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Diasporic Narratives: identities in formation.
The Irish under the Southern Cross

Original title:
Narrativas diaspóricas: identidades em formação.
Os irlandeses sob a "Cruz del Sur"

Laura Izarra
University of São Paulo

Table of Contents


The literary corpus of this work, based on the Irish diaspora in South America, is made up of various historical, journalistic and literary documents from 1865 to 1915 and from the turn of the twentieth century. The research deals with the implications of the various causes that brought about the different instances of dislocation and literary representations of the diasporic community in Argentina and Brazil. My aim is to show, through both canonical and non-canonical narratives, the transformations in the process of construction of the Irish diasporic community identity in the countries mentioned above in terms of political, economic, historical and social conditions. It also focuses on the way in which the aesthetics of the representation of cultural encounters produces new bonds between the concepts of identity and nation both in relation to the host country and to the motherland. I argue that the literary strategies used by writers and journalists in the process of construction of “new” cultural identities shape a new imaginary that either promotes the growth and strengthening or the uprooting of their communities, or, either stimulates the emigration flow of fellow-citizens or their return, or their migration to less barren lands (a diaspora of the diaspora).
I start from the theoretical premise that cultural identities are constructed dialogically through the different narratives produced by the inhabitants of the diasporic space (foreigners and natives) or by their fellow-citizens in Ireland. I uphold the view that this constant interaction between the natives and other diasporic communities and between those host countries and the immigrants’ motherland create a narrative web that shows that unlike the whitening process of the Irish in the United States that is directly related to the concept of “race”, the Irish immigrants under the “Southern Cross” go through a process of inclusion that is directly related to the concept of class (economic and political power) attained by the purchase of land and the access to education. In this way, a literary diasporic aesthetics, distinctive of South America, is shaped.

Keywords: Irish diasporic literature; the Irish in Argentina and Brazil; William Bulfin; William Scully; Paul Durcan; Juan José Delaney; Anne Enright.



Chapter I - Narratives of the diasporas
- Interrogating concepts
- The Irish diaspora
- Two contrapuntal processes: Brazil and Argentina

Chapter II - Nineteenth-century diasporic identities
- Portraying Brazil: The press and travel narratives
- The formation of a diasporic community in Argentina: The Southern Cross and Fianna
- Diaspora versus diaspora in reverse: William Bulfin - (from) the Argentine pampas (to) the Irish eskers:
    a) Narrating the Argentine pampas
    b) Rambling the Irish eskers.

Chapter III - Renewed readings of the past
- Brazil revisited by Paul Durcan
- Representing voices from "New Ireland" in South America
- Weaving stories in contemporary Argentina
- Feminine voices: "strangers in the nest"
- Anti-heroic heroine: Anne Enright's Eliza Lynch

Final reflections
Bibliographical References

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