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2018 | 8 | 9-24
Article title

Post-revisionism: Conflict (Ir)resolution and the Limits of Ambivalence in Kevin McCarthy’s Peeler

Authors
Content
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
This essay considers a historical novel of recent times in revisionist terms, Kevin McCarthy’s debut novel of 2010, Peeler. In doing so, I also address the limitations that the novel exposes within Irish revisionism. I propose that McCarthy’s novel should be regarded more properly as a post-revisionist work of literature. A piece of detective fiction that is set during the Irish War of Independence from 1919 to 1921, Peeler challenges the romantic nationalist understanding of the War as one of heroic struggle by focusing its attention on a Catholic member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. In considering the circumstances in which Sergeant Seán O’Keefe finds himself as a policeman serving a community within which support for the IRA campaign against British rule is strong, the novel sheds sympathetic light on the experience of Catholic men who were members of the Royal Irish Constabulary until the force was eventually disbanded in 1922. At the same time, it demonstrates that the ambivalence in Sergeant O’Keefe’s attitudes ultimately proves unsustainable, thereby challenging the value that Irish revisionism has laid upon the ambivalent nature of political and cultural circumstances in Ireland with regard to Irish-British relations. In the process, I draw attention to important connections that McCarthy’s Peeler carries to Elizabeth Bowen’s celebrated novel of life in Anglo-Irish society in County Cork during the period of the Irish War of Independence: The Last September of 1929.
Year
Issue
8
Pages
9-24
Physical description
Dates
published
2018-11-23
Contributors
  • Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Budapest
References
  • Barthes, Roland. “The Photographic Message.” Image Music Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. London: Fontana, 1977. 15–31. Print.
  • Bowen, Elizabeth. The Heat of the Day. London: Vintage, 1998. Print.
  • Bowen, Elizabeth. The Last September. London: Vintage, 1998. Print.
  • Brady, Ciaran, ed. Interpreting Irish History: The Debate on Historical Revisionism. Dublin: Irish Academic P, 1994. Print.
  • Burke, Declan. “Watching the Detectives.” The Irish Times 29 May 2010: 49. Print.
  • Chekhov, Anton. “Three Sisters.” Eight Modern Plays. Ed. Anthony Caputi. London: Norton, 1991. 78–132. Print.
  • Gaughan, Anthony. The Memoirs of Constable Jeremiah Mee RIC. Dublin: Mercier, 2012. Print.
  • Hart, Peter. The I.R.A. and its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916–1923. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
  • Longley, Edna. The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1994. Print.
  • McCarthy, Kevin. Irregulars. Dublin: New Island, 2013. Print.
  • McCarthy, Kevin. Peeler. Dublin: Mercier, 2010. Print.
  • McDonald, Henry. “The Forgotten Force.” The Belfast Telegraph 23 July 2010: 38. Print.
  • Ó’Gráda, Cormac. Black ’47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1999. Print.
  • Ryan, David. Blasphemers and Blackguards: The Irish Hellfire Clubs. Dublin: Merrion, 2012. Print.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.ojs-doi-10_1515_texmat-2018-0001
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