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No Man’s Land

Irish Women and the Cultural Present


Sarah O'Connor

This book explores bilingualism and translation in contemporary women’s writing. The author argues that the ‘in-between’ or interstitial linguistic areas of bilingualism, translation and regionalism provide a language and imagery suitable for the expression of a specifically female consciousness. Throughout the book, she draws on the work of writers and critics in both Irish and English to construct a new method of reading Irish women’s writing in the latter half of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first. These bold new readings demonstrate that the concept of interstitiality or the ‘in-between’ can enrich our understanding not only of Irish women’s literature in itself but also of the culture that produces this literature.


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Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Women in Twentieth-Century Ireland: Redrawing the Map 11 Chapter 2 Cultural Change 35 Chapter 3 Theorizing the Interstitial Space 55 Chapter 4 Bilingual Realities 71 Chapter 5 The Dancers Dancing: ‘in between, the in between, the in between, that is the truth and that is the story’ 89 Chapter 6 Cailíní Beaga Ghleann na mBláth: Snámhaithe den Scoth (The Little Girls of Ghleann na mBláth: Exceptional Swimmers) 111 Chapter 7 An Liombó Samhlaíochta and The Balakhana 133 vi Chapter 8 Medbh McGuckian and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill: Collaboration in Translation 159 Chapter 9 Translation as Textual Pregnant Embodiment 179 Postscript: Picking Up the Pieces 199 Bibliography 205 Index 219

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