era, and how these are reflected in literature and culture.
CONTRIBUTORS: a selection of the papers, extended and revised for publication, presented at the forthcoming DUCIS conference, “A New Ireland?: Representations of History Past and Present in Literature and Culture”.