The Literary Afterlives of Roger Casement, 1899–2016

BookThe Literary Afterlives of Roger Casement, 1899–2016

The Literary Afterlives of Roger Casement, 1899–2016

Liverpool English Texts and Studies, 84


June 24th, 2020

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This book explores the literary afterlives of one of Ireland’s most enigmatic, shape-shifting and controversial sons, Roger Casement. A seminal human rights activist, a key figure in the struggle for Irish independence, a traitor to British imperialism and an enthusiastic recorder of a sexual life lived in the shadows: through Casement, writers have been able to commune and negotiate with a difficult past. Casement can be found in the most curious of places: from the imperial horrors of Heart of Darkness (1899) to the gay club culture of 1980s London in Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library (1998); from George Bernard Shaw’s play Saint Joan (1923) to a love affair between spies in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1948); from the post-Easter Rising elegies of Eva Gore-Booth and Alice Milligan to the beguiling, opaque poetry of Medbh McGuckian. Drawing upon a variety of literary and cultural texts, alongside significant archival research, this book establishes dialogues between modernist and contemporary works to argue that Casement’s ghost opens a fault line in our uneasy engagement with the cross-currents between history and memory, reality and fiction. It positions Casement as a vital and fascinating figure in the compromised and contradictory terrain of Anglo-Irish history.

'This is a welcome study, learned, wide-ranging and on a fascinating and timely topic.'
Professor Matthew Campbell, University of York

Author Information

Alison Garden is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast. She was formerly an Irish Research Council Fellow and Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction: Literary afterlives and Casement’s queer ghost11
1. “He could tell you things! Things I’ve tried to forget; things I never did know”: Conrad, Sebald and spectres of imperialism33
2. The Black Diaries: Sex, race and empire in The Dream of the Celt, The Swimming-Pool Library and The Lost World61
3. Queer nationalism and colonial Ireland: Ulysses and At Swim, Two Boys91
4. Saint Casement: The ‘national political trial’, partition and the dramatic troubles of Sir Roger115
5. The traitor and the hero: War, betrayal and espionage139
6. ‘The Ghost of Roger Casement’: War, betrayal and espionage165
Coda: ‘who is to know the fate of his bones’: Remembering Casement in 2016207
Works cited219