Out of his-story. The rising of Bella Casey di Mary Morrissy


In his pioneering study of 1957, Istoričeskij roman, GyorgyLukács maintains that the historical novel can provide a truthful and reliable account of facts. This notion reflects a monolithic notion of History as the sole repository of the past, the fact there is one past, and consequently one authoritative version of it. Over the past few decades, owing to history revisionism and to postcolonial studies, the traditional conception of History has given way to a more complex understanding of the past, which can be viewed (and reviewed) from different perspectives. The contemporary historical novel thus becomes the place whence the peripheral silenced stories of minor characters are told. Their existence is acknowledged by way of narratives that look back at traditional models while also experimenting with and adapting to new modes of history (re)telling. One such case is seen in Mary Morrissy’s The Rising of Bella Casey (2013). Set between 1916 and the 1940s, this contemporary historical novel revisits a turbulent phase of Irish historyvis à vis the equally turbulent story of her protagonist, Bella. About a century from those events, Morrissy reflects upon the legacy of Ireland's colonial past, confronting patriarchal narratives and disrupting traditional notions of time to suggest a cyclical pattern out of which the marginal voice of her protagonist will rise.



DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v26p327

Keywords: Mary Morrissy; contemporary historycal novel; 1916; Ireland; Easter Rising, 1916


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