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The Celtic Tiger, its phantoms, and Conor McPherson’s haunted rooms

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JournalTextual Practice
DateE-pub ahead of print - 26 Sep 2014
DatePublished (current) - 2014
Issue number6
Volume28
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)1103-1122
Early online date26/09/14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Celtic Tiger economics are portrayed in a distinctive fashion in Irish plays of the 1990s; in the work of Conor McPherson in particular, reminders of the uneven circulation of capital and the hegemony of the free market proliferate, remaining entwined with familiar representations of the supernatural and the unearthly. Drawing on the rich body of work published on the Gothic and occultism, this essay focuses on the metaphorisation of fears related to housing, governance, and private property in McPherson's plays and interrogates their political tenor. I read these texts against recent analyses of neoliberalism and political conservatism and show that the significance of séances, supernatural occurrences, haunted houses, and doppelgängers to McPherson's writing is in itself indicative of the difficulties encountered by the contemporary imagination when apprehending the social transformations concurrent with the rise of neoliberal economies.

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