The first two decades of Irish independence were fraught and the formation of the post-imperial state was a continual controversy. The conditional perception of what Ireland was, should, or might be coincided with a revolution in the arts. Now forgotten cultures flared and disappeared, little magazines, cabaret clubs, riots and theatres erupting in a fluctuating public sphere. Nicholas Allen reads the crisis of Irish independence as formative of newly experimental relations between novels, poems, paintings, artists and audiences. The conditional, unfinished spaces of the modernist artwork were an unfinished civil war. In connecting these texts and times, Allen locates Joyce, Beckett, Jack and W. B. Yeats in the controversies surrounding the Irish state after 1922. With its interdisciplinary perspective on artists and contexts, this book is a major contribution to the study of Irish culture of the 1920s and 30s and of modernism's histories.
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