Monday, 19 September 2016

Irish Masculinity in Crisis - new publication

I am very pleased to have a chapter on Irish masculinities in crisis in a newly published book edited by Catherine Rees of Loughborough University. The book is entitled Masculinity in Crisis: Depictions of Modern Male Trauma in Ireland, and is published by Carysfort Press.  

This book provides fresh insight into diverse representations of Irish masculinity.  As Catherine explains in her summary of the book's focus: 

"The purpose of this book is to locate this sense of crisis within Irish contexts, fill a current gap in academic discourse surrounding literary, theatrical and cinematic depictions of Irish masculinity, and discuss how fictional representations of masculinity and maleness in contemporary Ireland have addressed, explored and discussed images of men in states of anxiety, crisis and chaos."  

The title of my chapter  is ‘"Still a Respected Man": Irish Masculinity in Crisis and Crime Fiction’.  Exploring the implications of a quotation from Stuart Neville's novel The Twelve, 'still a respected man', my chapter examines the meanings of 'respect', agency and masculinity in Irish crime fiction. As the basis for my analysis, I discuss two specific contemporary Irish crime novels in my chapter, namely Ken Bruen's Priest and Neville Thompson's Mama's Boys.  Both these phenomenal novels offer complex, brilliantly depicted portrayals of Irish masculinities and settings that stay vivid in the reader's mind long after they've closed the books.

The work for this was so interesting for me to undertake, as it gave me the opportunity to reflect further on the depiction of masculinity in crisis in crime fiction, a topic I have been preoccupied with for some time.  In 2013 I published an article on masculinity  in crime fiction, in Clues: A Journal of Detection . The article examined John Harvey's novel Easy Meat, and is called: "'There's Nothing People Won't Do to One Another, if the Circumstances Are Right’:  Male Rape and the Politics of Representation in John Harvey’s Police Procedural Easy Meat". Turning my attention to Irish crime fiction, I found a fascinating array of complicated male characters reflecting and/or embodying the contemporary Irish society in which they are situated.