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‘Bubbles of joy’ : moments of pleasure in recent Northern Irish culture

Magennis, C

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This essay considers the representation of pleasure in three “post”-conflict Northern Irish texts: Glenn Patterson’s novel The Rest Just Follows (2014), Billy Cowan’s play Still Ill (2014) and Lucy Caldwell’s short story collection Multitudes (2016). A framework is offered that advocates a turning away from the dominance of trauma theory in Northern Irish cultural criticism towards a recognition of the plurality of experiences which these texts represent. This essay uses theoretical insights from Lauren Berlant, Heather Love, Laura Frost and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick to consider the unique affective topography in which Northern Irish writers represent their pleasures. In these texts, published in the last few years, we see the representation of queer and non-reproductive sexual encounters set against the backdrop of the social and political policing of morality in Northern Ireland. This essay, however, will argue that these texts are not simple metonyms but rather present complex sensual experiences which enrich our understanding of the emotional landscape of contemporary Northern Ireland.


Magennis, C. (2017). ‘Bubbles of joy’ : moments of pleasure in recent Northern Irish culture. Études irlandaises, 42-1, 155-168.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 29, 2019
Publication Date Jun 29, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jun 27, 2017
Journal Études Irlandaises
Print ISSN 0183-973X
Electronic ISSN 2259-8863
Volume 42-1
Pages 155-168
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs


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