'"Ships in Motion": Crossing the Black and Green Atlantics in Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea'. Symbiosis 12.1

Author: Moynihan, Sinéad


Humanities-Ebooks ‘Reprint’, 2010. 19 pages, secure PDF. 282k. Permissions: printing allowed, copying disabled

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This essay was originally published in Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, Volume 12.1 (April 2008).

Keywords & Topics


Joseph O’Connor, Star of the Sea, Irish emigration, the ‘Green Atlantic’, the Great Famine and American slavery




“This essay examines Joseph O’Connor’s bestseller, Star of the Sea, in the context of the reversal in Ireland’s migration pattern, arguing that the appearance of the novel in 2002 is significant because it depicts the defining era in Irish emigration history—the Great Famine, specifically ‘Black ’47’—at the precise moment when immigration into Ireland was at its peak. I argue that in contemporary Ireland, as non-white immigrants begin to comprise a significant proportion of the national population, issues of race, nationality and citizenship are increasingly being mediated through cultural representations of racial relations in the United States. Joseph O’Connor is only one of a number of Irish writers and dramatists— among them, Roddy Doyle and Donal O’Kelly—in whose work this has become evident.”

About the author

Sinéad Moynihan, University of Nottingham

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