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UCD Scholarcast - Series 4: Reconceiving the British Isles: The Literature of the Archipelago

PJ Mathews

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UCD Scholarcast - Series 4: Reconceiving the British Isles: The Literature of the Archipelago

UCD Scholarcast - Series 4: Reconceiving the British Isles: The Literature of the Archipelago

PJ Mathews

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In his book, On the Shores of Politics, Jacques Ranciere argues that the Western Platonic project of utopian politics has been based upon 'an anti-maritime polemic'. The treacherous boundaries of the political are imagined as island shores, riverbanks, and abysses. Its enemies are the mutinous waves and the drunken sailor. 'In order to save politics', writes Ranciere, 'it must be pulled aground among the shepherds'. And yet, as Ranciere points out, this always entails the paradox that to found a new utopian island, safe from the perils of sailors and the sea, means crossing the sea once more.1 Margaret Cohen, in an article surveying the turn towards maritime themes in twenty-first century literary criticism, argues that literary scholars have historically fixed their gazes upon land, with an effort 'so spectacular that it might be called hydrophasia'. But that hydrophasia appears to be ebbing, and the new attention given to the sea, as what Hester Blum calls 'a proprioceptive point of inquiry', in Oceanic Studies, the New Atlantic Studies, and the Archipelagic paradigm gathering strength in British and Irish Studies, promises some degree of liberation from the terra firma overdeterminations of nationalism within literary studies. Series Editor: John Brannigan. Scholarcast theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey. Development: John Matthews, Brian Kelly, Vincent Hoban, Niall Watts, UCD IT Services, Media Services

Latest Episodes

Scholarcast 25: 'Dreaming of the Islands': The Poetry of the Shipping Forecast

This lecture examines poems which make reference to the Shipping Forecast, as broadcast by BBC Radio Four, including poems by Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Sean Street, Andrew McNeillie, and Andrew Waterman. The aim of the lecture is to consider how both the radio broadcast and the poems it inspired conceptualise the cultural geography of the British Isles. If culture is, as Wendy James has argued, 'adverbial' rather than 'nominal', what kind of cultural geography of the Isles is practised in the poems which draw upon the forecast's daily and nightly ritual of naming the sea areas around Britain and Ireland? How might this maritime and archipelagic imagination of the Isles be related to current post-devolutionary attempts to reconceive the British Isles, both politically and intellectually?

35 MIN2011 MAY 27
Comments
Scholarcast 25: 'Dreaming of the Islands': The Poetry of the Shipping Forecast

Scholarcast 24: England Versus English Literature

This presentation looks at the relationship between England and the British discipline of English Literature, whose origin, it argues, owes much to the state unification of Britain between 1790 and 1815, particularly informed by an anti-French-Revolutionary Burkean philosophy which was defined by opposition to a written constitution, and by opposition to the national.

21 MIN2011 MAY 27
Comments
Scholarcast 24: England Versus English Literature

Scholarcast 21: Scottish and Irish Second World War Poetry

The relationship between the poetic and the national is crucial to how war poetry is perceived and interpreted. This essay looks at Second World War (and wartime) poetry from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and in particular at images of absence, cancellation, annulment and denial, to explore differences in each poetry between how the war and the role of the poet in the war are constructed.

37 MIN2010 AUG 4
Comments
Scholarcast 21: Scottish and Irish Second World War Poetry

Scholarcast 20: Alright, Jack? Conflict and Cohesion in Britain, 2005-10

Nick Groom's study of the union, The Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag, was published in 2006. In this paper, he brings that story up to the present day by surveying the past five years of Union Jackery, from Gordon Brown's initial enthusiasm for new definitions of Britishness through ongoing redefinitions of the iconic image of the flag to the almost complete absence of issues of national identity in the debates preceding the 2010 UK General Election.

37 MIN2010 JUL 12
Comments
Scholarcast 20: Alright, Jack? Conflict and Cohesion in Britain, 2005-10

Scholarcast 19: Four Nations Feminism: Una Troy and Menna Gallie

The emergence of four nations framework in literary and historical scholarship has helped us to arrive at a fuller understanding of the complex and overlapping histories of the islands of Britain and Ireland, while recent research into Wales and Ireland in particular has helped to make the map of our relations more fully comprehensible. But what is the relevance and meaning of the four nations context for womens writing in Ireland and Wales? What part does gender play in the interconnected histories of Wales and Ireland, and how are questions of sexual and artistic identity addressed within texts that imagine British-Irish history in gendered terms? This lecture identifies finds evidence of a feminist reimagining of archipelagic relationships by two writers: Munster novelist and playwright Una Troy, and Welsh writer Menna Gallie, born into a mining community on the western edge of the South Wales coalfields. Both Troy and Gallie wrote novels that deploy plots of female friendship to...

