By John Wilson Foster
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Extra resources for The Cambridge Companion to the Irish Novel (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
In re-telling this story, Vertue Rewarded 23 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 AILEEN DOUGLAS draws on the Gaelic tradition of dinnshenchas, that is, the lore of places that turns landscape into narrative and perpetuates in the present the culture of the past. In Vertue Rewarded, however, the story is totally disconnected from a contemporary Gaelic culture which is seen as wild and lawless. Moreover, the structural position of the tale – specifically, its relation to other interpolations, one of which deals circumstantially with human sacrifice in Peru – reinforces the impression of dislocated exotica, rather than, as in the Gaelic tradition, a mark of the intimate way landscape enters culture.
Despite the centuries of achievement in narrative (sagas, genealogies and tales in Old and Middle Irish), the novel in Irish, as Alan Titley reminds us in chapter 9, was a late arrival on the literary scene (in the first decade of the twentieth century). Titley tracks the progress of the novel, one complicated by the fact that writing a literary work in Irish meant the onerous double duty of simultaneously defending and trying to advance the language front. As with the Irish novel in English, the novel in Irish had to compete with the romance, but was reinforced by the allied narrative forms of the folk tale and the autobiography.
212). Despite Gulliver’s own ability to speak and to reason, his Houyhnhnm masters see him as a Yahoo, an identification that Gulliver eventually accepts. Under his master’s tutelage, Gulliver rejects humankind and is filled with self-loathing: ‘When I happened to behold the Reflection of my own Form in a Lake or Fountain, I turned away my Face in Horror and detestation of my self’ (p. 251). Gulliver’s Travels does not contain any explicitly Irish subject matter, although it does, in the account of Lindalino in Book Three, offer an allegory of Irish resistance to Wood’s halfpence (a passage cut by the first London publisher).
The Cambridge Companion to the Irish Novel (Cambridge Companions to Literature) by John Wilson Foster