The Great Irish Famine

Visual and Material Culture

Edited by Marguérite Corporaal, Oona Frawley, and Emily Mark-FitzGerald

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ISBN: 9781786941596

Publication: October 31, 2018

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
The Great Irish Famine of the 1840s left a profound impact on Irish culture, as recent ground-breaking historical and literary research has revealed. Less well documented and explored, however, is the relationship of the Famine and related experiences (hunger, migration, eviction, poverty, institutions and social memory) to visual and material cultures. This book aims to explore how the material and visual cultures of Ireland and its diaspora (including painting, engraving, photography, devotional objects, ritual, drama, film, television, and graphic novels) intersect with the multiple impacts and experiences of the Famine. In tracing the Famine’s impact in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and across the diaspora over almost two centuries, it adopts transgenerational as well as transnational approaches to the subject of cultural memory. Interest in the Famine has increased rather than declined since its sesquicentenary, acquiring new relevance in the wake of Ireland’s recent economic collapse and the international contemporary refugee crisis, with which frequent parallels have been drawn. This book arrives in the midst of the Decade of Centenaries, the sequence of key commemorations in Ireland and Northern Ireland that has attracted widespread international public attention. As such, its essays resonate with current developments in Irish cultural history, commemoration and memory, and advances new approaches to studies of memory and materiality.

Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald is a Lecturer in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin.

Dr Marguérite Corporaal is Associate Professor of English Literature at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Dr Oona Frawley is Lecturer of English at Maynooth University, Ireland.

Figure/caption list

Foreword: by Oona Frawley (University of Maynooth)

Introduction: Famine Memory and its Industries: Genealogies of Representation by Emily Mark-FitzGerald (University College Dublin)


Section I: Witness and Representation: Contemporaneous Depictions of Famine       

1. The Bond that Knit the Peasant to the Soil: Rural Lore and Superstition in the Work of Daniel Macdonald by Niamh O’Sullivan (Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University)

2. HB’s Famine Cartoons: Satirical Art in a Time of Catastrophe by Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast)

3. The Famine Diaries and Sketches of John Plunket Joly by Ciaran Reilly (Maynooth University)

4. Mortuary Spectacles: The Genealogy of Images of the Famine Irish Coffin Ships and Fever Sheds by Jason King (Independent scholar)


Section II: Negotiating Form: Famine / Post-Famine Modalities and Media


5. ‘Thus Crucifixes Became the Norm’: System, Affect, and Display in Post-Famine Catholicism by Lisa Godson (National College of Art and Design)

6. ‘This Most Humane Commerce’: Lace-making During the Famine by Melissa Fegan (University of Chester)

7. Art and the Post-Famine Irish Diaspora in America by Fintan Cullen (University of Nottingham)

8. The Greatest Famine Film Never Made by Bryce Evans (Liverpool Hope University)


Section III: Legacy: Postmemory and Contemporary Visual Cultures   

9. Tom Murphy and Druid Theatre’s Famines: Developing Images and Contexts, 1984 and 2012 by Shelley Troupe (Maynooth University)

10. Overcoming Amnesia? Memorializing Finland’s ‘Great Hunger Years’ by Andrew G. Newby (Aarhus University)

11. Evictions on the TV Screen: the Visual and Narrative Legacies of the Great Famine in The Hanging Gale by Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University)

12. Gone to Amerikay: Famine Postmemory, the Irish Diaspora and the Graphic Novel by Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado (Independent scholar)



'A fresh and stimulating collection'
Professor Cormac O'Grada, University College Dublin


Format: Hardback

Size: 239 × 163 mm

288 Pages

17 colour illustrations and 23 B&W illustrations

Copyright: © 2018

ISBN: 9781786941596

Publication: October 31, 2018

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