Where Motley is Worn: Transnational Irish Literatures
Transnationalism—and the connected issues of race, migration, and diaspora—has been an area of increasing interest in Irish Studies. Where Motley Is Worn is one of the first collections to focus on transnationalism in Irish literature. Although Irish literature has shaped national consciousness, this collection illustrates how literature has constructed a transnational imaginary—not only in the contemporary moment but also during earlier periods of Irish history. The chapter-length introduction outlines the transnational turn in Irish Studies while the eleven essays that follow are split between transnational Irish literature in the nineteenth century and the twentieth and twenty-first century.
From Ireland’s emergence in the global economy and accompanying inward migration to its increasing emigration and racial strife following the 2008 recession, transnationalism has been a meaningful topic in contemporary Irish culture. Most scholars view the “new” multicultural Ireland as a rupture from earlier historical periods. This collection takes a different approach. Using transnationalism as a framework, the volume investigates how the multiple connections that Ireland has fostered with diverse parts of the globe influenced its literary output and production. Where Motley is Worn opens the borders of Irish literary studies, which has traditionally been dominated by a nation-centred focus.
The essays in this collection cover both a wide historical period, covering the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries and a broad geographical range, from Asia to the Caribbean and Latin America. By examining writing that places Irish identity in dialogue with other cultural, national, or ethnic affiliations, the collection allows us to see how Irish literatures have participated in and shaped dynamic cultural flows across the globe.
Amanda Tucker is at the Department of Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Moira Casey is in the Department of English Miami University.
This book review appeared in Stylus: Trade, Academic, and Professional Books - Fall 2014, book catalogue. For more information about, and to place an order of "Where Motley is Worn: Transnational Irish Literatures,” please check Stylus/Cork University Press website.