Back to the Present, Forward to the Past: Irish Writing and History since 1798, Vol. II - Vol. 2

Back to the Present, Forward to the Past: Irish Writing and History since 1798, Vol. II - Vol. 2

Back to the Present, Forward to the Past: Irish Writing and History since 1798, Vol. II - Vol. 2

Back to the Present, Forward to the Past: Irish Writing and History since 1798, Vol. II - Vol. 2

Synopsis

The island of Ireland, north and south, has produced a great diversity of writing in both English and Irish for hundreds of years, often using the memories embodied in its competing views of history as a fruitful source of literary inspiration. Placing Irish literature in an international context, these 2 volumes explore the connection between Irish history and literature, in particular the Rebellion of 1798, in a more comprehensive, diverse and multi-faceted way than has often been the case in the past. The fifty-three authors bring their national and personal viewpoints as well as their critical judgements to bear on Irish literature in these stimulating articles. The contributions also deal with topics such as Gothic literature, ideology, and identity, as well as gender issues, connections with the other arts, regional Irish literature, in particular that of the city of Limerick, translations, the works of Joyce, and comparisons with the literature of other nations.

Excerpt

María de la Cinta Ramblado Minero

For Adele Dalsimer, in memoriam.

Kate O'Brien has been studied from different angles, and the most frequent has been the socio-historic approach. From this point of view she has been said to portray a social milieu that had not been represented before in Irish literature, that of the Catholic bourgeoisie. Until recently, she had never been deeply studied from a feminist point of view because almost every critic seemed to have followed Reynolds's statement that Kate O'Brien was not a feminist, or at least, not explicitly. It is true that O'Brien never manifested any tendencies towards feminist trends; however, it is possible to be a woman writer without being what we understand as feminist, that is, a radical feminist which, for the people on the streets, means fighting against the patriarchal system. However, O'Brien does not do this explicitly; she is better defined as a female writer. This can be explained in relation to Elaine Showalter's historical division of women's writing. According to Showalter, there are three stages in the tradition of women's literature:

feminine: characterized by the imitation of male models;
feminist: reaction against patriarchy, emphasizing women's victimi
zation in a male-dominated environment;
female: writing about women and their history, experiences and per
ceptions from a female point of view.

Adele M. Dalsimer, Kate O'Brien: a Critical Study, Dublin, 1990, xi.

Lorna Reynolds, Kate O'Brien: a Literary Portrait, Gerrards Cross, 1987, 128.

Elaine Showalter, "The Female Tradition", in Feminisms: An Anthology of
Literary Theory and Criticism, eds R. R. Warhol and D. P. Herndl, New
Brunswick, 1991, 269-88.

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