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Feminist Perspectives on Cultural and Religious Identities

Rewriting Mary Magdalene, Mother Ireland and Cú Chulainn of Ulster

Birgit Breninger

Throughout the second half of the 20th century various societies were shaped by conflicting trends of globalization and nationalist resurgence, powerful surges of collective identities as well as fragmentation into individualistic subjects. Against this background of various socio-cultural movements aiming to transform established value systems, women poets and novelists set out to deconstruct dominant ways of perceiving and experiencing ‘reality’ and identities by raising their voices against demystification and powerlessness. This book analyzes what is termed by the author as ‘deconstructive rewritings’ in culturally relevant ways. Due to the specialist focus on the choice of ‘reworked threads of mythical strands’, an analysis referred to as mytho-literanalysis is introduced and deployed. By using what Barthes has termed the best weapon against myth, namely the mythification of myth in its turn, the women writers’ rewritings embody the idea to tell the well-known stories so many times in so many different ways that one embraces and finally ‘becomes’ the plethora of stories and not the petrified reiteration of the mimicry of one popular version.