36 MIN2010 JUN 28
Comments
Scholarcast 19: Four Nations Feminism: Una Troy and Menna Gallie

Scholarcast 18: Dynamism, deixis and cultural positioning in some contemporary poetry

Among the many divergent strands of Irish and Welsh cultural history, one commonality stands out: the profoundly self-conscious preoccupation with nationality and nationhood. For decades, political and cultural thinkers have troped this concern in the spatialized relation between centre and periphery. This paper finds poets working on both sides of the Irish Sea strategically critiquing the exhausted-seeming dialectic of the centre-periphery paradigm, in their anti-deterministic deployment of deixis, the term assigned by cognitive linguists to words which point or position. The few existing studies of deixis in poetry typically presume on its unvarying functional effect: to situate and anchor the voice(s) and environment(s) of the poetic text. Interestingly, poets like Catherine Walsh and Zoe Skoulding, writing out of Ireland and North Wales respectively, call that assumption into question. Both these poets use deictic signifiers in ways which deliberately, arguably self-protectivel...

34 MIN2010 MAY 27
Comments
Scholarcast 18: Dynamism, deixis and cultural positioning in some contemporary poetry

Scholarcast 17: Professions of English diaspora

In '"I have only one culture and it is not mine": Professions of English diaspora', Julian Wolfreys engages in acts of memory-work, to recover, through a focus on the voice as mnemotechnic and anamnesiac trace, the occluded and marginalized cultural differences of the regional English. Through a reflection on the work of the literary as archive and and the role folk song and folk culture play in the spectral maintenance of different Englishnesses over a thousand year period, Wolfreys argues that at a time when a national agenda for national identity is more urgently damaging than ever, turning to the embedded traces of different, pre-industrial pasts, offers modes of perception and representation that are based on equalities, rather than hierarchies of difference.

33 MIN2010 MAY 20
Comments
Scholarcast 17: Professions of English diaspora

Scholarcast 16: Poems and Paradigms

In Poems and Paradigms Edna Longley argues that the archipelagic paradigm is crucial to the criticism of modern poetry in English. Quoting John Kerrigan on the expansive, multi-levelled, polycentric aspects of the literary and cultural field, she discussed five poems which display their archipelagic co-ordinates on the surface: W.B. Yeats’s Under Saturn (1919), Philip Larkin’s The Importance of Elsewhere (1955), W.S. Graham’s Loch Thom (1977), Edward Thomas’s The Ash Grove (1916) and Louis MacNeice’s Carrick Revisited (1945). For Longley, the poems’ deeper aesthetic dynamics epitomise how influences move around within the archipelago, and she particularly emphasises serial transformations of Wordsworth and Yeats. She sees archipelagic and national paradigms as complementary, but criticises the way in which national poetic canons marginalise border cases’, saying: If a poem doesn’t fit the paradigm, change the paradigm. She goes on to suggest that, in the mid twentieth centur...

33 MIN2010 MAY 6
Comments
Scholarcast 16: Poems and Paradigms
the END

Latest Episodes

Scholarcast 25: 'Dreaming of the Islands': The Poetry of the Shipping Forecast

This lecture examines poems which make reference to the Shipping Forecast, as broadcast by BBC Radio Four, including poems by Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Sean Street, Andrew McNeillie, and Andrew Waterman. The aim of the lecture is to consider how both the radio broadcast and the poems it inspired conceptualise the cultural geography of the British Isles. If culture is, as Wendy James has argued, 'adverbial' rather than 'nominal', what kind of cultural geography of the Isles is practised in the poems which draw upon the forecast's daily and nightly ritual of naming the sea areas around Britain and Ireland? How might this maritime and archipelagic imagination of the Isles be related to current post-devolutionary attempts to reconceive the British Isles, both politically and intellectually?

35 MIN2011 MAY 27
Comments
Scholarcast 25: 'Dreaming of the Islands': The Poetry of the Shipping Forecast

Scholarcast 24: England Versus English Literature

This presentation looks at the relationship between England and the British discipline of English Literature, whose origin, it argues, owes much to the state unification of Britain between 1790 and 1815, particularly informed by an anti-French-Revolutionary Burkean philosophy which was defined by opposition to a written constitution, and by opposition to the national.

21 MIN2011 MAY 27
Comments
Scholarcast 24: England Versus English Literature

Scholarcast 21: Scottish and Irish Second World War Poetry

The relationship between the poetic and the national is crucial to how war poetry is perceived and interpreted. This essay looks at Second World War (and wartime) poetry from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and in particular at images of absence, cancellation, annulment and denial, to explore differences in each poetry between how the war and the role of the poet in the war are constructed.

