Violence, Politics and Textual Interventions in Northern Ireland. Basingstoke, UK; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009: 256pp.
“‘The Troubles’ is the name usually given to the period of political and violent unrest that gripped Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998.
Drawing on the literary-anthropological work of René Girard and the psychoanalytical work of Jacques Lacan, Mahon analyzes key Troubles texts, seeking move away from the all-too-common belief that the Troubles were the result of the repeated clashes of atavistic and instinctual tribal nationalisms. Through these texts, Mahon re-examines and re-appraises the complex deployment of recurrent motifs—such as language, violence, ritual, psycho-sexual dynamics, history, the law. Mahon then explores how the interaction between these texts and theorists makes it possible to theorize a new, flexible framework for reading and engaging with the dynamic interplay of violence, sexuality, politics and textuality that opens up alternate political and sexual possibilities.”
Reviews and endorsements:
“Peter Mahon’s book is both timely and original, with a good sense of the vital significance of literature in Irish history. It is a trenchant scholarly intervention but will also interest a wide range of readers in both Ireland and Britain. I expect the book to become a model of the analysis of the cultural effects of political violence.” —Luke Thurston, Department of English & Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University, UK