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Bodies over the Boundary

  • Jennifer M. Jeffers

Abstract

In this chapter we will interpret texts that present an unusual set of circumstances in the contemporary Irish novel. The novels in this chapter flagrantly disrupt the boundaries of gender and sexuality, which at first suggests that these texts are easily decipherable. Because of the evident and frequently ostentatious gender and sexual differences in such novels as Emma Donoghues Hood or Tom Lennons Crazy Love, we might assume that we are able to “see” and read the texts easily. But from the history of the Irish novel written in English, no precedent is available. In a recent collection, Sex, Nation, and Dissent in Irish Writing (1997), Eibhear Walshe brings together critics who focus on the intersection of homoeroticism, nationalism, and political radicalism. According to Walshe, the collection begins with “two moments in Irish history: the criminalisation of same-sex desire in Britain and Ireland by means of the Labouchere Amendment (1885), and the construction of the political and cultural project of the Celtic Revival with Yeats s first collection of poetry (1889).”1 A concern for Walshe is the fact that “a lesbian and gay presence within any national literature troubles privileged formations of what traditionally constituted ‘woman’ and ‘man.’”2 In this chapter I am not concerned with the formation or manifestation of a national literature in relation to the contemporary Irish novel; yet, issues of an Irish homosexual identity are apparent in the recent novels.

Keywords

Heterosexual Woman Body Politic Irish Society Catholic Priest Lonely Existence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Sex, Nation, and Dissent in Irish Writing, ed. Eibhear Walshe (St. Martins, 1997), p. 2.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    See Wilhelm Dilthey, “The Rise of Hermeneutics,” in The Hermeneutic Tradition: From Ast to Ricoeur, eds. Gayle M. Ormiston and Alan D. Shrift, trans. Fredric Jameson (SUNY Press, 1990), p. 114.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    See Poetry and Experience, Wilhelm Dilthey Selected Works, Vol. V, eds. Rudolf A. Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi, trans. Joseph Ross (Princeton UP, 1985), p. 335.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    See Sue-Ellen Case, “Tracking the Vampire,” Differences, vol. 5 (Summer 1991), p. 3.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    See Emma Donoghue, Stir-fry (Penguin, 1995), p. 27. All subsequent references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  6. 19.
    See Tom Lennon, When Love Comes to Town (O’Brien, 1993), p. 82. All subsequent references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  7. 20.
    See Peggy Phelan’s Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (Routledge, 1993), p. 96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 22.
    See Gerry Smyth, The Novel and the Nation (Pluto, 1997), p. 161.Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    See Carole-Anne Tyler, “Passing: Narcissism, Identity, and Difference,” Differences, 6.23 (1994), p. 212.Google Scholar
  10. 30.
    See Marilyn R. Farwell, Heterosexual Plots and Lesbian Narratives (New York UP, 1996), pp. 99–100.Google Scholar
  11. 32.
    See Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Thousand Plateaux, trans. Brian Mas-sumi (U of Minnesota P, 1980) p. 308.Google Scholar
  12. 38.
    See Emma Donoghues Hood (Penguin, 1996), pp. 188–189. All subsequent references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  13. 41.
    See Walshes Introduction to Sex, Nation, and Dissent in Lrish Writing, p. 7. The quotation is from Jonathan Dollimore, “The Cultural Politics of Perversion,” Sexual Sameness, ed. Joseph Bristow (Routledge, 1992), p. 9.Google Scholar
  14. 42.
    See Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (Antelope, 1982), p. 14.Google Scholar
  15. 44.
    See Tom Lennon, Crazy Love (O’Brien, 1999), p. 51. All subsequent references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  16. 50.
    See Colm Toibin’s The Blackwater Lightship (Picador, 1999), p. 47. All subsequent references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  17. 53.
    See Patrick Hannon, “AIDS: Moral Issues,” Studies, vol. 79, no. 314 (Summer 1990), p. 109.Google Scholar
  18. 63.
    See Sue-Ellen Case, “Tracking the Vampire,” Differences, vol. 5 (Summer 1991), p. 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jennifer M. Jeffers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Jeffers

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