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book Reviews As a supplement to Flint's data here assembled I recommend a rereading of James's The Awkward Age (1899), a novel not mentioned by her—oddly enough because its dramatic subject is precisely the human situation she describes: what may the marriageable young girl read and what comes of reading. The book is, as it were, the deus ex machina of this suburb novel. Flint's documentation provides the experience , James the meaning. Despite these reservations, it must be said that the abundance of information made available in The Woman Reader (forget topos) is beyond praise, and with such riches the problem of organizing for the reader's comfort and convenience is almost insurmountable. That it has not been surmounted is therefore unsurprising. Some books are to be savored, some mastered, some mined. This one is to be mined. It is encyclopedic. Ruth Z. Temple ______________ CUNY, Professor Emeritus Women in Ireland C. L. Innes. Woman and Nation in Irish Literature and Society: 18801935 . Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993. 208 pp. Cloth $35.00 Paper $18.00 THIS TERRIFIC little book is a must-read for those interested in women's history or Irish literature. Innes traces the representation of Ireland and the Irish in this period as feniinine, colonial subjects by the British, and as feminine victim by many Irish writers. Drawing on long-standing folk traditions which represented Ireland as female (e.g., the Shan van Vocht, Kathleen ni Houlihan), Innes sketches out the cultural traditions which enabled women both to be constructed as central to the project of re-creating Irish national identity, and to be reified into silent icons. Having detailed a history of representation, both of Ireland as woman and of Irish womanhood, Innes provides insightful close readings of the portrayal of women of and as Ireland in the works of Joyce (with the notable exception of Wake), Yeats, and Synge. Innes poses the question: why even today do we forget or ignore the political work and literary contributions of women such as Lady Gregory, Anna Parnell, Maud Gonne, and Con Markievicz? One reason, Innes suggests, is that these women tended to consciously submerge their individual identities in the collective identities of political groups, collaborative relationships (such as Lady Gregory's and Yeats's), and abstract ideals (as Maud Gonne 233 ELT 38:2 1995 became a living representation of Kathleen ni Houlihan). In three fascinating chapters, Innes traces the history of these women's political activities through the Ladies' Land League, the Bean na h-Eireann and the Shan van Vocht (woman-run newspapers) and other groups. In addition, Innes examines the re-visionings of women's roles in the writings of these women, as they move away from passive icons of femininity (e.g. Dierdre of the Sorrows) to more active, self-deterniining figures (e.g. Devorgilla). Innes concludes by reading Elizabeth Bowen against Yeats's masculinist representation of the nationalist vision and the place of women within it. The readings of Yeats, Joyce and Synge are also fresh and provocative . Innes finds nodes of resistance to the totalizing masculine vision of Yeats in such female voices as Crazy Jane and Michael Robartes's interlocutor in "Michael Robartes and the Dancer." Joyce characters like Molly Bloom in Ulysses and Dante in Portrait undercut the youthful self-absorption of Stephen Daedalus's obectifying view of women, as does the "womanly" Leopold Bloom. Synge, however, is credited with the most clearly articulated feniinist understanding of the plight of Irish womanhood, particularly in the working classes; Pegeen's lament over Christy (Tve lost him surely") is identified as "more tragic than comic," as it reveals a woman who is aware both of her own sexuality and lack of options for finding fulfillment in a world narrowly circumscribed by patriarchy and economic limitations—a world, according to Innes, which was true to the experience of the majority of Irish women in this period. The illustrations of Ireland are particularly intriguing. In Britain, Punch represented Ireland as the helpless and girlish Hibernia, being rescued by paternal John Bull or her elder sister, the warrior Britannia. Irish illustrators tended to associate the "mother-country* with...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 233-235
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Ceasing Publication
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