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“[L]ike a shoal of fish moving within a net”: 'King Lear' and McGahern’s Family in 'Amongst Women' / Nicholas Collins

John McGahern: Critical Essays, Pages: 113 - 136

Swansea University Author: Taylor-Collins, Nicholas

Abstract

Parallels between William Shakespeare's 'King Lear' and John McGahern's 'Amongst Women' initiate this chapter. However, while the distinctive presence of women around an ageing and burdened father (Lear and Moran, respectively) join these two narratives, they are also l...

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Published in: John McGahern: Critical Essays
ISBN: 978-3-0343-1755-9
Published: Oxford Peter Lang 2014
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa36110
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Abstract: Parallels between William Shakespeare's 'King Lear' and John McGahern's 'Amongst Women' initiate this chapter. However, while the distinctive presence of women around an ageing and burdened father (Lear and Moran, respectively) join these two narratives, they are also linked by the outsider, base figures of Edmund and Edgar (in 'Lear') and Luke (in 'Amongst Women'). It is the acknowledged abjectness of these brotherly figures who circumscribes and authorises the father's power. Like the classic sovereign in Giorgio Agamben's theories, Lear and Moran derive their power by legislating on the exception, whose presence precedes and creates the possibility of a nuclear family in the first place.
Keywords: William Shakespeare, John McGahern, Giorgio Agamben, exception, sovereignty, family
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Start Page: 113
End Page: 136