Irish society has been transformed in the 21st century through multivariate forces of globalization, granting a renewed impetus to the issue of locality and universality in Irish literature. Since the end of the 19th century, the relationship between the local and the universal has been a persistent concern in a wide range of Irish novels, short stories, poems and plays. Irish writers have often achieved their most illuminating reflections on such universal themes as desire, communication, love, conflict and death through effective renderings of local environments. Yet locality also appears in Irish literature as an inhibiting influence that writers transcend towards broader European, global, or even cosmic contexts for human expression and experience. Conversely, there arises the degree to which cosmopolitan literary works by Irish authors may simplify or distort local circumstances in the pursuit of global appeal and multicultural panache. The essays gathered in this special collection engage these aspects of locality and universality when addressing works of Irish fiction, poetry, drama and film from the early 20th century to the present. Among the issues that arise in these discussions are literary form, violence, trauma and memory, gender emancipation, ecology, spirituality, justice and the nature of the human.
Guest edited by Michael McAteer, Associate Professor (habil.), Institute of English and American Studies, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.