Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment

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Anomalous States is an archaeology of modern Irish writing. David Lloyd commences with recent questioning of Irish identity in the wake of the northern conflict and returns to the complex terrain of nineteenth-century culture in which those questions of identity were first formed. In five linked essays, he explores modern Irish literature and its political contexts through the work of four Irish writers - Heaney, Beckett, Yeats, and Joyce. Beginning with Heaney and Beckett, Lloyd shows how in these authors the question of identity connects with the dominance of conservative cultural nationalism and argues for the need to understand Irish culture in relation to the wider experience of colonized societies. A central essay reads Yeats's later works as a profound questioning of the founding of the state. Final essays examine the gradual formation of the state and nation's one element in a cultural process that involves conflict between popular cultural forms and emerging political economies of nationalism and the colonial state. Modern Ireland is thus seen as the product of a continuing process in which, Lloyd argues, the passage to national independence that defines Ireland's post-colonial status is no more that a moment in its continuing history. Anomalous States stands at the intersection of two strands of debate: that of culture and politics in contemporary Ireland and that of post-colonialism and cultural politics, for which Irish history furnishes an invaluable example.
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Editorial Reviews

Lloyd commences with recent questioning of Irish identity in the wake of the northern conflict and returns to the complex terrain of 19th- century culture in which those questions of identity were first formed. In five linked essays, he explores modern Irish literature and its political contexts through the work of four Irish writers--Heaney, Beckett, Yeats, and Joyce. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher

"A welcome addition to the growing body of work that connects cultural theory with anticolonial historiography, literary analysis, and issues in contemporary politics. Lloyd's book should interest a wide readership. It will challenge literary critics to deal more directly with political and historiographic issues, just as its deft analyses of literary texts will deepen the analytic perspectives of scholars in history, anthropology, and the social sciences."—Satya P. Mohanty

"David Lloyd's 1987 book on James Clarence Mangan presented Irish criticism with a challenge that has not yet been taken up. Now he has gathered together his essays on Yeats, Beckett, Heaney, and other writers, placing them in the context of cultural studies and minorities' discourse. I rarely agree with his specific conclusions, but his arguments are extremely difficult to refute. It is clear that we must take serious issue with him."—Denis Donoghue

"The writing of Ireland exemplifies the crisis of representation. It is a literature of territorial division, Anglocentric appropriation, diasporic peoples and exilic authors, that stages the vivid, visceral struggle to belong, to return, to re-make a tradition. Anomolous States explores these ambivalences of post-colonial identity and nationhood with a memorable brillance. David Lloyd's readings make a considerable contribution to contemporary cultural studies."—Homi K. Bhabha

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822313441
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Series: Post-Contemporary Interventions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 174
  • Lexile: 1710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
'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
Violence and the Constitution of the Novel 125
Bibliography 163
Index 169
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