Rites of defilement: abjection and the body politic in Northern Irish poetry

Brewster, Scott (2005) Rites of defilement: abjection and the body politic in Northern Irish poetry. Irish University Review, 35 (2). pp. 304-319. ISSN 0021-1427


Request a copy
[img] Microsoft Word
RitesDefilementIUR.doc - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


It might be argued that Northern Ireland - a territorial and signifying space whose meanings and boundaries have been so violently contested, a body politic sustained and racked by anomalous and permeable partition - has been in the condition of abjection since its foundation. Against this disorder, Northern Irish writing has often been posited as a purifying, redemptive force, able to ‘hold a plea’ with the rage of conflict and crisis. Yet, for Julia Kristeva, it is literature that carries the full power of abjection into effect. Through analysis of the work of Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Ciaran Carson and Tom Paulin, this essay traces how Northern poetry has given effect to the power of abjection over the last thirty years, in terms of its response to the physical and affective impact of violence, to a degraded polity, and to the fragile borders of identity and belonging.

Keywords:Julia Kristeva, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson, Derek Mahon, Tom Paulin
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:15041
Deposited On:25 Sep 2014 08:33

Repository Staff Only: item control page