Spiritual Wounds Trauma, Testimony and the Irish Civil War

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2022-04-25
Publisher(s): Merrion Press
List Price: $53.33

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This book challenges the widespread scholarly and popular belief that the Irish Civil War (1922–1923) was followed by a ‘traumatic silence.’ It achieves this by revealing an alternative archive of published testimonies which were largely recorded in the 1920s and 1930s. These testimonies were written by pro- and anti-treaty men and women, in both English and Irish, and nearly all have eluded sustained scholarly attention to date. However, the act of smuggling private, painful experience into the public realm, especially when it challenged official memory making, demanded the cautious deployment of self-protective narrative strategies. As a result, many testimonies from the Irish Civil War emerge in non-conventional, hybridised, and fictionalised forms of life writing. This book re-introduces a number of these testimonies into public debate. It considers contemporary understandings of mental illness and how a number of veterans—both men and women—self-consciously engaged in projects of therapeutic writing as a means to ‘heal’ the ‘spiritual wounds’ of civil war. It also outlines the prevalence of literary representations of revolutionary sexual violence, challenging the assumptio

Author Biography

Síobhra Aiken completed her PhD at the Centre for Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. A former Fulbright Scholar, her publications include The Men Will Talk to Me: Ernie O’Malley’s Interviews with the Northern Divisions (Merrion Press, 2018), An Chuid Eile Díom Féin: Aistí le Máirtín Ó Direáin (Cló Iar-Chonnacht 2018), and chapters in the edited collections Trauma and Identity in Contemporary Irish culture (Peter Lang 2019) and Women and the Decade of Commemorations (Indiana 2021). She is a regular contributor to public centenary debates on television and radio.

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