Reading the Irish Woman

BookReading the Irish Woman

Reading the Irish Woman

Studies in Cultural Encounters and Exchange, 1714–1960

Reappraisals in Irish History, 2


July 31st, 2013



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The theme of this book is cultural encounter and exchange in Irish women’s lives. Using three case studies: the Enlightenment, emigration and modernism, it analyses reading and popular and consumer culture as sites of negotiation of gender roles. It traces how the circulation of ideas, fantasies and aspirations which have shaped women’s lives in actuality and in imagination and argues that there were many different ways of being a woman. Attention to women’s cultural consumption and production shows that one individual may in one day identify with representations of heroines of romantic fiction, patriots, philanthropists, literary ladies, film stars, career women, popular singers, advertising models and foreign missionaries. The processes of cultural consumption, production and exchange provide evidence of women’s agency, aspirations and activities within and far beyond the domestic sphere. An Open Access edition of this work is available on the OAPEN Library.

No comparable book in Irish literary, cultural or historical studies Case study approach facilitates detailed analysis in relation to ideas about women in Ireland over a long period of time Makes a significant contribution to a number of underresearched topics including the history of the book; ideas about women in literature and public discourse; the surprising presence of radical ideas about women’s role and status in society present throughout the long period, 1700–1960.

About The Author

Gerardine Meaney is Director of the Humanities Institute of Ireland at University College Dublin. Mary O’Dowd is Professor in the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University, Belfast. Bernadette Whelan is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Limerick.