Irish fiction; First World War; Anglo-Irish Ascendancy; trauma; narrativity; specters
Celtic Studies | English Language and Literature | Folklore | History | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Linguistics | Theatre History
In Elizabeth Bowen’s A World of Love and J. G. Farrell’s Troubles, the First World War’s dead reappear as specters within the Anglo-Irish estate. Through the lens of traumatology, this essay examines the symbolic function of this spectral return in light of its psychological, political, and cultural-historical implications for the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, and more broadly, for contemporary Ireland. This essay argues that although A World of Love and Troubles are empathetic representations of how the Ascendancy experienced the First World War as an historical locus of trauma, their narrative designs figure spectral return as a symbolic mode of critique aimed at this class’s occlusive processing of traumatic loss: in processing the war as the loss of its own raison d’etre – of both its men and of its centuries-long dominance – the Ascendancy would remain inward- and backward-looking, unreceptive to the sense of trauma or personal suffering the war also caused for others. Spectral return signifies the Ascendancy’s tendency to remain entrenched in its own traumatic past.
"When the Specters of the First World War Return to the Anglo-Irish Estate: Elizabeth Bowen’s A World of Love and J. G. Farrell’s Troubles,"
e-Keltoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies: Vol. 5, Article 4.
Available at: https://dc.uwm.edu/ekeltoi/vol5/iss1/4