I know that ambiguity is what is needed in Ireland now.
Tóibín is a historical revisionist, and a complicated one. Acutely aware of the basic political motivations that informed revisionism – ‘anti-nationalist views of Irish history’ – he has nevertheless emphasised his desire to be ‘“through with history”’. Firstly, he wanted his aesthetic and political sensibilities freed from the constraints and consequences of nationalist mythologising; but above much else, Irish national history and culture has been understood in Tóibín’s work through ‘…a prolonged engagement with […] and an anxious interrogation of the past’. Such engagement and interrogation are concerned not with the romantic idealisation of a bygone Ireland, but with complicating and nuancing ‘…ambivalences towards notions of tradition, community and nationhood’: the fundamental components of a collective Irish history.
Tóibín often relocates the narrative focus of his works onto foreign soil. His time resident in Catalonia, for one, has been well-documented: the region features prominently in a variety of his fiction, journalism and travel writing. He has written particularly on the similarities between Catalonia and Ireland, between Barcelona and Dublin: both became ‘…the inspiration for crucial moments in the development of the modern movement in poetry, fiction, painting and architecture’. One home to Gaudi, Picasso and Miró: the other to Yeats, Joyce and Beckett. Tóibín’s decision to write extensively on Catalonia, coupled with his regular engagement in debates surrounding revisionism, seems important, even integral, to his understanding of Irish political and cultural history.
However, critical scholarship has yet to significantly broach this relationship between Catalonia and Ireland in Tóibín’s writing. It seems that Tóibín, an intimate, implicated and complicit Irish citizen, distanced himself from his homeland in order to construct a critical assessment of Holy Mother Ireland. This distancing manifests itself in Tóibín’s literary deployment of Catalonia, which has served as a prism in which to comprehend Ireland. Furthermore, Tóibín himself has said that he writes ‘…a lot about Irish people being away from home because it is one of the great subjects that governs Irish history’, and ‘…being able to write about exile and art set me free’. As such, Tóibín’s use of Catalonia forms a serendipitous point of engagement with the Irish nationalist critic and author, Daniel Corkery. Though ostensibly improbable bedfellows (and more likely antagonists), there is an opportunity to observe how Tóibín rejects, reformulates and reacts to Corkery’s invocation for an Irish literary tradition that is based on religion, nationalism and the land.
Through an analysis of Tóibín’s first published novel, The South (1990), this essay will attempt to explain how Tóibín uses the setting of Catalonia to complicate the conception of a collective Irish history. The first section will introduce Tóibín’s understanding of the connections between Catalonia and Ireland, then contextualise his position within Irish historical studies, and, finally, establish him along with Corkery as a writer of the ‘three great forces’ of the Irish national character: ‘(1) The Religious Consciousness of the People; (2) Irish Nationalism; and (3) The Land’. These three forces will structure the second part of this essay, which consists of an analysis of the aesthetic style, content and form in The South. Ultimately, this essay will attempt to display the importance of Catalonia to Tóibín’s historical revisionism through an examination of the novel.
For Tóibín, ‘…an exemplary postmodern global citizen’, Catalonia seems to only comprise the city of Barcelona and the mountains in the Pyrenees. (In The South, these two areas form the locale of Katherine Proctor’s life in Spain.) Yet Tóibín sees comparisons between Ireland and Catalonia everywhere: in nationalism, at the death of Franco there was ‘…excitement around Catalan nationalism […] even if the Irish nationalism you knew seemed clapped-out and part of history’; in culture, disturbances were caused by ‘…a large and predatory colonizer. Catalonia and Ireland had, respectively, Spain and England’; in song and language, with the Catalan and Gaelic tongue ‘…sounding all the more poignant for being defenceless and under threat’; and during the fin de siècle, where Catalonia’s loss of Cuba and Ireland’s loss of Parnell (alongside other myriad factors) contributed to ‘…a peculiar atmosphere […] in which the political and the cultural seemed to curl around each other’. Importantly, despite the radical elements in both cultures, he observes a sense of conservatism in both places, which asserts itself over the latter half of the twentieth-century: ‘…the politics of agreement became dominant, the rhetoric of compromise became the order of the day’.
