Acasă Articole RTR “Grafting” Hope: The Ethics of Rewriting In Colm Tóibín’s House of Names

“Grafting” Hope: The Ethics of Rewriting In Colm Tóibín’s House of Names

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“Grafting” Hope: The Ethics of Rewriting In Colm Tóibín’s House of Names

Abstract: : Exploring the particularities of rewriting in Irish contemporary fiction through an analysis of Colm Tóibín’s House of Names (2017) within a theoretical framework of narrative ethics, this paper argues that a function of cultural healing is actualized both within the retold story of the Oresteia and in the context of civil war violence to which the novel responds. Drawing on the work of Hanna Meretoja and Dorothy J. Hale, it suggests that a source of potential ethical power is revealed through the reworking of the ancient tragedy using the structures and techniques of the contemporary novel. Traces of differing worldviews or even ways of constructing cognitive and affective complexity determine a constant oscillation between original and rewritten that creates a space of epistemological uncertainty. Valorised through the meta-ethical affect of unverifiability conceptualised by Hale, this effect is also read in light of Meretoja’s understanding of a narrative-bound sense of possibility and the challenges that both contemporary and ancient understandings of hope or catastrophe pose to its ethically valuable expansion.

Keywords: narrative ethics; rewriting; ancient tragedy; hope; unverifiability; civil war; violence; Irish-American fiction; Colm Tóibín.

Citation suggestion: Beleuță, Ada. “Grafting” Hope: The Ethics of Rewriting In Colm Tóibín’s House of Names.” Transilvania, no. 6-7 (2022): 63-72.

https://doi.org/10.51391/trva.2022.06-07.07.

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