Conscious Irish Fiction and the Repetitiveness of War: Transcultural Memories to Negotiate Peace in “Redemption Falls” and “TransAtlantic”


  • Elena Ogliari Università degli Studi di Milano


Słowa kluczowe:

Redemption Falls, TransAtlantic, peacebuilding, transcultural memory, war


Drawing on recent scholarship on transcultural memory and its role in peacebuilding, this paper explores the implications of entangling memories that belong to different pasts, places, and cultural groups in Joseph O’Connor’s Redemption Falls (2007) and Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic (2013). Both novels, written by authors interested in the notions of oppression and suppression of stories, are polyphonic texts that disrupt any single linear narrative by interweaving multiple storylines through constant movements across time and space. McCann’s focus shifts from the aftermath of WWI to the 1998 Belfast Agreement, while O’Connor’s novel deals with the American Civil War and Irish nationalism; both recount episodes of the Great Famine, the ensuing emigration, and the history of Abolitionism. Hence, painful memories of the Irish mingle with the mnemonic repertoires of those who suffered the abominations of slavery or internecine conflict in an attempt to give voice to the marginalised and highlight bonds between (apparently unrelated) groups of people. Moreover, this convergence of inherited memories binds the past with the present and the future, as the recollections have echoes of contemporary conflicts and global phenomena involving Ireland, whose role in them is implicitly interrogated. By fusing significant cultural memories across generations and spaces, these novels assert the ‘historical duty’ to remember to promote negotiation and mutual understanding between different cultural groups today. This paper, therefore, will first offer an overview of contemporary Irish fiction, characterised by an original world-facing, rather than nation-focused, outlook. Second, it will undertake the analysis of the selected novels to contribute to the ongoing discussion about the potential of literature to build sound knowledge of diverse human experiences and, as a consequence, promote peace.


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Jak cytować

Ogliari, E. (2023). Conscious Irish Fiction and the Repetitiveness of War: Transcultural Memories to Negotiate Peace in “Redemption Falls” and “TransAtlantic”. Jednak Książki. Gdańskie Czasopismo Humanistyczne, (16), 115–128.