Representing the Troubles in Irish Short Fiction

Representing the Troubles in Irish Short Fiction

by Michael L. Storey

5.50 x 8.50 x 0.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780813233109
  • Published: February 2020


  • Hardcover
  • 9780813213668
  • Published: June 2004


  • eBook
  • 9780813216607
  • Published: June 2004



Representing the Troubles in Irish Short Fiction offers a comprehensive examination of Irish short stories written over the last eighty years that have treated the Troubles, Ireland's intractable conflict that arose out of its relationship to England. Read chronologically, the stories provide insightful perspectives on the Troubles, from the 1916 Easter Rising to the recent sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Nearly every Irish short-story writer during this period has written on the subject, from Corkery, O'Connor, O'Faolain, and O'Flaherty to Lavin, Kiely, Trevor, MacLaverty, Devlin, Morrow, and McCann, among others. The book examines their stories and places them in their proper historical and political contexts. In doing so, it demonstrates how Irish writers have embraced a variety of literary modes and techniques in order to track the varied and changing attitudes of the Irish toward every aspect of the Troubles, including revolution, violence, sectarianism, terrorism, and identity-thinking.

Stories about the Troubles began as the romantic expression of the intense nationalism felt by the rebels of the Easter Rising, but the violence and betrayal of the Civil War of 1922-23 led writers to adopt the mode of literary naturalism to express their disillusionment with nationalism. In the 1930s and 1940s Irish writers often treated the Troubles theme with humor and satire. As tensions increased in the middle decades of the century, culminating in a renewal of violence in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s and extending into the 1990s, writers turned their attention to realistic depictions of sectarian tensions and then to more graphic portrayals of violence and terrorism. In the last few years, writers have explored possible solutions to the Troubles, from the reconciliation of divided communities to the abandonment of cultural identity.

As the only comprehensive study of the subject, this volume makes an important contribution to an understanding of the treatment of the Troubles in Irish short fiction.

Michael L. Storey is Professor of English at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.


"Lucid textual analysis, balanced theoretical frameworks, a helpful glossary, a thorough bibliography, and two indexes make this a very useful contribution to Irish studies." — D.R. McCarthy, Choice Magazine

"Storey finds neither group yielding; but the ordinary person, fed up with Ulster's maiming and killing, has come to reject both sides. 'The future citizen of Northern Ireland...may be a person with no cultural identity.' Storey's words — informed, sensible, restrained — will reverberate. There is hope."- James H. Bready, Baltimore Sun

"A comprehensive overview of Irish short stories written about the Troubles during the last eighty odd years.... Storey offers a lucid and insightful account of the historical and political context of [the] period. Thus he gives extremely useful summary descriptions of the changing public perception of the Troubles, of the role of women in the revolution, or of the solidification of sectarian identities.... [A] lucid and much-needed overview."—Elke D'Hoker, Irish University Review

"An excellent, important book written in a clear, accessible style. This book is the first to systematically examine virtually all twentieth-century stories about the Troubles. The author fruitfully brings to bear such key current theoretical issues as gender and postcolonialism, achieving a significant contribution to the field."—James M. Cahalan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

"This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the twentieth century Irish short story, and is written in an accessible, student-friendly style. It gives detailed summaries of the short stories, explains their historical and political contexts, and interacts