37 MIN2010 AUG 4
Comments
Scholarcast 21: Scottish and Irish Second World War Poetry

Scholarcast 20: Alright, Jack? Conflict and Cohesion in Britain, 2005-10

Nick Groom's study of the union, The Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag, was published in 2006. In this paper, he brings that story up to the present day by surveying the past five years of Union Jackery, from Gordon Brown's initial enthusiasm for new definitions of Britishness through ongoing redefinitions of the iconic image of the flag to the almost complete absence of issues of national identity in the debates preceding the 2010 UK General Election.

37 MIN2010 JUL 12
Comments
Scholarcast 20: Alright, Jack? Conflict and Cohesion in Britain, 2005-10

Scholarcast 19: Four Nations Feminism: Una Troy and Menna Gallie

The emergence of four nations framework in literary and historical scholarship has helped us to arrive at a fuller understanding of the complex and overlapping histories of the islands of Britain and Ireland, while recent research into Wales and Ireland in particular has helped to make the map of our relations more fully comprehensible. But what is the relevance and meaning of the four nations context for womens writing in Ireland and Wales? What part does gender play in the interconnected histories of Wales and Ireland, and how are questions of sexual and artistic identity addressed within texts that imagine British-Irish history in gendered terms? This lecture identifies finds evidence of a feminist reimagining of archipelagic relationships by two writers: Munster novelist and playwright Una Troy, and Welsh writer Menna Gallie, born into a mining community on the western edge of the South Wales coalfields. Both Troy and Gallie wrote novels that deploy plots of female friendship to...

36 MIN2010 JUN 28
Comments
Scholarcast 19: Four Nations Feminism: Una Troy and Menna Gallie

Scholarcast 18: Dynamism, deixis and cultural positioning in some contemporary poetry

Among the many divergent strands of Irish and Welsh cultural history, one commonality stands out: the profoundly self-conscious preoccupation with nationality and nationhood. For decades, political and cultural thinkers have troped this concern in the spatialized relation between centre and periphery. This paper finds poets working on both sides of the Irish Sea strategically critiquing the exhausted-seeming dialectic of the centre-periphery paradigm, in their anti-deterministic deployment of deixis, the term assigned by cognitive linguists to words which point or position. The few existing studies of deixis in poetry typically presume on its unvarying functional effect: to situate and anchor the voice(s) and environment(s) of the poetic text. Interestingly, poets like Catherine Walsh and Zoe Skoulding, writing out of Ireland and North Wales respectively, call that assumption into question. Both these poets use deictic signifiers in ways which deliberately, arguably self-protectivel...

34 MIN2010 MAY 27
Comments
Scholarcast 18: Dynamism, deixis and cultural positioning in some contemporary poetry

Scholarcast 17: Professions of English diaspora

In '"I have only one culture and it is not mine": Professions of English diaspora', Julian Wolfreys engages in acts of memory-work, to recover, through a focus on the voice as mnemotechnic and anamnesiac trace, the occluded and marginalized cultural differences of the regional English. Through a reflection on the work of the literary as archive and and the role folk song and folk culture play in the spectral maintenance of different Englishnesses over a thousand year period, Wolfreys argues that at a time when a national agenda for national identity is more urgently damaging than ever, turning to the embedded traces of different, pre-industrial pasts, offers modes of perception and representation that are based on equalities, rather than hierarchies of difference.

33 MIN2010 MAY 20
Comments
Scholarcast 17: Professions of English diaspora

Scholarcast 16: Poems and Paradigms

In Poems and Paradigms Edna Longley argues that the archipelagic paradigm is crucial to the criticism of modern poetry in English. Quoting John Kerrigan on the expansive, multi-levelled, polycentric aspects of the literary and cultural field, she discussed five poems which display their archipelagic co-ordinates on the surface: W.B. Yeats’s Under Saturn (1919), Philip Larkin’s The Importance of Elsewhere (1955), W.S. Graham’s Loch Thom (1977), Edward Thomas’s The Ash Grove (1916) and Louis MacNeice’s Carrick Revisited (1945). For Longley, the poems’ deeper aesthetic dynamics epitomise how influences move around within the archipelago, and she particularly emphasises serial transformations of Wordsworth and Yeats. She sees archipelagic and national paradigms as complementary, but criticises the way in which national poetic canons marginalise border cases’, saying: If a poem doesn’t fit the paradigm, change the paradigm. She goes on to suggest that, in the mid twentieth centur...

33 MIN2010 MAY 6
Comments
Scholarcast 16: Poems and Paradigms
the END
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