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By Lachlan Whalen (auth.)

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Additional resources for Contemporary Irish Republican Prison Writing: Writing and Resistance

Sample text

7 Prison writing reverses this hierarchy: by smuggling out a description of a prisoner of war camp, Adams is putting the British government’s own surveillance under surveillance—an act very dangerous to his captors. The cartography of Adams’s writings threatens the compound on every level, from negative fallout in international public relations to potential paramilitary attacks against the camp itself. Even fifteen years after the initial publication of this first “Brownie” article, the destruction of impermeable spatial boundaries remains a central theme in Adams’s 1990 anthology of his prison writing, Cage Eleven.

Only the Irish people can guarantee these rights. 50 In contrast, the original faoi ghlas version concludes with the strident declaration that As you finish reading this article, an Irish Prisoner of War is being brutalized. AT THE TIME OF WRITING FRANK STAGG IS DYING. AS YOU READ THIS, HE MAY BE DEAD! 52 Cage Eleven’s deletion of the original ending certainly reflects the increased attention taoibh amuigh texts pay to the formalist aesthetics of traditional literature, not least in its apparent attempts to “improve” the text by eliminating what some critics might consider a “hysterical” tone.

Adams’ narrator illustrates: When I feel fit enough to go to the doctor’s I have my own special screw to keep me company. 28 I pause, he pauses — I hobble fast, he hobbles fast— I stop, he stops. I smirk at him, he smiles shyly back— I glare at him, he looks away— I address him as ‘my good man,’ he grins stupidly— I ignore him, he observes me sleekitly. I go to the doctor’s, he goes to the doctor’s. 29 The narrator is keenly aware of the reversal of expected roles: it is not the warder who controls the pace or the destination of the walk, but the POW; perhaps used to dealing with POWs through their OC, this warder is only able to follow the prisoner’s lead in one-on-one situations.

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