The Women Writers of Ireland Flagler College Scholar Finds Parallels between Treatment of Female Authors, Ireland Itself

Article excerpt

"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

North Florida.

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

O'Connor's widow.

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

themselves.

"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. …