Edna O'Brien 

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Amanda Greenwood

This study examines Edna O’Brien’s representations of women in Ireland and beyond, focusing on issues of ‘femininity’, ‘masculinity’ and ‘Irishness

Description: Since the publication of her debut novel, The Country Girls in 1960 Edna O’Brien has experimented with an impressive range of forms and genres. Her most recent trilogy, completed in 1999 with the publication of Wild Decembers, focuses on issues surrounding contemporary Ireland such as terrorism, decolonisation and abortion law. Concentrating mainly on the novels from 1960 to the present day Amanda Greenwood contests critical perceptions of O’Brien as a narrow chronicler of women’s inner lives, arguing that O’Brien’s writings are not only radical but deeply revealing of the position of women under patriarchy in Ireland and beyond; the later texts suggest the need for revision of the social and symbolic orders. Drawing on ‘French’ feminism, gender issues, Irish studies and ecocriticism, Greenwood explores O’Brien’s representations and deconstructions of ‘femininity’, ‘masculinity’ and ‘Irishness’.


..thoroughly up-to-date in terms both of its coverage... and of its critical approach

                      Forum of Modern Language Studies


Author:  Greenwood, Amanda

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