Mock Mockers: Cynicism, Suffering, Irish Modernism
Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry Pub Date : 2021-04-23 , DOI: 10.1017/pli.2020.40
Ronan McDonald

Cynicism styles itself as the answer to the mental suffering produced by disillusionment, disappointment, and despair. It seeks to avoid them by exposing to ridicule naive idealism or treacherous hope. Modern cynics avoid the vulnerability produced by high ideals, just as their ancient counterparts eschewed dependence on all but the most essential of material needs. The philosophical tradition of the Cynics begins with the Ancients, including Diogenes and Lucian, but has found contemporary valence in the work of cultural theorists such as Peter Sloterdijk. This article uses theories of cynicism to analyze postcolonial disappointment in Irish modernism. It argues that in the “ambi-colonial” conditions of early-twentieth-century Ireland, the metropolitan surety of and suaveness of a cynical attitude is available but precarious. We therefore find a recursive cynicism that often turns upon itself, finding the self-distancing and critical sure-footedness of modern, urbane cynicism a stance that itself should be treated with cynical scepticism. The essay detects this recursive cynicism in a number of literary works of post-independence Ireland, concluding with an extended consideration of W. B. Yeats’s great poem of civilizational precarity, “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen.”



中文翻译:

模拟嘲讽:犬儒主义,痛苦,爱尔兰现代主义

犬儒主义将自己称为对幻灭,失望和绝望所造成的精神苦难的答案。它试图通过嘲笑天真幼稚的理想主义或奸诈的希望来避免这种情况。现代愤世嫉俗的人避免了崇高理想所带来的脆弱性,就像他们的古代同行避免了对物质需求中最基本的需求以外的一切依赖一样。犬儒主义者的哲学传统始于古人,包括第欧根尼和卢西安,但在彼得·斯洛特迪克(Peter Sloterdijk)等文化理论家的工作中却发现了当代的价值。本文使用犬儒主义理论来分析爱尔兰现代主义中的后殖民失望。它认为,在二十世纪初爱尔兰的“歧义殖民”条件下,愤世嫉俗的大城市保证和温和的态度是可以实现的,但却是不稳定的。因此,我们发现了一种经常出现的递归犬儒主义,发现了现代的都市犬儒主义的自我疏远和批判的肯定态度是一种自己应该被愤世嫉俗的怀疑论对待的立场。这篇文章在爱尔兰独立后的许多文学作品中都发现了这种递归的犬儒主义,最后总结了叶芝(WB Yeats)的一本伟大的文明风骚诗“一百一十九岁”。

更新日期:2021-04-23
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