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John McGahern and modernism

Author: Richard Robinson
Publisher: London ; New York, NY : Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2017.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"John McGahern's work is not easily conceived of as belatedly modernist. His memorialising, faintly archaic style implies a concern with 'making it old' rather than new, suggesting the symptomatic diffidence of many who wrote in the wake of modernism. Nevertheless, McGahern's statements about the 'presence' of words and the hard-won impersonality of the artwork point to a covert engagement with modernist aesthetics.
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Robinson, Richard, 1967-
John McGahern and modernism.
London : New York, NY : Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2016
(DLC) 2016016300
Named Person: John McGahern; John McGahern; John McGahern
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Richard Robinson
ISBN: 9781441125781 1441125787
OCLC Number: 946076104
Description: 261 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: 'Useless passion': naturalism, existentialism and Christianity in The barracks --
Mining the self: The dark --
Quoting modernism in the short stories: Joyce, Yeats, Chekhov and Beckett --
Psychoanalytical signification and the remnants of literature: The Leavetaking --
'Low' modernism: The pornographer --
Yeats, Nietzsche, theatricality and will in Amongst Women --
'Careful neutrality': education and reticence in 'Strandhill, the sea', 'Hearts of oak, bellies of brass' and 'High ground' --
'The old pieties': modernity and 'The country funeral' --
Habit, memory and yime: 'A sip-up', 'The wine breath', 'All sorts of impossible things' and 'Gold watch' --
'Everything that had flowered had now come to fruit': modernist time and That they may face the rising sun.
Responsibility: Richard Robinson.

Abstract:

"John McGahern's work is not easily conceived of as belatedly modernist. His memorialising, faintly archaic style implies a concern with 'making it old' rather than new, suggesting the symptomatic diffidence of many who wrote in the wake of modernism. Nevertheless, McGahern's statements about the 'presence' of words and the hard-won impersonality of the artwork point to a covert engagement with modernist aesthetics. Offering intertextual interpretations of McGahern's six novels, and of thematically grouped short stories, Richard Robinson reads McGahern's fiction alongside writing by Joyce, Proust, Yeats, Beckett, Nietzsche, Lawrence and Chekhov, amongst others. Drawing out the ways in which McGahern's fiction conceals and reveals its modernist traces, this study considers subjects such as 'low' modernism, the complexity of McGahern's time-writing and his dialectical construction of the relationship between cultural tradition and modernity in Ireland. McGahern's narratives of melancholic return are often read psycho-biographically, but they also involve a return to the remnants of literature, including that of the modernist canon. This monograph will be of interest not only to McGahern scholars but also to those interested in the compromised legacies of literary modernism in late-twentieth century and contemporary writing."--

"Challenging assumptions about John McGahern as an old-fashioned realist, this study confirms him as a writer dramatically engaged with the impact of progress on tradition"--

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It is a particular pleasure to see McGahern's short stories situated alongside his novels ... [Robinson's] analysis shines. * Times Literary Supplement * Richard Robinson's book is a welcome Read more...

 
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