Mise Eire : national and personal identity in two recent Irish memoirs.
Chapter One will outline the way I will be using the constructs of "national" and "personal" identity, and will then move on to provide a brief contextual setting for the creation and importance of certain literary conventions of Irish topography and character, in particular by examining the cultural nationalism in Yeats's poems. In doing so, I will outline the metaphor of evolution which is crucial in this dissertation, and will examine some of the ethical implications of employing this metaphor. Chapter Two will examine the 1996 memoir Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, outline McCourt's employment of various stock Irish tropes, and show how this leads to a conflation of "personal" and "national" identity, to the detriment of the memoir. Chapter Three will turn to critique Are You Somebody?, the memoir by Nuala O'Faolain which was also published in 1996. I will argue that, in contrast to Angela 's Ashes, Are You Somebody? offers a constructive fusion of both kinds of identity national and personal. In Chapter Four, I will compare and contrast key issues in the texts, in relation to their both being memoirs of (Irish) national significance, published at the same time in a changing Ireland, and I will conclude by arguing that the process of invention which is necessary for the writing of a memoir is equally necessary for the creation of a national identity.
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