Elsewhere, in his review of Declan Kiberd’s Inventing Ireland (1995), Tóibín elaborates upon the reflections of Ireland that he finds in Catalonia. First, he must blink to differentiate the Biblioteca de Catalunya from the National Library in Dublin. Then he shifts his focus onto the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century – a period of ‘nation-inventing’ – where he describes the direct translation of Ourselves Alone by Nosaltres Sols (the Catalan political equivalent of Sinn Fein), Catalan poetry in support of the Irish nationalist cause, politicians from both communities disrupting their centralised governments, the inception of Barca football club and the Gaelic Athletic Association, the artists who revelled in the ‘…fraught political and emotional climate where everything from the self to the nation was open to invention’, and, finally, those ‘…who found all this rhetoric and invention too much for them […] who viewed Dublin and Barcelona respectively as centres of paralysis, and who got the hell out as early as they could’. He is clearly attracted to Catalonia in his search for a parallel Ireland, despite his claims to abhor convenient narratives. His descriptive comparisons culminate in an attempt to reconcile the past: Catalonia and Ireland share a ‘politics of memory’ informed by a silence over civil war and sectarian conflict, respectively. It is the silence and understanding of such silence – ‘locked memories, half-told stories, unread archives’, alongside ‘[f]orgetting and reconciliation’ – which Tóibín often attempts to express aesthetically through his austere, terse prose style.
Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, in 1955, and the Tóibín name is inextricable from some of the central moments in recent Irish history. His grandfather was a member of the IRA and took part in the Easter Rising of 1916; his father, conversely, became a teacher with close ties to de Valera’s Fianna Fáil, the centre-right party that would come to dominate Irish politics over the majority of the twentieth-century. The broad spectrum of his ancestral politics is one factor towards Tóibín’s ambivalence; another, perhaps more significant, is the idea of Enniscorthy as a discursively contested site of rebellion: events in 1798 and 1916 ‘…can be explained as one thing and also exactly the opposite. Idealistic or sectarian; high-minded or savage; […] a disaster or a noble moment in Irish history’. Tóibín thus sets out his approach to Irish history by aligning himself with the chief proponent of revisionism, R. F. Foster, whose ‘…position is clear: he wants Ireland to become a pluralist, post-nationalist, all-inclusive, non-sectarian place. So do I’. However, this is more equivocal than is first apparent. Terry Eagleton has qualified Tóibín’s approach by emphasising the latter’s tendency towards ambivalence: ‘…he is aware of the need for roots and communal allegiances and aware, too, of their specious allure’. The tension between the necessary entrenchment and simultaneous reformulation of a collective Irish history is crucial to Tóibín’s work, and is undertaken through subtle formations in The South.
His writing, Delaney argues, contains ‘…an understanding of history which is alive to mythology and fiction, and which privileges instances of ambiguity, discontinuity and rupture.’ With these instances prevailing in Tóibín’s oeuvre, his fiction must be necessarily haunted by ‘problems of completion’, which are similarly infested throughout competing conceptions of Irish history. Furthermore, it is a suspicion of grand narratives that forces his work to ‘…draw on the notions of “collective memory” and “postmemory”’, introducing novel perspectives to complicate the official chronicle of historical events. As analysis of The South will illustrate, it is through Tóibín’s aesthetic and political techniques of complication that he is able to undermine ‘…the authority and righteousness of previously “sacred” texts of Irish nationhood, such as the Constitution and the dogmas of the Catholic Church’. Here, the pertinence of Corkery’s Irish characteristics – religion, nationalism and the land – become clearer: Tóibín acknowledges the need for these cultural signifiers, but is persistently aware of their mythic properties. In his engagement with Catalonia’s past, Toibin is attempting to piece together a mirror of Irish history.
