Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

Of Penelopes, Mermaids and Flying Women: Celia De Freine's Tropes of Mobility

Academic journal article Estudios Irlandeses - Journal of Irish Studies

Of Penelopes, Mermaids and Flying Women: Celia De Freine's Tropes of Mobility

Article excerpt

Abstract. In 2010, Celia de Freine published the Gaelic translation of "Penelope", a poem byt the Galician poet Xohana Torres which challenges the passive role ascribed to women by Western literary tradition and claims for the unknown seas as the space into which women must venture. In 2011, De Freine published a revised version of her previous Gaelic rendering and added an English translation, a signal of her attraction towards the symbolic figuration of this alternative Penelope the navigator. Along a similar line, De Freine's 2010 poetry collection imram: odyssey, framed by the Gaelic genre of the imram about the voyage and its challenges, sheds light on women's long-repressed wanderlust and yearning for adventure. This article enquires into the intersection of gender and mobility through the analysis of a number of De Freine's symbolic figurations of women's mobility: navigators, mermaids, and flying women. Drawing on Rosi Braidotti's trope of the "nomadic subject" and her thesis regarding the transformative capacity of metaphorical language (1994: 4), I will pay special attention to those empowering tropes which engender alternative forms of agency. Nonetheless, Utopian discourses on women's mobility also need to be scrutinised in light of Judith Butler's warning about the death of the sovereign subject, her vulnerability and her dependence on the Other (2005).

Key Words. Celia de Freine, Irish Poetry, Xohana Torres, Mobility, Women's Studies, Penelope, Mermaid, Flying Woman

Resumen. En 2010 Celia de Freine publico su traduccion al gaelico de "Penelope", un poema de la poeta gallega Xohana Torres que cuestiona el papel pasivo atribuido a las mujeres por la tradition literaria occidental y que reclama los mares ignotos como espacio en el que se deben aventurar las mujeres. En 2011 De Freine publico una version revisada de dicha traduccion gaelica, anadiendo una traduccion inglesa, lo cual evidencia su atraccion por la figuration simbolica de esta Penelope navegante alternativa. En esta linea, el poemario imram: odyssey que De Freine publico en 2010 se enmarca en el genero gaelico del imram sobre el viaje y sus vicisitudes, aportando luz a la pasion viajera de las mujeres y sus ansias de aventura tanto tiempo reprimidas. Este articulo indaga sobre la intersection de genero y movilidad a traves del analisis de varias figuraciones simbolicas de la movilidad de las mujeres: navegantes, sirenas y mujeres voladoras. Partiendo del tropo del sujeto nomada de Rosi Braidotti y de su tesis sobre la capacidad transformadora del lenguaje metaforico (1994: 4), prestare especial atencion a aquellos tropos de empoderamiento que generan formas alternativas de agencialidad. Sin embargo, los discursos utopicos sobre la movilidad de la mujer han de ser examinados teniendo tambien en cuenta la advertencia de Judith Butler sobre la muerte del sujeto soberano, su vulnerabilidad y su dependencia del Otro (2005).

Palabras clave. Celia de Freine, Poesia irlandesa, Xohana Torres, Movilidad, Estudios de la Mujer, Penelope, Sirena, Mujer voladora

Symbolic Figurations of Female Mobility

In 2010, the Irish poet Celia de Freine participated in To the Winds Our Sails, an anthology of contemporary Galician women poets translated, into English and Gaelic, by Irish poets (O'Donnell and Palacios 2010). De Freine's long-lasting commitment to the Gaelic language and her consolidated position in the world of Irish letters found a perfect match in the writing career of the doyenne of Galician poetry, Xohana Torres (1931-), whose writing has inspired successive generations of Galician poets, especially women. The Galician poet contributed five poems to this anthology, among them one of her most influential texts "Penelope" (Torres 2004: 251). In this poem, an anonymous oracle encourages Penelope to go out to sea and navigate westward, at the time of the grape harvest, to a place that can be recognised as Galicia, a semi-autonomous community in north-western Spain. …

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