Eavan Boland's Evolution as an Irish Woman Poet

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This study re-evaluates Boland’s work in the dual light of two important ideologies within modern Irish writing: feminism and postcolonialism. Its main objective is to analyze Boland’s evolution as an Irish woman poet in her attempt to overcome marginalization as a postcolonial gendered subject. By bringing together postcolonial and feminist theorizations of identity, this study demonstrates how Boland gradually undermines the (presumably authentic) representations of ‘woman’ and ‘nation’ she has inherited. By describing ‘Irishness’ and ‘womanhood’ in terms of fluidity and hybridity, Boland’s poetry exposes the constructedness of identity itself and allows the speaker to find a place freed from authoritative ideologies. In so doing, Boland manages to present a background where new decolonizing identities can emerge. In other words, it is here where she finds her way out as an outsider within an outsider’s culture.


“In this impressive examination of the poetry of Eavan Boland, Pilar Villar Argáiz provides a study of one of the most influential of Ireland’s contemporary writers ... Although Boland’s writings have attracted a great deal of scholarly attention in Irish studies, this book is important in that Dr. Pilar Villar Argáiz has linked her feminist readings of Boland’s poetry within a context of postcolonial theory and modern Irish writing ... This full-length book on a contemporary Irish woman writer is something of a rarity in Irish studies and most welcome.” – Dr. Eibhear Walshe, Lecturer, Department of English, University College Cork, Ireland

“Dr. Pilar Villar Argáiz’s comprehensive study and insightful analysis affords a unique approach from the joint perspective of feminist and postcolonial studies and provides hitherto unknown views on the poet’s evolution and achievements ... Based on extensive research and written with brilliance and commanding clarity, this study is an essential contribution for anyone interested not only in Eavan Boland’s works but in the controversial status of a female poetic voice in postcolonial Ireland.” – Professor Inés Praga Terente, Departmento Filología Ingelsa, Universidad de Burgos, Spain

“This is an imaginative and thought-provoking analysis of Eavan Boland’s poetry. Dr. Pilar Villar Argáiz traces the evolution of Boland’s oeuvre from its initial assimilationist phase to its current liberationist phase. Informed by both feminist and postcolonial theory, Dr. Argáiz’s reading provides a new perspective on Boland’s iconic poems ...” – Dr. Ríóna Ní Fhrighil, Irish Department, St. Patrick’s College, Ireland

"[The author's] study is interesting because she considers Boland's poetry under a dual feminist and postcolonial framework." Estudios Irlandeses

Table of Contents

Preface by Dr. Eibhear Walshe
1 Introduction
2 Boland’s Initial Steps as a Woman Poet
3 Boland’s Reaffirmation of Sexual Difference
4 Boland’s Artistic Decolonization
5 Conclusion
Appendix: An Interview with Eavan Boland

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