Corkery, a writer, academic and politician, was a staunch defender of the Irish language and literary tradition at the beginning of the twentieth-century. He deeply regretted English cultural incursions which he believed were obfuscating Ireland’s native identity:
Everywhere in the mentality of the Irish people are flux and uncertainty. Our national consciousness may be described, in a native phrase, as a quaking sod. It gives no footing. It is not English, nor Irish, nor Anglo-Irish […]
Corkery is widely reviled in revisionist literature for his perceived pessimism, insularity and regular adoption of historical myths in his treatment of a newly postcolonial Ireland. It is also the ‘[u]nstable, flux-filled spaces […] that subvert irredentist appeals to origins, essences and absolutes’ which resonate so extensively with Tóibín and inform much of his writing. Moreover, Corkery remains ‘…negative concerning the sheer number of expatriate writers who function as prisoners of overseas markets’. In this sense, Corkery and Tóibín seem to be the antithesis of one another.
However, Tóibín is not as critical towards Corkery as would first appear: for one, Tóibín’s revisionist stablemate, R. F. Foster, describes Corkery’s The Hidden Ireland (1924) as a ‘…pioneering and powerfully written work’; and second, Tóibín himself spoke of the influence Corkery’s melancholy ‘subterranean Irish tradition’ has had on his own writing. In the ‘pervasive gloom’ of Corkery’s work, it is possible that Tóibín locates and identifies with an aesthetic sensibility wherein he is able to confront Irish silence, memory and history.
Corkery believes that religion shapes an Irish consciousness, and is:
[…] so vast, so deep, so dramatic, even so terrible a thing, occasionally creating wreckage in its path, tumbling the weak things over, that when one begins to know it, one wonders if it is possible for a writer to deal with any phase whatever of Irish life without trenching upon it.
To promote nationalism, Ireland needs to be cleansed of international stereotyping and mockery. Writers must learn the:
[…] Irish language and read the poetry in it: for such is the nature of Irish nationalism that it demands sincerity, intensity, style for its utterance, in other words, poetry.
And, finally, to represent the peasant population, their rootedness, in the land:
[…] must lie behind the literature in some such way as the freeing of the serfs lies behind Russian literature with political rather than social affinities.
This essay will now analyse the ways in which Tóibín uses Catalonia in The South to reject, reformulate and react to Corkery’s characterisation of the Irish being.
Set in 1950s Ireland, Katherine, who is ‘…estranged from the Catholic and Protestant communities’, leaves her husband, Tom, and son, Richard, and Wexford. She leaves the Big House – indicative of the Protestant Ascendancy – and heads to Catalonia: a place entrenched in Catholicism and somewhere which, similarly to Ireland, ‘…recently experienced deep social divisions’ and civil war. She begins a relationship with a Spanish Civil War veteran and artist, Miguel (Tóibín never offers his first name, suggesting transience), but constantly on the landscape is another artist, Michael Graves (Toibin always presents both names, suggesting solidity), a Catholic from her hometown, Enniscorthy. On an initial meeting, the latter notices something about Katherine:
‘He says you are Irish’ […] ‘You sound English.’
‘Do I?’ she asked.
‘What part of Ireland are you from?’
‘I don’t want to talk about Ireland.’
Tóibín illustrates the silence hanging over history and the fractured state of memory. Katherine left the Big House for the relative poverty of Barcelona, then the mountains. The Big House was a rebuild, however, and this troubles Katherine. She writes to her mother, who is safely ensconced in London:
The locals turned on us. That’s what happened. That’s what the Troubles were for us. The time the locals turned on us. That’s what happened in Ireland in 1920. I don’t remember a fire but I remember a sound, like a big wind, and being carried. I don’t remember seeing the fire, I must have been three years old. I remember staying in Bennett’s hotel in Enniscorthy. I’ll never forget the sound of the wind. What do you remember? Please tell me what happened.
