Recently launched at ACIS in Cork, a new book by Anna Teekell: Emergency Writing: Irish Literature, Neutrality, and the Second World War (Northwestern UP, 2018)
Taking seriously Ireland’s euphemism for World War II, “the Emergency,” Anna Teekell’s Emergency Writing asks both what happens to literature written during a state of emergency and what it means for writing to be a response to an emergency.
Anchored in close textual analysis of works by Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O’Brien, Louis MacNeice, Denis Devlin, and Patrick Kavanagh, and suppported by archival material and historical research, Emergency Writing shows how Irish late modernism was a response to the sociopolitical conditions of a newly independent Irish Free State and to a fully emerged modernism in literature and art.
What emerges in Irish writing in the wake of Independence, of the Gaelic Revival, of Yeats and of Joyce, is a body of work that invokes modernism as a set of discursive practices with which to counter the Free State’s political pieties. Emergency Writing provides a new approach to literary modernism and to the literature of conflict, considering the ethical dilemma of performing neutrality—emotionally, politically, and rhetorically—in a world at war.