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Writing and the zeitgeist

Sheehan, Helena (1991) Writing and the zeitgeist. Irish University Review, 21 (2). pp. 295-306. ISSN 0021-1427

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Have contemporary writers anything to say about their times and, if so, have they the nerve to say it? This article argues that there is much failure of vision and failure of nerve on the part of today's writers. Because they lack the clarity and courage to come to terms with the times, they succumb to its deceptions and seductions. Its thesis is is that the power and value of writing is in the scope and depth of its engagement with the zeitgeist; in how perceptively a writer captures the spirit of the age, expresses the temper of the times; in how much of what is there in the air, throbbing in the collective psyche, pulsing in the ever shifting social order, a writer gathers up and expresses in accurate and resonant images, in provocative and paradigmatic stories. This is pursued in reflection on attitudes expressed at two international writers conferences and in polemic against the prevailing views expressed.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Additional Information:This paper was originally a lecture delivered at the Dublin Festival of Literature in 1991 and at the Kavanagh Yearly in 1992. It was published in Irish University Review.
Uncontrolled Keywords:spirit of the age; postmodernism; literature; anti-intellectualism; art for art's sake; narrative; social order;
Subjects:Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences > Social psychology
Humanities > Literature
Humanities > Drama
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Communications
Official URL:
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:4693
Deposited On:28 Jul 2009 11:45 by Helena Sheehan. Last Modified 28 Jul 2009 11:45

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