Tóibín, like Katherine, has left Ireland to embrace these uncertainties. Their distance in Catalonia has facilitated a reassessment of the predominant historical narrative, but no escape from it.
Katherine continues to suffer from her early trauma. Miguel is a persistent reminder of fire; in the war ‘[h]e had burnt the church and the police station in almost every town in Lerida’. Whilst a familial silence has gathered around the torching and rebuilding of the Big House, Tóibín’s sometimes sympathetic depiction of Katherine disrupts the nationalist discourse which celebrates Catholic emancipation. Tóibín provides an individual memory of violence and fear – however fractured – which informs the later trauma and loss. Miguel cannot let go of his memories; in the mountains, he flips the car over – killing himself, alongside his and Katherine’s daughter, Isona. As Corkery would have it: a vast, deep, dramatic, terrible wreckage. Tóibín, in some sense, seems to agree; however, his complication of the Irish memory places Katherine not as a defender of firm religious sensibility, but as ‘…some sort of victim of history. Not a victim, perhaps, but a participant’. A Protestant she may be, but by the end of the novel she accepts the life of her son, Richard, and his Catholic wife, Deirdre. Furthermore, she begins a qualified romance with the poor Catholic, Michael Graves (via the Slaney of all places), which suggests an approach towards reconciliation. It is Catalonia, however, that ‘…becomes the site of Katherine’s reconnection with history and [is] the place that triggers her curiosity about her past’.
Nationalism in Ireland and Catalonia, as well as being enshrined within institutionalised Catholicism and in opposition to colonial rule, has been propelled by the preservation of their respective languages, Gaelic and Catalan. In The South, Tóibín remains aware of these linguistic traditions. When Katherine initially arrives in Barcelona, she wrestles with memories of her family and home: ‘[s]he had forgotten about them now, they came in dreams sometimes and melted into other dreams’; yet attempts at transition are met with redrawn divisions involving language: ‘[t]hey spoke in Catalan; for months she had been learning Spanish’. The difficulties with language are felt more acutely in the mountains where Katherine writes contemptuously of her misunderstandings with a neighbour: ‘[s]he squawks at me like an old turkey when I meet her. She speaks only Catalan […] soon I may be able to relay to you the wit and wisdom’. Katherine, once contained in a strict Anglo-Irish milieu presumably immune to Gaelic, has little sympathy for marginalised language; yet it is this lack of engagement that maintains her isolation: both in Ireland and Catalonia. Her first night in Barcelona could easily be a reflection of her past life in Enniscorthy: ‘I remain a mystery to them; they cannot get through to me’.
The characters, however, predominantly speak English and “Spanish”, and Tóibín focuses on providing ‘…the cadences of the Anglophone and Hispanophone characters and the gaps between them’. Rejecting Corkery’s requisite that Irish literature should be written in the mother tongue, Tóibín achieves sincerity, intensity and style via different means: away from the expository and insistent narrative prose, he treats communication between the main characters with subtlety and, importantly, an awareness of silence. This subtlety is illustrated through Michael Graves’s aesthetic beliefs: ‘[s]he should learn to draw with a pencil, he maintained, not to make fake marks with black oil and fake textures with fake colours’. Later, Katherine writes to Michael Graves regarding Miguel:
This war has not ended yet, in his eyes, or in anybody else’s. Do you remember our first night in this room, when I said to you that I hoped Miguel’s disappearance was the worst thing that would ever happen to us here and you became agitated and told me to stop talking like that? It was though you had seen something.
She is vague and imprecise: who is anybody else? Seen what? Tóibín knows that clarity and history are often difficult to reconcile. Miguel cannot forget the lost war, replaying it constantly and discussing it with strangers: he suffers physically and psychologically. Michael Graves, a participant from the Catholic-nationalist side of Irish history, insists instead on silence. Tóibín complicates the recollection of nationalist history in both Catalonia and Ireland: Miguel vainly attempts to articulate the past, whereas Michael Graves observes that speaking of history is frequently inadequate.
