Afterword: James Hanley and the Liverpool-Irish
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The afterword suggests that focusing on ‘the words on the page’ allows us to reconstruct a web of meaning within which the most fundamental attitudes can be caught and interrogated. Since such interrogation reveals, at a linguistic level, the essentially collective processes of communication and identification vital to the construction of individual and communal identities, it should be possible to turn this method on its head, tracing cultural connections between seemingly isolated authors through coincidences in subversive usage, and thus reassembling further socio-literary communities of the 1930s. Taking seaman-novelist James Hanley as a case in point, it suggests some ways in which his use of escape might ally him with fellow Liverpool-Irish writers George Garrett and Jim Phelan, within a sub-culture queered by the exigencies of poverty and Catholicism.