Border Country: Postcolonial Ecocriticism in Ireland
The spatial turn in Ireland has emerged from a focus on postcolonial discourse, a historical model that critiques the inequalities inherent in Irish modernity. A focus on place as a means of establishing identity, particularly within the context of colonial and imperialist narratives, led to a dynamic discourse on literary representations of the environment in Irish studies depicting fraught relationships between land and scarcity. And yet, there was resistance to engaging with ecocriticism on a systematic level, as Eóin Flannery observes, “the field of Irish cultural studies has yet to exploit fully the critical and analytical resources of ecological criticism” (2012: 6). Previously, the discourse of space and place has been in the service of Irish cultural studies: how has our relationship with place made Ireland what it is today? One of the interesting aspects of the intervention of ecocriticism in the field of Irish studies is how much of ecocriticism is still in the trawl of the cultural implications for the environment. This article will examine the emergence of Irish studies and ecocritical discourse in recent years and explore the dynamic between post-colonialism and environmental criticism with respect to the Irish canon.
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