Irish Studies in Spain-2005

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Metaforas de su tierra by Maria Amor Barros del Rio Joyceana: Literaria Hibernica by M.E. Jaime de Pablos & J. M. Estevez Saa (eds.) Las poeticas de James Joyce y Luis Martin-Santos by Marisol Morales Ladron La novela irlandesa del siglo XX by Ines Praga Terente (ed.) Humour and Tragedy in Ireland by P. Trainor de la Cruz & B. Krauel Heredia (eds.)


The first years of the 21st century have witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of scholarly publications in Spain related to Irish studies. It is not by chance that this period roughly coincides with the creation of AEDEI. The Spanish Association for Irish Studies has promoted Irish literature and culture in such a way that what previously constituted the commendable efforts of scholars working in isolation (with the exception of the Spanish James Joyce Association, with more than 15 years of continuous work) has now become a thriving field of studies. Universities such as Burgos, Barcelona, A Coruna and some others are centres for new projects and Ph.D. dissertations are read every year. The production of books on Irish themes has acquired a high level of specialisation too, as the selection of recent works included here will testify.

Still, there is plenty of work to be done. More provocative studies must be written (Ines Praga's essay on the novel in Northern Ireland commented on here is undoubtedly an example to follow). More translations into Spanish and into other peninsular languages must be done.

Manuela Palacios' rendering of six Irish women poets into Galician in her book Pluriversos (Santiago: Follas Novas, 2003) is another example of a carefully edited bilingual volume. The year 2005 saw another edition of W. B. Yeats's poetry, Antologia Poetica (Barcelona: Lumen), which is always good news, but other Irish authors perhaps not so popular among Spanish readers are waiting their turn. Recent works such as Elena Jaime's translation of George Moore's The Wild Goose (Almeria: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad, 2003) indicate that there are reasons for hope in this sense, despite the many shortcomings: In the year of Samuel Beckett's centennial celebrations there are not many prospects of new publications on the "headmaster of the Writing as Agony school" as Martin Amis called him, and James Knowlson's superb biography Damned to Fame. The Life of Samuel Beckett (London: Bloomsbury, 1996) still remains to be translated into Spanish.

In any case, the seeds have been sown for a promising future of forthcoming publications on Irish subjects in Spain. Those commented on below will not disappoint the interested reader.

Barros del Rio, Maria Amor (2004) Metaforas de su tierra. Breve historia de las mujeres irlandesas, Oviedo: Septem Ediciones. ISBN: 84-95687-82-8

One of the great paradoxes in Irish history is that a nation which has been represented by feminine myths since ancient times has had its history written by men. As has been the case in most countries, the historical role of women has been silenced and what Amor Barros proposes in this book is to redress the balance and to rescue from oblivion the presence of women in this country's evolution from the Celtic era to our postmodern times.

One of the assets of the book lies in its capacity of synthesis: as the title suggests, this is a "brief history", and the author has compressed the plight of Irish women for more than two thousand years into no more than a hundred pages. It should be taken into account that her approach is an integral one, and the situation of women in each period is not treated as an isolated phenomenon but is fully contextualised, considering factors such as land, religion or colonialism.

The book is divided into eight main chapters, each dedicated to a particular historical period. After the introduction, the second chapter explains that in Celtic Ireland feminine figures closely connected to nature prevailed in the belief systems of the first inhabitants of the island. …


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