Women and Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction

Authors: McWilliams, Ellen

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About this book

Women and Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction examines how contemporary Irish authors have taken up the history of the Irish woman migrant. It situates these writers' work in relation to larger discourses of exile in the Irish literary tradition and examines how they engage with the complex history of Irish emigration.

About the authors

Ellen McWilliams is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Exeter, UK. She is the author of Margaret Atwood and the Female Bildungsroman (2009) and has received a number of awards for research, including an Arts and Humanities Research Council Early Career Fellowship (2011) and a Fulbright Scholar Award (2012).

Reviews

“As her study, Women and Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction, amply shows, women are no longer marginal characters but protagonists who provide rich commentary on emigration-related social concerns including reproductive rights, censorship, religious and class identities, whiteness, and belonging. … The book is engagingly written and constitutes a compelling and important contribution to contemporary Irish literary criticism.” (Katrin Urschel, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 39 (2), 2016)



"Women and Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction is a concise and lucid treatment of a still neglected aspect of Irish literature. It conveys sometimes quite complex ideas in a coherent and clearly sign-posted way for readers new to the subject. Another of the book's many strengths is the way in which it doesn't just focus on the obvious texts of Irish women's migration but comes at the subject from a more oblique and critically rewarding angle and by doing so provides new and enriching perspectives. In particular, it demonstrates how representations of Irish women migrants' identities are enmeshed within complex discourses of paternalism and exclusion that permeate Irish literature more generally. I also liked the way in which novelists' non-fiction work is used, wherever possible, to contribute to the book's overall analysis. Other strengths are the excellent literature reviews throughout and the way in which the analysis is contextualized within not just Irish but English literary traditions. A timely and valuable contribution to Irish Studies on both sides of the Atlantic." Tony Murray, Director of the Irish Studies Centre and Curator of the Irish in Britain Archive at London Metropolitan University, UK

"McWilliams's treatment of the field of the contemporary Irish novel is detailed and comprehensive, dealing with two key novels each by Julia O'Faolain, Edna O'Brien, John McGahern, William Trevor, Colm Tóibín, and Anne Enright. McWilliams's readings of Enright and Tóibín in particular are nuanced and compelling in many ways; for example, the use of historical sources concerning the differences between Irish women's experiences in the USA and Britain is especially productive and has some interesting implications for the novelistic form. By isolating and focusing on the theme of female emigration in the Irish novel, McWilliams has usefully defined a new field for critical investigation... Her study will no doubt facilitate and stimulate further debate on questions of women, the nation, travel and modernity in Irish writing." Professor Emer Nolan, Irish Studies Review

"For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Irish people left Ireland in large numbers, settling all over the world but often still considering Ireland 'home' and thinking of themselves as exiles, not merely emigrants. While Ireland remained alive to them and to their descendants, they did not figure as much in the popular imagination in Ireland itself until fairly recently. Indeed, as Ellen McWilliams notes in this excellent book, the shame associated with emigration resulted in a notable silence about this diaspora at home in Ireland until quite late in the last century. Although most of these novels have been the subjects of considerable critical analysis, they have not previously been studied from this specific standpoint. In bringing these texts together and focusing closely on what they individually and collectively suggest about the experience of exile for Irish women, McWilliams makes a major contribution to the study of contemporary Irish fiction as well as to the study of the Irish diaspora. McWilliams's readings of the fiction are insightful, nuanced, and persuasive. Although this is certainly a scholarly book and McWilliams shows a broad and deep understanding of an enormous range of scholarly and theoretical texts, her writing is so direct and clear and her arguments so carefully made that I think this work will be of interest to and readable by many people outside of the field of literary study. Although I have read all the novels McWilliams discusses here, until reading her book I had not recognized that they share themes connected with Irish women and exile. In short, McWilliams gave me a new way of thinking about this fiction, which is exactly what we hope for when we begin reading a scholarly work but all too seldom find." Professor Maureen Reddy, Journal of Interdisciplinary Feminist Thought

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-6

    McWilliams, Ellen

  • Women, Forms of Exile and Diasporic Identities

    Pages 7-42

    McWilliams, Ellen

  • ‘Outside History’: Exile and Myths of the Irish Feminine in Julia O’Faolain’s No Country for Young Men and The Irish Signorina

    Pages 43-64

    McWilliams, Ellen

  • Negotiating with the Motherland: Exile and the Irish Woman Writer in Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls Trilogy and The Light of Evening

    Pages 65-92

    McWilliams, Ellen

  • Relative Visibility: Women, Exile and Censorship in John McGahern’s The Leavetaking and Amongst Women

    Pages 93-125

    McWilliams, Ellen

Buy this book

eBook 49,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-31420-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 69,67 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-230-28576-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
Softcover 62,39 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-33078-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Women and Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction
Authors
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-31420-8
DOI
10.1057/9781137314208
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-28576-7
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-33078-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 243
Topics