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    ‘God Bless the Child’: Unearthing the Dissident Potential of the Jazz Aesthetic in Patrick Kavanagh’s The Great Hunger

    Fogarty, Matthew (2017) ‘God Bless the Child’: Unearthing the Dissident Potential of the Jazz Aesthetic in Patrick Kavanagh’s The Great Hunger. NPPSH Reflections, 1. pp. 22-30. ISSN 2565-6031

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    In an attempt to adequately convey the stagnant depths to which the Irish Free State had sunk during the decades of its infancy, John Goodby points to the cultural chasm into which Patrick Kavanagh’s ‘masterpiece “The Great Hunger” fell “stillborn” from the press in 1942 when its author was cautioned by the Garda Siochána about his poem’s “immorality”’(2000, p.15). Of course, this episode at once exemplifies the extent to which the heavy hand of the Irish Catholic Church routinely exercised its influence over the legislative and punitive forces of the still-burgeoning Irish State. And if the ultra-conservative values espoused by the establishment of post-partition Ireland echoed those of the National Socialists in Germany any one particular issue throughout the 1930s, it was most assuredly in their outright condemnation of the jazz aesthetic. This paper will set Kavanagh’s work against this socio-historical backdrop, which actually bore witness to the rise of a state-sponsored anti-jazz campaign in the mid-1930s. By doing so, it will further demonstrate that “The Great Hunger” uses the dissident cadences of the jazz aesthetic to orchestrate a vivid dramatization of the physical, emotional and psychological burden this theocratic order imposed upon the citizens of Ireland.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Irish studies; Patrick Kavanagh; jazz; poetry; The Emergency; anti-jazz campaign; literature; literary analysis; NPPSH;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Research Institutes > An Foras Feasa
    Item ID: 8294
    Depositing User: NPPSH Editor
    Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 08:15
    Journal or Publication Title: NPPSH Reflections
    Publisher: Maynooth Academic Publishing
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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