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This study offers a series of readings in Irish culture in the light of the set of crises that beset the project of modernisation in Ireland from the late 1960s onwards. These crises – economic and political in the North, economic in the Republic – are argued to have contributed to a crisis of representation that can be seen to have afflicted a variety of intellectuals – novelists such as John Banville and Dermot Bolger, the playwright Brian Friel, the film-makers Bob Quinn, Pat Murphy and Neil Jordan, and the literary critics Edna Longley and Seamus Deane.
McCarthy locates the source of this problem in the overly narrow conceptualization of modernisation and modernity that has held sway in Irish intellectual life since the 1960s, and in a lack of attention paid to the negative aspects of the processes of modernisation. In particular, McCarthy points to the need to find a more nuanced response to the legacies of nationalism, as we move into the 21st century.
Conor McCarthy has taught at NUI Galway and the Mater Dei Institute, Dublin.