The Dead Republic, by Roddy Doyle: The Wisdom of Comic Heroism
Roddy Doyle is a writer who has reflected that human existence is an interplay between comedy and tragedy, and that therefore all kinds of evils—fanaticism, absolutism, dogmatism—result from cultivating only the tragic perspective. This becomes obvious in The Dead Republic (2010), a novel in which Henry Smart’s comic attitude to life allows Doyle to offer the reader a detached and non-sentimental view of contemporary Irish history. Both John Ford and the IRA want to reshape Henry’s story as a Republican hero to fit their own notion of Irishness and it is precisely in Henry’s response to this perversion of Irish history, politics and national identity that he reveals himself as the perfect comic hero and debunks all efforts to mystify the past.
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