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Rough BeastsThe Monstrous in Irish Fiction, 1800-2000$
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Jack Fennell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620344

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620344.001.0001

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Ghosts, Narrative, and Noumenal Reality

Ghosts, Narrative, and Noumenal Reality

(p.99) Chapter Five Ghosts, Narrative, and Noumenal Reality
Rough Beasts

Jack Fennell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter considers Ireland’s rich tradition of ghost stories through the lens of Kant’s ‘noumenal reality’ – that is, facts of nature that are (and will forever remain) beyond the understanding of human minds: ghosts resist comprehension in proportion to the scrutiny applied to them, appearing as self-evident facts to the untroubled believer and as frustrating enigmas to those who look for scientific evidence. It is thus hardly surprising that their manifestations interfere with our ability to create narratives, whether on an interpersonal or national scale. The ghost stories considered here complicate traditional family dynamics and nation-building historiography alike, and pose interesting questions regarding the role of storytellers in a modern Ireland where literal belief in the supernatural is no longer a constant feature.

Keywords:   ghosts, Kant, noumenal reality, narrative, storytelling

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