Ann Owens Weekes


Irish feminist academic; teaches in Texas; author of Irish Women Writers: An Uncharted Tradition (Kentucky UP 1990)

[ top ]

Irish Women Writers: An Uncharted Tradition
(Kentucky UP 1990): ‘Value and cost of human relationships form a constant undercurrent in Irish women’s writings, the emphasis shifting from cost to value.’ (p.23.) ‘The Rackrents of Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent are equally appalling as husbands and as landlords. OE Somerville and Martin Ross present unappealing and immoral character in The Real Charlotte, but depict her nevertheless as a victim of an unjust society. The Eden of Anglo-Ireland as Elizabeth Bowen presents hit in The Last September depends upon Anglo-Irish women and Gaelic Ireland accepting without question the word of the domestic or colonising father. The security of the Gaelic-Irish society in Kate O’Brien’s Without My Cloak also rests upon the sacrifice of women, as does the independent state posited in The Land of Spices. The Gaelic-Irish warriors of 1922 and 1979 are both equally willing to exploit women in Julia O’Faolain’s No Country for Young Men. And domestic repression reflects national repression in almost all of Jennifer Johnston’s work, most overtly in Shadows on Our Skins (p.212.)

Further (Irish Women Writers), Further, ‘[W]omen, like colonised peoples, had to repress their desires, women’s fiction has been subject to the same kinds of repression as women themselves, repression which forced [women] writers to encode their concerns in a muted voice.’ (p.218.) ‘The student who searches the shelves for works on Irish women's fiction - surely, on ethings, an obvious division - geels very much as Virginia Woolf did when she searched the British Museum for work on women by women. The msot determined reasearcher detects only a few slim volumes. Thus one is forced to ask wehter Irish women have written fiction; and if so whether this fiction has any artistic or even historic value, and finally whether this fiction differs sufficiently from that of Irish men to merit the recognition of yet another category.’ (Op. cit., Intro. [q.p.]; quoted in Nichola McFall, UG Essay, UU 2003.)

[ top ]