Narratives of Dispossession: The Persistence of Famine in Postcolonial Irish Fiction

Matthew Schultz


This essay demonstrates the ways in which two thematically and structurally similar novels, Nuala O’Faolain’s My Dream of You (2001) and Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea (2002), complicate popular uses of the Famine narrative in arguments on both sides of the debate over Irish independence. By calling forth ghosts from the 19th century to expose both intentional and unintentional misrepresentations of the Famine (imagery, ideological meaning, and political mandate), O’Faolain and O’Connor redefine modern Ireland in terms of hunger and dispossession, revealing a more complex national narrative and a more cosmopolitan national identity.


Famine; Ireland; Novels; Politics; Revisionist

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