Studies of Irish literary traditions have focused primarily on land and landscape, which stands to reason given that Irish writing has been so frequently involved in efforts to reclaim and reimagine a national terrain. But one could argue that Ireland’s history and cultures were actually more shaped by water, from the island’s situation in an Anglo-Celtic archipelago populated by waves of settlement, trade, and conquest, to its diaspora across the Atlantic and the seas of Europe, to its immersion in the expansive saltwater networks that mobilized objects, persons, and ideas throughout Britain’s maritime empire. The past fifteen years or so have seen an upsurge in oceanic studies and the “blue” humanities, interdisciplinary fields that study the associations between water and human histories and cultures, ranging from the sea as a symbol of otherness and geological time, to its role in and damage from transnational human movements, to its implicit offer...
Ireland, Literature, and the Coast: Seatangled by Nicholas Allen
Nels Pearson is professor of English and director of the Humanities Institute at Fairfield University. His research, which focuses on the historical and political contexts of British and Irish modernism, is increasingly concerned with the role of water and maritime history across the British and Irish archipelago. His 2015 book Irish Cosmopolitanism: Location and Dislocation in James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett was awarded the Donald J. Murphy Prize by the American Conference for Irish Studies. His articles on literary modernism have appeared in many forums including ELH, Modern Fiction Studies, Twentieth-Century Literature, Irish University Review, Studies in Scottish Literature, The Blackwell Companion to Virginia Woolf, and the Norton Critical Edition of Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer” and Other Stories. He is also coeditor, with Marc Singer, of Detective Fiction in a Postcolonial and Transnational World (2009).
Nels Pearson; Ireland, Literature, and the Coast: Seatangled by Nicholas Allen. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2022; 68 (3): 353–363. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-10028109
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