Clair Wills's The Best Are Leaving is an important and wide-ranging study of post-war Irish emigrant culture. Wills analyses representations of emigrants from Ireland and of Irish immigrants in Britain across a range of discourses, including official documents, sociological texts, clerical literature, journalism, drama, literary fiction, and popular literature and film. This book, written by a leading critic of Irish literature and culture, examines public opinion about post-war emigration from Ireland and about the immigrant community in Britain by discussing topics such as the loss of the finest people from rural Ireland and the destruction of traditional communities; the anxieties of women emigrants and their desire for the benefits of modern consumer society; the stereotype of the drunken Irishman; the charming and authentic country Irish in the city; and the ambiguous meanings of Irish Catholicism in England, which was viewed as both a threatening and civilising force. Wills explores this theme of emigration through writers as diverse as M. J. Molloy, John B. Keane, Tom Murphy, and Edna O'Brien.
The Best Are Leaving: Emigration and Post-War Irish Culture
February 02, 2015