The Best Are Leaving: Emigration and Post-War Irish Culture by Clair Wills

By Clair Wills

Clair Wills's the easiest Are Leaving is a crucial and wide-ranging examine of post-war Irish emigrant tradition. Wills analyses representations of emigrants from eire and of Irish immigrants in Britain throughout more than a few discourses, together with reputable records, sociological texts, clerical literature, journalism, drama, literary fiction, and renowned literature and movie. This ebook, written through a number one critic of Irish literature and tradition, examines public opinion approximately post-war emigration from eire and in regards to the immigrant neighborhood in Britain through discussing issues comparable to the lack of the best humans from rural eire and the destruction of conventional groups; the anxieties of ladies emigrants and their hope for some great benefits of sleek buyer society; the stereotype of the drunken Irishman; the captivating and real kingdom Irish within the urban; and the ambiguous meanings of Irish Catholicism in England, which used to be seen as either a threatening and civilising strength. Wills explores this subject matter of emigration via writers as assorted as M. J. Molloy, John B. Keane, Tom Murphy, and Edna O'Brien.

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5 The sociological turn in Kavanagh’s writing is focused on the failure of marriage and generation. With the young women long gone from the rural community, and the old turned to barrenness and bitterness, the neutered life of farmers such as Patrick Maguire barely differs above and below ground. ’6 Such readings situate Kavanagh’s work as one of the founding moments of post-war Irish realism, with its concern to excavate a common core of affliction in Irish society: the traumas of family violence, sexual abuse, clerical repression, and the patriarchal authoritarianism of rural Catholic Ireland in mid-century.

Emigration was a feature of several European countries in the immediate post-war period, not to mention countries of the European colonial empires, but for the most part the transfer of population was taking place from areas considered to be overpopulated, and with the active encouragement and organisation of the governments concerned. In Ireland, by contrast, the steady decline in population from more than six million just before the famine, to fewer than three million in 1926, showed no sign of ending – quite the reverse.

As Raymond Williams points out in The Country and the City, arguably they stretch right back to the Garden of Eden. ’22 For despite the archetypical framework in which these battles over representation are played out, each reiteration of the rural/urban divide does articulate something historically specific. ’ Part of the answer lies in the nature of the post-war Irish economic and social crisis. The intense flurry of debate over the nature of the Irish community, which formed the background to the emigrant exodus of the 1950s, was one consequence of a period of exceptional crisis and change in the rural economy.

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