(Alter)Native Tech: Irish Writing after Digital


Ireland may not be the most obvious place for high-tech writers to have developed; the region’s geographic isolation, delayed industrialization and political divisions across the last two centuries have made it an island of its own, where a specific, and many would say specifically traditional, literary culture has held dominance. But a few Irish writers emerging since the 1970s have demonstrated unique technical, technological styles and textual strategies, suggesting that Irish writing in North and South has been undergoing an independent evolution, and one that has become global—perhaps more global than most—in some fascinating ways. Starting with the modernist legacy of James Joyce and the influence of database logic, the book traces a trajectory of digital and post-digital modes and methods across the recent history of Irish writing: the print-textual internet of Ciaran Carson’s novels, dark networks and dark ecology in Marina Carr’s plays, the primacy of informational narratives in the poetry of Sinead Morrissey and Tom Paulin, immersion and virtuality in Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (2013), and tensions between textual, digital and post-digital modes in newcomer Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends (2017). This book examines the evidence and outcomes of that evolution in Irish writing, revealing—perhaps unexpectedly—an arrival at the cutting-edge of post-digital, global writing.