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Anomalous States

Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment

Edited by: David Lloyd

Publication Date: January 1993


Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment edited by David Lloyd

Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment ‘Anomalous States’ is an archaeology of modern Irish writing. David Lloyd begins with recent questioning of Irish identity in the wake of the northern conflict and returns to the complex terrain of nineteenth-century culture in which those questions of identity were first formed. In five linked essays, he explores modern Irish literature and its political contexts through the work of four writers —Heaney, Beckett, Yeats and Joyce.


  • ‘Pap for the dispossessed’: Seamus Heaney & the Poetics of Identity
  • Writing in the Shit: Beckett, Nationalism and the Colonial Subject
  • The Poetics of Politics: Yeats and the Founding of the State
  • Adulteration and the Nation: Monologic Nationalism and the Colonial Hybrid
  • The Violence of Identity: Agrarian Movements and the Constitution of the Irish Novel

“David Lloyd’s 1987 book on James Clarence Mangan presented Irish criticism with a challenge that has not yet been taken up. Now he has gathered together his essays on Yeats, Beckett, Heaney and other writers, placing them in the context of cultural studies and minorities’ discourse. I rarely agree with his specific conclusions, but his arguments are extremely difficult to refute. He is a critic of indisputable power. We must take serious issue with him.” Denis Donoghue

“There are critical insights of striking force throughout these five essay. Anomalous States is crucial reading foranyone interested in modern Irish culture.” Gerry Smyth, Irish Studies Review

“The writing of Ireland exemplifies the crisis of representation. It is a literature of territorial division, Anglocentric appropriation, diasporic peoples and exilic authors, that stages the vivid, visceral struggle to belong, to return, to re-make a tradition. Anomalous States explores these ambivalences of post-colonial identity and nationhood with a memorable brilliance. David Lloyd’s readings make a considerable contribution to contemporary cultural studies.” — Homi K. Bhabha

“A welcome addition to the growing body of work that connects cultural theory with anti-colonial historiography, literary analysis, and issues in contemporary politics. Lloyd’s book should interest a wide readership. It will challenge literary critics to deal more directly with political and historiographic issues, just as its deft analyses of literary texts will deepen the perspectives of scholars in history, anthropology, and the social sciences.” — Satya P. Mohanty


David Lloyd, born in Dublin in 1955, studied in Belfast and Cambridge, and is now Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism (1987).



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Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 136 × 215 mm
Publication Date

January 1993


Paperback, 174pp