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"Reading in the Dark" by Seamus Deane
It is always interesting to know what the deeper senses of a title are. Certainly one like "Reading in the Dark" appeals to the imagination and some people might even be disappointed if it would only have one significance. That is not the case here; on the contrary, the title contains a number of ideas that are inextricably connected to the story. The combination of reading and darkness may seem somewhat conflicting at first sight, but it becomes clear that the blending of these two factors describes the subject matter in an ideal way. In addition, both reading and darkness have a meaning of their own, which is elaborated in function of the novel's contents.
The most obvious reference to the title of the novel is the chapter in which the boy remembers his fascination for The Shan Van Vocht, the first novel he ever read. The Irish title can be translated as The Poor Old Woman, which is 'a traditional name for Ireland' (RD 19). It deals with the great rebellion of 1798, when the Irish revolted 'against the British establishment in Ireland' but were brutally defeated. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Rebellion_of_1798).
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