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Ireland, Migration and Return MigrationThe "Returned Yank" in the Cultural Imagination, 1952 to present$
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Sinéad Moynihan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941800

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941800.001.0001

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‘Mother Macree ad nauseam

‘Mother Macree ad nauseam

Maternity, Modernity and the Female Returned Yank

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter Two ‘Mother Macree ad nauseam
Source:
Ireland, Migration and Return Migration
Author(s):

Sinéad Moynihan

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786941800.003.0003

This chapter argues that narratives of female Returned Yanks emerge forcefully in Irish culture of the 1990s as a kind of imaginative counterpart to Irish citizens’ enforced confrontation with Ireland’s past at the same historical moment, particularly with respect to the collusion of Church and State in the oppression and, often, abuse of women and children. The protagonists of these texts – and I focus most attentively on works by Benjamin Black (John Banville) and Annie Murphy – literally return to Ireland, but they also visit, or revisit, upon Ireland some of the repressions of its past. They do so both thematically, by dramatising the issues of unmarried motherhood, forced adoption and Church intervention in the family; and formally, by revising previous and tenacious gendered mythologies of emigration and return.

Keywords:   Returned Yank, Return migration, modernity, maternity, Annie Murphy, John Banville, Benjamin Black, Edna O’Brien, Tom Murphy, Clairr O’Connor

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