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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2009

E 392M • Irish Women's Writing

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Irish Women's Writing in the Colonial and Neo-Colonial Context

We shall explore the tradition of Irish women’s writing (novels, short stories, plays, poems, films) in relation to Irish colonial history, the Act of Union (1800), the struggle for Independence (1916-22), the establishment of the Free State, and the Troubles in the North (1968 to the present day). Our texts represent all shades of political opinion: Unionist and Nationalist, feminist and conservative. We shall consider the uneasy relation between feminism and republicanism that marked the process of decolonization and the era of the Northern Troubles. We shall also investigate the repression of women after the establishment of the Free State in the south, intensified by De Valera’s misogynistic Constitution of 1937, which attempted to confine women to their role as mothers in the home. Some of our later texts address the question of women’s reproductive choices, highlighted after the 1983 abortion referendum by the Kerry Babies and Ann Lovett cases.



Maria Edgeworth, Letters for Literary Ladies, Castle Rackrent, The Absentee

Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson), The Wild Irish Girl

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross, The Real Charlotte

Isabella Augusta Gregory, selected plays

Kate O'Brien, The Land of Spices

Molly Keane, The Rising Tide

Elizabeth Bowen, The Last September

Jennifer Johnston, The Invisible Worm

Julia O’Faolain, No Country for Young Men

Anne Devlin, Ourselves Alone

Short stories by Leland Bardwell and Eilis Ni Dhuibne

Poems by Eavan Boland, Paula Meehan, and Nuala ní Dhomnhaill

Films: Mother Ireland, Hush-a-bye Baby, The Visit


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