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Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 41 (2018). The Food Issue”


Given the strong influence of Catholicism on the Irish psyche and culture, it is not altogether surprising that it should feature strongly in the work of the country’s writers and artists. This essay will concentrate on the extent to which the Eucharist, a central tenet of Catholic faith, is linked to a certain perception of the body as seen in the work of three well-known Irish fiction writers: Aidan Mathews, Frank McCourt, and John McGahern. Part of the process revolves around reverence for the Eucharist, which, in order to be properly received, demands a purity of mind and body that is difficult to attain. The Eucharist viewed as “food for the soul” is occasionally interpreted in a literal manner by the writers, with consequences that will be analyzed in the course of the article.

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