For Tóibín, Catalonia is able, in parts, to reflect the rural, fertile land of Ireland. The title of the novel ‘…implicitly stands for the twenty-six-county state which [Katherine] has left’. One of the apparently decisive establishing factors in Katherine leaving her husband is a dispute with neighbours over the land:
‘I want you to call off the court case.’
We’ve always had good relations with our neighbours.’
‘That’s why they burned you out, I suppose,’ he said.
In the Pyrenees, former antagonists must also share the land. Katherine notices Miguel’s constant quarrelling with a man:
He has been involved in a running battle with Mataró. The reason for this battle is as clear to you as it is to me. Miguel doesn’t like Mataró because he is a fascist.
Tóibín artfully reconstitutes the complications which fester in the long aftermath of traumatic events: both Enniscorthy and the former battlefields in the Pyrenees are ‘…governed by fear and distrust of the neighbour.’ He is aware of the feelings that linger despite the official requirement to reconcile and forget. In fact, it is the land which Tóibín believes should provide roots for a collective Irish history. Of Corkery’s three characteristics, Tóibín argues that only land ‘…survives as a significant influence on contemporary Ireland’. The arduous existence of Katherine’s Big House – its inception, destruction, restoration, and alteration – serves to undermine ‘…certainties about the past, rootedness and identity’. Yet Tóibín nevertheless acknowledges that a certain rootedness is necessary: not in the overt political sense as Corkery would suggest, but for healing and reconciliation. Katherine frets over her tragic daughter:
We have removed her from a world where that sort of recognition means anything. We are her only roots, no one comes before us […] She will never know where she came from, where we came from, the accidents that have brought her into the world. I would love her to know the house I come from, the river, the farm.
Tóibín is evidently suspicious of the roots that lead to myth, but he does not deny their necessity in establishing a collective Irish history he is able to believe in.
In conclusion, this essay has shown the ways in which Tóibín, through the novel The South, uses the setting of Catalonia to complicate the conception of a collective Irish history. In light of Corkery’s three great forces of Irish character, Tóibín is able to articulate his particular brand of historical revisionism. He first complicates the Irish narrative regarding Catholic emancipation from landed Protestant wealth, where Katherine’s life in overwhelmingly Catholic Catalonia becomes a catalyst for remembering and reconciling religious division in Ireland. He then considers the nationalist forces behind recent Irish history, experimenting with ideas surrounding marginalised native languages and the silences found in dialogue with the past: the Spanish Civil War casts a shadow over Miguel, as do the Troubles over Katherine. Finally, Tóibín addresses the land. Here, he finds no concrete truths – the Big House will never remain the same and enemies will continue to be neighbours – but he understands that the land may at least help, as well as complicate, a collective Irish history in finding its roots.
