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Reimagining Irish Studies for the Twenty-First Century


Edited By Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

This landmark collection marks the publication of the 100th book in the Reimagining Ireland series. It attempts to provide a «forward look» (as opposed to what Frank O’Connor once referred to as the « backward look») at what Irish Studies might look like in the third millennium. With a Foreword by Declan Kiberd, it also contains essays by several other leading Irish Studies experts on (among other areas) literature and critical theory, sport, the Irish language, food and beverage studies, cinema, women’s writing, Brexit, religion, Northern Ireland, the legacy of the Great Famine, Ireland in the French imagination, archival research, musicology, and Irish Studies in North America. The book is a tribute to Irish Studies’ foundational commitment to revealing and renewing Irishness within and beyond the national space.

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12 No Country for Young Girls?: Representations of Gender-Based Violence in Some Recent Fiction by Irish Women Writers



The representation of domestic violence and of sexual abuse is nothing new in Irish fiction. One only has to remember the harrowing, sadistic scene at the opening John McGahern’s second novel The Dark, published in 1965; Edna O’Brien’s description of the horrendous treatment of a young victim of incestuous rape, charged with attempted abortion in Down the River (1997); or some of the grotesque but still horrifying episodes of Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy (1992); or Roddy Doyle’s heartbreaking portrayal of a battered female protagonist in The Woman Who Walked into Doors (1996). Those novels, apart from their striking literary qualities, have very often been read as denunciations of the patriarchal, conservative, oppressive, hypocritical society that emerged in the years following Irish independence and the long period when Fianna Fáil (under the leadership of Eamon de Valera) dominated Irish political and social life.

It has, however, become a cliché to claim that Irish society was revolutionised at the turn of the twenty-first century by the Celtic Tiger economy, which ushered in a new era of prosperity and opened up the country to new waves of changes and modernisation, aligning it with the moral standards of other Western societies, even though it was followed by the utter collapse of the banking system, accompanied by severe recession and dire austerity. The Celtic Tiger era was based on what is commonly referred to as neo-liberalism, which was not confined to an ever-increasing degree of globalisation of...

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