Where Are The Existentialists Of Northern-England?

I once studied Irish Literature – and nobody can study Irish literature without at least skirting the ideas of the Celtic Revival. In simplistic terms, this was a time when Irish writers began to deal with the stereotypes of their own identity, to challenge what Europe considered to be Irish and to prove that genuine Art could emerge from a relatively out-of-the-way place like Ireland.

Say what you like about Northern England – no, go on, I mean it – but one of the few things we aren’t short on is potential images of beautiful dilapidation.

You will know the names of those involved, of course – Joyce, Beckett and Yeats to name but a few. I could have done better in the module if I had actually engaged with it in the right way. Instead, I went to a pub in Salford called the Pint Pot and drank Guinness whilst reading A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man – how much more Irish could I get, I justified to myself, only half-jokingly.

Anyway, I enjoyed almost every piece of literature I read with regards to the course, even if I only truly began to engage with it after it had already ended.

I cannot help thinking that, despite the changes being made to Northern-England, the cultural hotspot that certain areas of Salford now desires to be, the constant adjustment of Manchester into this hip place for young professionals and students and Liverpool’s gentle slide into a younger person’s city once more, that it must nearly be time for a Northern Revival – a Brigantic Revival, perhaps.

Literary Fiction, much as it worked for the Irish, must continue to be explored by Northern-English writers, particularly those from the dead-end places. Places like Wigan (certainly no bias here, no sir!), like Skelmersdale, like Hale and Willerby are fodder for a writer’s imagination, particularly because there is nothing here.

I remain constantly surprised that a brand new existentialist movement does not arrive as a result of sheer boredom. I have written many, many individual sentences and paragraphs on the subject and, I think, it might be one of my first forays into non-fiction writing, once I have completed those things which I am currently working on.

Of course, I don’t expect anyone to read these things when I eventually get around to them; but you never know.

What was the point of this again? Oh yeah, I’ve started reading Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake for those few snatched minutes I do get to read these days – God help me!

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