THE ROLE OF IRISH WOMEN IN THE WRITINGS OF EDNA O’BRIEN Mothering the Continuation of the Irish Nation

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This book examines the interconnections between nationalism and sexuality in Edna O’Brien’s writing. The work explores the connections between Irishness and sexual reproduction that define women as good Irish citizens, exposes the dysfunctions with rural communities that strive to contain women with limited roles and rewrites them to offer her female characters increased agency. This book contains two color photographs and eight black and white photographs.


“Through her stated aim of exposing the ways in which O’Brien’s work reveals a consistent engagement with and interrogation of the ways in which Irish national identity and women’s sexuality have intersected from the 1940s to the present, Thompson reveals the oeuvre as a body of work that offers emancipatory potential for all readers.” – Dr. Rebecca Pelan, University of Queensland

“. . . provides a useful, comprehensive discussion of O’Brien’s work that will help shape the next generation of O’Brien criticism.” – Prof. Martina Sciolino, University of Southern Mississippi

“The author reveals the courageous craft of this important contemporary writer, a writer that has too often been marginalized or dismissed because of her content choices, popularity, or public persona.” – Prof. Andrea Sant Hartig, University of Guam

Table of Contents

Preface by Rebecca Pelan
1. The Terrain of Edna O’Brien
2. Dead Mothers
3. Inviolate Territory
4. Politics, Sex, and Land
5. A Character of Her Own
6. Lesbian Desire
7. Hysterical Hooliganism
8. A Republic of Letters

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