• Homecoming – an Irish ghost story: reflections on the Irish gothic tradition

      Rushby, Elleesa (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-10)
      This thesis and my creative work, Homecoming, aim to explore some of the reasons why the Anglo-Irish were so prolific at writing supernatural and in particularly Gothic fiction during the 19th century, particularly as an expression of their fragile identity within the broader British Empire and in Ireland. Homecoming, while set at the end of WW2, examines a fictional legacy of ‘The Hunger’ on the colonised Catholic Irish, dealing with the taboo subject of cannibalism. Homecoming’s Gothic mode, includes elements such as the uncanny and the family curse, blending The Big House with folklore and storytelling, as an allegory on the dysfunctional relationship between Protestants and Catholics in the uncertainty and isolationism of post-emergency Ireland. The thesis explores how the Anglo-Irish abjected the Catholic Irish out of fear of losing control, manipulating their literary depiction for commercial and political reasons, while robbing them of the agency to tell their own story. It traces the migration of Anglo-Irish Gothic into English Literature, appropriation of the Catholic Irish experience and questions colonial depiction of the colonised. The thesis offers a basis for discussion about the attitudes and behaviours of the characters in Homecoming.