Neo-Victorian Re-Imaginations of the Famine : Negotiating Bare Life through Transnational Memory

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Neo-Victorian Studies. Swansea University. 2019, 12(1), pp. 80-118. eISSN 1757-9481
Zusammenfassung

Taking its cue from transcultural memory studies and the notion of travelling memory, this article analyses neo-Victorian famine novels, film and music with regard to these texts’ orientations towards the hungry body. The Great Famine in Ireland caused mass migration and resulted in both geographical and cultural re-orientations across a range of intertextual and intermedial products published in Ireland and in the diaspora, including Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea (2002), which looks back to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), and Paul Lynch’s Grace (2017), which obliquely evokes Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton (1848). It is certainly no surprise that the literature of the Hungry Forties serves as a major reference point for neo-Victorian famine literature, but these references also indicate re-orientations of memory that simultaneously renegotiate the historiography of the famine in the present. Lance Daly’s 2018 film Black 47, for instance, appropriates the Western genre to tackle the history of the famine, thus overlaying Irish and American cultural trajectories. Finally, Sinéad O’Connor’s song ‘Famine’ (Universal Mother, 1994) cites a quatrain from the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (Revolver, 1966), interweaving her plea for a re-orientation of Irish history with England’s musical legacy, but also indicating future possible orientations of memory work. I argue that the geographical paths of migration and the embodied situatedness of hunger find cultural representation in criss-crossing lines of memory work running through hybridised forms of literature and other aesthetic media.

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800 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft
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Black 47, Lance Daly, ‘Famine’, Grace, the Great Famine, Paul Lynch, Joseph O’Connor, Sinéad O’Connor, Star of the Sea, transnational memory studies
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ISO 690BÖHM-SCHNITKER, Nadine, 2019. Neo-Victorian Re-Imaginations of the Famine : Negotiating Bare Life through Transnational Memory. In: Neo-Victorian Studies. Swansea University. 2019, 12(1), pp. 80-118. eISSN 1757-9481
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@article{BohmSchnitker2019NeoVi-59541,
  year={2019},
  title={Neo-Victorian Re-Imaginations of the Famine : Negotiating Bare Life through Transnational Memory},
  url={http://www.neovictorianstudies.com/past_issues/12-1-2019/default.htm},
  number={1},
  volume={12},
  journal={Neo-Victorian Studies},
  pages={80--118},
  author={Böhm-Schnitker, Nadine}
}
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