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      ‘Things We’d Rather Forget’: Trauma, the Troubles, and Magical Realism in Post-Agreement Northern Irish Women’s Short Stories

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          Abstract

          The post-Good Friday/Belfast Agreement period has witnessed an efflorescence of magical realist fiction by Northern Irish women authors. Although these texts were published during an ostensibly ‘post-conflict’ moment, recurrent trauma linked to the Troubles manifests in the form of magical realist narrative elements such as surrealist, fantastic, and phantasmal events and characters. This essay considers the ways in which the magical realist mode is useful to women writers within the context of contemporary Northern Irish culture. The dialectical structure of magical realism makes this mode well-suited to post-Agreement, ‘post-conflict’ literature, which ricochets back and forth across the ‘post-’ marker in order to explore how the past impinges upon the present. This study analyses work by Jan Carson, Bernie McGill, and Roisín O’Donnell, authors whose magical realist texts address the ‘living ghosts’ of the Troubles. Their stories investigate the transgenerational memory of trauma and the ‘legacy’ of the conflict and consider the ways in which these are transmitted. They examine the impact of this transmission on the family unit – particularly upon younger generations – and contemplate the nature of the society that they will inherit. These writers utilise the magical realist mode as a means to challenge received narratives about Northern Ireland and to engage with the memory of trauma, which has been sublimated by the progressivist discourse of the Agreement.

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          Most cited references45

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          Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History.

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            Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas

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              The Location of Culture

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                18 September 2018
                2018
                : 4
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Independent Scholar, IE
                Article
                10.16995/olh.247
                f4b4df82-936e-4f9e-b8d0-89a47febbb7e
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Product
                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                #Agreement20

                Literary studies,Religious studies & Theology,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,History,Philosophy

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