Aran Ward Sell, PhD candidate, University of Edinburgh, does research in modernism in the post-crash Irish novel, focusing on representations of damaged consciousness. His work has been published in C21 Literature and Antae, and he has presented at conferences in Malta, England, and Belgium. In 2018 he was a Scottish Review of Books ‘Emerging Critic,’ and his reviews have appeared in the SRB and The List. His PhD is generously sponsored by the Wolfson Foundation.
This paper positions Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (2013) at the vanguard of a resurgent modernism in the 21st-century Irish novel, in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crash. It asserts the value of experimental literature to a country which has awoken from a dream of late capitalist prosperity into a sobering confrontation with late capitalist crisis. McBride’s novel reproduces certain generic characteristics of the historical realism which was the dominant literary mode of Celtic Tiger Ireland. However, it also innovates: McBride’s new, fragmentary adaptation of Joycean stream-of-consciousness navigates its familiar themes through the internal states of its traumatized protagonist.