Representations of Gender and Female Subjectivity in Contemporary Irish Drama by Women

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Departing from the assumption that female-authored drama has developed its own strategies or revitalized older ones, this book traces dramatization of the specific
female experience on the contemporary Irish stage. This work also rescues from
obscurity plays written by lesser known authors.


“Scholarly, lively, and accessible, this book is destined to become a standard reference for all students of modern Irish drama. . .”
– Prof. Christopher Murray, University College Dublin

From the Foreword:
“Both Irish theatre and Irish scholarship owe a huge debt to the analysis of Mária Kurdi and the singular way she places the dramatic work nationally and internationally. Kurdi’s world view and perspectives bring into play a range of critical and discursive strategies and sensibilities that are uniquely combined and interdigitated, but also groundbreakingly invaluable.”
– Dr. Eamonn Jordan, University College Dublin

"[The author] takes us on an illuminating journey through the history of Irish twentieth-century drama to the emergence of a vibrant female authored corpus of theatre work over the past three decades. It is a body of work that challenges the representation of women in Irish society through innovative experimentation in dramaturgical forms and techniques." -- Patricia Byrne

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Legacy of Foremothers and Contexts
for the Development of Women’s Playwriting in Ireland

Lady Gregory’s Explorations of Gender
Women’s Position in Early Twentieth-century Ireland
Teresa Deevy’s Representation of Female Consciousness
Feminism in Ireland
Irish Drama by Women after Deevy

Chapter 2: Body Politics and Dress Codes
The Body in Ireland and in the Irish Theatre
Discipline, Transgression, and Transcendence
Constructions of Aging
Teenagers and Violence
Rejection, Suicide, and Transformation
Abjection and Destructiveness

Chapter 3: Performance, Metatheatre, and Carnival
Identity, Performativity, and Theatre
Role-playing and the Manipulation of the Gaze
Cross-Gender Impersonation and Masquerade
Transgression and Carnivalisation
Dying as Performance

Chapter 4: Character Constellations and Female Genealogies
Mapping the Character in Irish Women’s Drama
Contrasting and Complementary Characters
Female Genealogies and Foils
The Character and its Double
The Mother-Daughter Relationship

Chapter 5: Storytelling, Narrators, and the Monologue Form
Narrative in Irish Drama
Telling (her)stories
Homodiegetic Narrators
Variations on the Female Monologue

Chapter 6: Adaptation, Rewriting, and Intertextuality
The Practice of Rewriting and Intertextuality in Irish Drama
Updating Celtic Myths
The Adaptation of Ancient Myths
Appropriating Techniques and Motifs from Revivalist Drama
Dramatic Conversations with Beckett and Friel
Intercultural Parallels with Contemporary World Literature

Chapter 7: Space and the Trope of the Journey
Space and Spatial Relations in Modern Irish Drama
Negotiations of the Female Experience through Space
Dysfunctional Homes and Alternative Spaces
Female Journeys and Nomadism


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