Recovery and Forgetting: Haunting Remains in Northern Irish Culture

  • Shane Alcobia-Murphy
Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)


Graham Dawson has argued that the attempt to overcome the ‘legacy of the past’ in Northern Ireland, by consigning it to oblivion, is problematic because ‘it leaves intact deep sources of grief, grievance and antagonism that are rooted in the recent history of the Troubles’.1 What can result from the determination to archive the past and foster shared amnesia is not closure for the victims, but rather the accentuation of their trauma. This chapter examines the cultural resistance to such politically prescribed forgetting, focusing specifically on the portrayal of victims, and the spectral return of those who have been ‘disappeared’, in Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark, David Farrell’s Innocent Landscapes, and Willie Doherty’s Ghost Story.2


Transitional Justice Peace Process Cultural Resistance Truth Recovery Trauma Narrative 
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Articles, Books, Pamphlets, Television Programmes and Websites

  1. Doherty, Willie, Buried, ed. by Fiona Bradley (Edinburgh: Fruitmarket Gallery, 2009).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shane Alcobia-Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.AberdeenUK

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