"The interesting thing about women in Ireland," professor Owene
Weber says, "is how many similarities there are between Irish
women and Ireland itself both have been submerged culturally,
both have been victimized, both have had their language
subverted for a male, English, imperial audience."
Weber, who teaches writing and women's studies at Flagler
College, will lecture March 20 on Irish Women Writers at Risk:
Marginalized or Mainstreamed?
The free lecture is part of the John Francis Reilly Irish
Studies Performance and Lecture Series at the University of
Richard Bizot, who heads the Irish Studies Program, calls
Weber's selection as a speaker "an absolute natural."
"We're trying each term to bring in a regional scholar and she's
a great resource," Bizot said.
The two met in the '80s when Weber was a student in the first
Irish studies class that Bizot taught at UNF. Weber went on to
earn her Ph.D. from the University of Florida with a
concentration in Women's Studies and Modern Literature.
Weber became interested in Irish women writers during her first
visit to Ireland in 1986, a literary tour led by Bizot. On a
side-trip to Cork, she met a woman who was writer Frank
O'Connor's first love and, through her, she was introduced to
Eventually, Weber says, that relationship helped her to broker
the sale of O'Connor's literary papers to the University of
Florida library. Weber went on to write her dissertation on
women in O'Connor's fiction, a topic that necessitated her
becoming very familiar with the writing of Irish women
"My paper examines literature from Irish women's writing from
Maria Edgeworth at the beginning of the 19th century, going all
the way through modern writers like Jennifer Johnston and Julia
O'Faolain," Weber said.
"This topic of `mainstreamed or marginalized' is a universal
problem with women's literature," she added. …