|Matthias Rudolf presents paper on Irish literature Thursday|
As part of the English Department Speaker Series, Matthias Rudolf, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present "Who Is It We’re Crying For?’: Allegory, Union, and the Loss of Identity in 'Castle Rackrent'" at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, in 116 Merrifield Hall.
Hastily written in so it might be published on the eve of Ireland's legislative union with England, "Castle Rackrent"' opens with a paradoxical promise: that Ireland would arrive at a poetic self-recognition through the loss of the very identity it is to recognize. This paper takes up the extraordinary claim of a new poetics to enable an impossible self-discovery as an occasion to rethink the politics of writing in light of the common law tradition of legal discovery. This paper explores the intricate entanglements of the poetic and political implications of the writing of “Union” in "Castle Rackrent," situating this writing in the context of a romanticism that emerges from the nexus of the cultural impact of the French Revolution and the uneasy confrontation of French and Scottish Enlightenment thought with the common law tradition espoused by Edmund Burke. The writing of “Union” crisscrosses the terrain between the idea of culture and national identity as an “entailed inheritance” over time and their rational derivation on the basis of normative natural right. In "Castle Rackrent," this conflict reappears as a crisis of literary transmission, emblematized as the difference between writing as transcription and as translation.
-- Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, Assistant Professor, English, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-6391