Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The ‘Uncreated’ Voice of a Nation: James Joyce and the Twentieth Century Irish Bildungsroman places James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in conversation with numerous later twentieth century Bildungsromane to argue that texts by Edna O’Brien, John McGahern, Roddy Doyle, Patrick McCabe, Jamie O’Neill, Eimear McBride, Seamus Deane, and Bernard MacLaverty examine the tension between liberation and oppression, hope and despair, to explore the complexities of these tensions untapped by Joyce, paradoxically producing darker conclusions in the Free State/Republic than in the North. I suggest that the postcolonial Irish writer feels greater anxieties about allowing the form of the Bildungsroman any sense of resolution than his/her colonial, Northern Irish counterpart. If one views liberation from colonial rule as a future event, that future is “uncreated” in its brightly-colored potential. If one views liberation from colonial rule as a past event, the present is instead an examination of the failures of revolution and the lingering ghosts of colonial rule that often appear in the guise of these very revolutionary failures.
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