Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

A Reading from the Book of Beginnings or the End of the Line

Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

A Reading from the Book of Beginnings or the End of the Line

Article excerpt


Does the postmodern age signal the end of the 'grand narratives'? (So they ask me, and others like and unlike me.)


How to answer a statement masquerading as a question? Question the statement What comes after the question?

This is what I wrote afterwards:


They must think I know something about endings or narratives or both. Otherwise why ask me? Don't they know I am a construction not at all original and quite unauthorised. That my solidity lies on foundations I have not put down? It lies, my solidity. Fraudulent fiction. Can I have misled? No lack of example plenty of models lying around the place all deriving from the one anyway.

Given the wrong impression? Impressed printed the self is not the same. The words lie coolly on the page removed from fleshy interference collected collaged into an appearance of coherence (in heat and difficulty) from here and there un peu partout (with and without pretension) Always speaking in tongues other than my own. Does this mean lies?


Many have the gift of the tongue but nothing to say. Do not listen to them. Many who have words and tongue have no ear, they cannot listen and they will not hear! (Gloria Anzaldua)

I listen to her warning Take it to heart Although it is, may be, about me not for me. Warning from 'a poor chicanita from the sticks'. I hear your words Chicanita Gloria And will take care To say less. But what of the listeners?


Of course, I have credentials And protections Currently negotiable Of skin of class of education (for what it's worth). Connections not at all coincidental to anything. But what price my sex and nationality? And all the rest I cannot say in any tongue? Mere markers of permitted ex-centricity? The acceptable face of subversion? Marketable revolution par personne interposee?


What price my education? There is so much I just can't make head or tail of. Can't get my tongue around dense sense abstractions latinate hyphenates syntactical circulations. I am not naive far less innocent. I know the 'old simplicities' no longer function. But who --which 'we'-- can speak The new complexities? 'Old gardens are not relevant' (Mary O'Donnell) she said severely 'reading sunflowers in September' (And a propos of something rather different A woman's life, I think it was) And she was quite right, of course. New gardens are not necessarily fabrications. But they frighten me to silence Almost. There is not one truth, I know. Reason, Science, Progress and all the rest have gone the way of all flowers And I celebrate. But I don't always understand quite simply the words that killed them.


I notice that it is only when my mother is working in her flowers that she is radiant almost to the point of being invisible --except as Creator: hand and eye. She is involved in work her soul must have. Ordering the Universe in the image of her personal conception of Beauty. (Alice Walker)

And the Universe begat a multiverse (Who knows this in the age of communication par excellence?) It may be more truthful But what price brilliance and sophistication If it leaves the old plots largely undisturbed for most?

Of course, when more abstract writing is seen as more important, the language of underclass women is a speech then that has no relevance. When black women confronted feminist movement, urging inclusion of race and racism, this was revolutionary, Yet now the new terms of this discussion suggest that words like race and racism are inappropriate, not sophisticated, too simplistic. Currently, the discussion of race takes place within the framework of 'colonial discourse'. How many women and men know what that means? (Bell Hooks)

New gardens are not everywhere appropriate.

PLOT (OED) Relevant definitions: 1. The outline, plan or scheme of a play, poem, work of fiction etc 2. …

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