The City as Text. The Case of Belfast: from Gothic Horror-Story to Post-Modern Novel
Belfast has spoken for many years its own literary code, and has been the ‘narrative matrix’ of a particular kind of literary genre: the Troubles thriller. Being encased in such a narrow horizon by its unlucky literary destiny has undermined the symbolic spatial meaning of the city. Eamonn Hugues states that Belfast has gone from being an extremely complex urban reality in real life, to being a literary void in fiction, a blank space ready to be filled with trite clichés of the cheapest form of thriller: ruthless killers, the corrupted army, the heavily compromised secret services, heroic journalist and brave writers. The narrative mechanisms which presided over Belfast’s literary representation focussed only on one of the many urban noises produced by it, as if in order to be made legible, the city had to be contemplated from a one-dimensional, and consequently incomplete, view or position. Nonetheless, as soon as the old textualization of the city-space began to be called into question, the refunctionalisation of the powerful Belfast city-trope became possible, and a new phase of Northern Irish literature was initiated. This allowed the younger generation of artists to make the two halves of Belfast meet in their texts and to transform the city as text from the monodimensional Gothic horror-tale into a richer, more veritable, more complex and more unpredictable postmodern novel. The examples of Mc Liam Wilson’s "Eureka Street", Ciaran Carson’s "The Star Factory" and Eoin Mc Name’s "Resurrection Man" are discussed.
Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Laura Pelaschiar "The City as Text. The Case of Belfast: from Gothic Horror-Story to Post-Modern Novel", in: Prospero, X (2003), pp. 179-192