Böss, Michael, ‘‘Belonging without Belonging’: Colm Tóibín’s Dialogue with the Past’, Estudios Irlandeses, 0, (2005), 22-29
Carregal-Romero, José, ‘Colm Tóibín and Post-Nationalist Ireland: Redefining Family through Alterity ‘, Estudios Irlandeses, 7, (2012), 1-9
Corkery, Daniel, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature: A Study (Cork: Cork UP, 1966 )
Cullingford, Elizabeth, ‘American Dreams: Emigration or Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction?’, Éire-Ireland, 49.3/4, (2014), 60-94
Delaney, Paul, ed., Reading Colm Tóibín (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008)
Eagleton, Terry, ‘Mothering’, review of The Blackwater Lightship, by Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books, 20.14, (1999), 8
Foster, R. F., Modern Ireland 1600—1972 (London: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 1988)
Harte, Liam, ‘“The Endless Mutation of the Shore”: Colm Tóibín’s Marine Imaginary’, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 51.4, (2010), 333-349
Kiberd, Declan, Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (London: Vintage Books, 1995)
Murphy, Robinson, ‘The Politics of Rebirth in Colm Tóibín’s ‘Three Friends’ and ‘A Long Winter’’, Irish Studies Review, 17.4, (2009), 485-498
Ryan, Matthew, ‘Abstract Homes: Deterritorialisation and Reterritorialisation in the Work of Colm Tóibín’, Irish Studies Review, 16.1, (2008), 19-32
Tóibín, Colm, ‘New Ways of Killing Your Father’, review of Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History, by R. F. Foster, London Review of Books, 15.22, (1993), 3-6
–––––‘Playboys of the GPO’, review of Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, by Declan Kiberd, London Review of Books, 18.8, (1996), 14-16
–––––’Ireland and Catalonia: Fearful Symmetries’, Bells: Barcelona English Language and Literature Studies, 11, (2000), 243-248
–––––Homage to Barcelona (London: Picador, 2002 )
–––––‘Return to Catalonia’, review of Soldiers of Salamis, by Javier Cercas trans. by Anne McLean, The New York Review of Books, 51.15, (2004), 33-35
–––––’A Long Winter’, in Mothers and Sons (London: Picador, 2007), pp. 197-271
–––––’In the Fires of Catalonia’, The New York Review of Books, 57.8, (2010a), 45-46
–––––The South (London: Picador, 2010b )
Tóibín, Mícheál, Enniscorthy: History and Heritage (Dublin: New Island Books)
Wallace, Kim, ‘Dissent and Dislocation in Colm Tóibín’s The Story of the Night’, Barcelona English Language and Literature Studies, 11, (2000), 257-273
Walsh, Patrick, ‘Daniel Corkery’s The Hidden Ireland and Revisionism’, New Hibernia Review, 5.2, (2001), 27-44
Wiesenfarth, Joseph, ‘An Interview with Colm Tóibín’, Contemporary Literature, 50.1, (2009), 1-27
 Colm Tóibín, ‘New Ways of Killing Your Father’, review of Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History, by R. F. Foster, London Review of Books, 15.22, (1993), 3-6 (p. 6).
 Ibid., p. 3.
 Paul Delaney, ‘Introduction’, in Reading Colm Tóibín, ed. by Paul Delaney (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008), pp. 1-20 (p. 9).
 Michael Böss, ‘‘Belonging without Belonging’: Colm Tóibín’s Dialogue with the Past’, Estudios Irlandeses, 0, (2005), 22-29 (p. 23).
 For examples, see, respectively, Colm Tóibín, ‘A Long Winter’, in Mothers and Sons (London: Picador, 2007), pp. 197-271; Colm Tóibín, ‘In the Fires of Catalonia’, The New York Review of Books, 57.8, (2010a), 45-46; Colm Tóibín, Homage to Barcelona (London: Picador, 2002 ).
 Colm Tóibín, ‘Ireland and Catalonia: Fearful Symmetries’, Bells: Barcelona English Language and Literature Studies, 11, (2000), 243-248 (p. 247).
 Joseph Wiesenfarth, ‘An Interview with Colm Tóibín’, Contemporary Literature, 50.1, (2009), 1-27 (p. 26).
 Fintan O’Toole, ‘An Interview with Colm Tóibín’, in Reading Colm Tóibín, ed. by Paul Delaney (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008), pp. 183-208 (p. 189).
 Daniel Corkery, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature: A Study (Cork: Cork UP, 1966 ), p. 19.
 Elizabeth Cullingford, ‘American Dreams: Emigration or Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction?’, Éire-Ireland, 49.3/4, (2014), 60-94 (p. 78).
 Tóibín, ‘Ireland and Catalonia’, pp. 245-246.
 Ibid., p. 248.
