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Irish Women Writers

New Critical Perspectives


Edited By Elke D'hoker, Raphaël Ingelbien and Hedwig Schwall

After a decade in which women writers have gradually been given more recognition in the study of Irish literature, this collection proposes a reappraisal of Irish women’s writing by inviting dialogues with new or hitherto marginalised critical frameworks as well as with foreign and transnational literary traditions. Several essays explore how Irish women writers engaged with European themes and traditions through the genres of travel writing, the historical novel, the monologue and the fairy tale. Other contributions are concerned with the British context in which some texts were published and argue for the existence of Irish inflections of phenomena such as the New Woman, suffragism or vegetarianism. Further chapters emphasise the transnational character of Irish women’s writing by applying continental theory and French feminist thinking to various texts; in other chapters new developments in theory are applied to Irish texts for the first time. Casting the efforts of Irish women in a new light, the collection also includes explorations of the work of neglected or emerging authors who have remained comparatively ignored by Irish literary criticism.


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Adriana Bebiano


‘Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know’: The Stories of Chicago May and Eliza Lynch We need new angels for new shadows. — edwin honig Amnesia would be better But she wanted to be a lucid dreamer. — Sinéad MorrisSey Since the 1970s, women studies worldwide have given women a new vis- ibility. Received knowledge has it that female protagonists in history – be it in politics, art, culture, or any other activity deemed ‘public’ – are very few when compared with the number of male characters found in the archive.1 The explanations for this absence can be found in history; there is, however, an awareness that it also results from a process of silencing and erasure which took place over centuries and which can – and must – be amended. This invisibility has been equated with ‘irrelevance’; it has been explained as ‘natural’ and used to legitimise past and present attempts at keeping women in the position of the subaltern, playing the role of ‘the second sex’. If social and political emancipation for women goes hand in hand with visibility, it stands to reason that, in order to legitimise present aspirations and present achievements, a genealogy – or a ‘female line’ – needs to be created where it is absent or obscured; that is, it is necessary 1 ‘Archive’ is here used in the Foucaultian sense: not just a passive collection of records from the past but as an active and working system of enunciation (Foucault passim). 256 Adriana Bebiano to re-read and re-write history. Dif ferent...

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