Writing the colonial past in postcolonial Ireland: an Anglo-Irish response

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Kelly, Mary (2013)
  • Publisher: Historical Geography Specialty Group, Association of American Geographers
  • Subject: geography

Whilst colonialism has left very visible impacts on Ireland’s landscapes, people, culture and identity, it has also left a significant imprint on Irish historical imaginations and on scholarship. One of the legacies of colonialism in Ireland and\ud elsewhere is its effect on how we understand and approach the past. In the Irish context one dominant narrative has been that which has painted the colonial community (the Anglo-Irish) as a class of alien Others who lived parasitically off Irish land and labour and were out-of-place in the Irish landscape both during colonialism and after it. In this paper I explore one mid-twentieth Anglo-Irish response to this narrative, Elizabeth Bowen’s Bowen’s Court (1942). In doing so, I trace the evolving relationships that members of a colonial family had with Ireland as documented within the spaces of the text to reveal a more spatially nuanced view of the position of the Anglo-Irish in the Irish landscape.
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