 Colm Tóibín, ‘Playboys of the GPO’, review of Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, by Declan Kiberd, London Review of Books, 18.8, (1996), 14-16 (p.14).
 Tóibín, ‘In the Fires of Catalonia’, p. 45.
 Colm Tóibín, ‘Return to Catalonia’, review of Soldiers of Salamis, by Javier Cercas trans. by Anne McLean, The New York Review of Books, 51.15, (2004), 33-35 (p. 34).
 Colm Tóibín, ‘Introduction: The Stones of Enniscorthy’, in Enniscorthy: History and Heritage, by Mícheál Tóibín (Dublin: New Island Books), pp.7-16 (p. 13).
 Tóibín, ‘New Ways of Killing Your Father’, p. 6.
 Terry Eagleton, ‘Mothering’, review of The Blackwater Lightship, by Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books, 20.14, (1999), 8.
 Delaney, ‘Introduction’, p. 7.
 R. F. Foster, ‘”A Strange and Insistent Protagonist”: Tóibín and Irish History’, in Reading Colm Tóibín, ed. by Paul Delaney (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008), pp. 21-40 (p. 39).
 Oona Frawley, ‘”The Difficult Work of Remembering”: Tóibín and Cultural Memory’, in Reading Colm Tóibín, ed. by Paul Delaney (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008) pp. 69-82 (p. 71).
 José Carregal-Romero, ‘Colm Tóibín and Post-Nationalist Ireland: Redefining Family through Alterity ‘, Estudios Irlandeses, 7, (2012), 1-9 (p. 2).
 Corkery, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature, p. 14.
 For an overview and engagement of this literature, see Patrick Walsh, ‘Daniel Corkery’s The Hidden Ireland and Revisionism’, New Hibernia Review, 5.2, (2001), 27-44.
 Liam Harte, ‘“The Endless Mutation of the Shore”: Colm Tóibín’s Marine Imaginary’, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 51.4, (2010), 333-349 (p. 339).
 Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation (London: Vintage Books, 1995), p. 557.
 R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600—1972 (London: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 1988), p. 195.
 O’Toole, ‘An Interview with Colm Tóibín’, p. 200.
 Kiberd, Inventing Ireland, p. 557.
 Corkery, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature, pp. 19-20.
 Kim Wallace, ‘Dissent and Dislocation in Colm Tóibín’s The Story of the Night’, Barcelona English Language and Literature Studies, 11, (2000), 257-273 (p. 259).
 Robinson Murphy, ‘The Politics of Rebirth in Colm Tóibín’s ‘Three Friends’ and ‘A Long Winter’’, Irish Studies Review, 17.4, (2009), 485-498 (p. 490).
 Colm Tóibín, The South (London: Picador, 2010b ), p. 33.
 Ibid., p. 89.
 Ibid., p. 83.
 Ibid., p. 115.
 Harte, ‘“The Endless Mutation of the Shore”’, p. 336.
 Tóibín, The South, pp. 20-21.
 Ibid., p. 88.
 Ibid., p. 3.
 Christina Hunt Mahony, ‘The Poet Tóibín: Cadence, Incantation, Imitation’, in Reading Colm Tóibín, ed. by Paul Delaney (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008) pp. 97-114 (p. 106).
 Tóibín, The South, p. 58.
 Ibid., p. 123.
 Foster, ‘”A Strange and Insistent Protagonist”’, p. 24.
 Tóibín, The South, p. 42.
 Ibid., p. 118.
 Romero, ‘Colm Tóibín and Post-Nationalist Ireland’, p. 7.
 Matthew Ryan, ‘Abstract Homes: Deterritorialisation and Reterritorialisation in the Work of Colm Tóibín’, Irish Studies Review, 16.1, (2008), 19-32 (p. 28).
 Frawley, ‘”The Difficult Work of Remembering”’, p. 74.
 Tóibín, The South, p. 113.