Reading the Irish Woman. Meaney, Gerardine; O’Dowd, Mary; Whelan, Bernadette (9781846318924). Hardback.

Reading the Irish Woman. Meaney, Gerardine; O’Dowd, Mary; Whelan, Bernadette (9781846318924). Hardback.

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An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and the OAPEN library.
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.

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.

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