Chapter 2 - Nation: Reconciliation and the Politics of Friendship in Post-Troubles Literature

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Abstract

This chapter suggests that a discernible trend in post-Troubles Northern Irish fiction and drama is to revisit and revise the “love across the barricades” plot and, in this way, to (re)imagine new forms of political community beyond the communitarian divide. It argues that friendship may offer an alternative model for a political reconciliation than suggested by the peace process and outlined by the 1998 Agreement. Drawing on Andrew Schaap and Hannah Arendt, I propose a distinction between a filiative and an affiliative politics of reconciliation: between one that is predicated on the ideal of a stable community with a common identity and one that foregrounds the establishment of new forms of relationships, presupposing the irreducible plurality of viewpoints as a basis for dialogue about the common world. Focusing on Robert McLiam Wilson’s Eureka Street (1996), Glenn Patterson’s The Rest Just Follows (2014) and Mary O’Donnell’s Where They Lie (2014), this chapter suggests that all three novels consider friendship as a political principle that can give rise to an affiliative reconciliation in invoking a not-yet community beyond ethnonational lines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Irish Studies: Twenty-First Century Critical Revisions
EditorsPaige Reynolds
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages47-62
ISBN (Print) 9781108473996
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2020

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