chapter  3
32 Pages

‘This Thing Could Rule the World’: Northern Writing and the Idea of Coterie

Or more fancifully, we could take Dineen’s poem and let Belfast be the mouth of the poem - surely Farset is related to the Latin turn in the furrow known as versus?

(‘Farset’ , Ciaran Carson 1989: 49)

‘Com munities’ , writes Benedict Anderson in his famous formulation, ‘are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined’ (Anderson 1991: 6). As I demonstrated in the previous chapter, the various visions and revisions o f Belfast provided an affective system o f creative oppositions which enabled the writerly self to find expression o f the humanist subject. The struggle to emerge from a provincial nightmare into a condition o f parochial worth was enacted through the affirming qualities o f the city’s physical fabric which, in turn, served to displace the perceived broken and schismatised historical legacy o f the province.