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The Land of Spices occupies two very important and two very distinct places in my literary bookshelf. As an academic, The Land of Spices is a fascinating window into the world of both early twentieth-century Ireland as well as the world of the Irish Free State on the eve of deValera's Bunreacht na hÉireann. O'Brien establishes a phenomenal contrast between the promise of young Anna Murphy's undetermined future and the over-determination the new Constitution offers women in the Free State. At it's most basic, The Land of Spices is a bildungsroman that follows the early-development of the precocious Anna during her time at a convent school in Mellick. In this respect, the most obvious comparison is to Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; indeed, these comparisons are valuable, offering a uniquely feminist and queer critique of Joyce's masculine priesthood of the artist. O'Brien's feminism is on display unabashedly. But The Land of Spices does perfectly fit into the traditional bildungsroman category. A valuable question is who indeed is the protagonist of the novel: obviously, Anna comes to mind, but the figure of the Reverend Mother must also be entertained. Reverend Mother operates as a constant criticism of the close-minded cultural nationalism on full display throughout deValera's Ireland.
On a more personal level, however, The Land of Spices always jockeys for the pole position in the list of my favourite Kate O'Brien works. I must attribute this to the fact that it was the first Kate O'Brien I ever read. Serendipitously, Anna's development mirrored so closely my own during my semester at the University of Limerick that I cannot help but favour this novel. During my own extended period of existential growth, Anna Murphy's struggles to determine her own future and to protect that future from the designs of family, church, and society rang true. As such, on an emotional level, I cannot recommend O'Brien's The Land of Spices more vigourously.
Review: The Land of SpicesUser Review - Goodreads
2.5 stars. This book is a very odd duck. It hasn't aged well. The title isn't reflective of the content - and yes, I've heard the joke that there are two things wrong with the title of the movie Naked ...
The F1rst Chapter The Holy Habit
The Second Chapter Vocation 02
The Th1rd Chapter In the Parlour 35
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Land of Spices « The Books of My Numberless Dreams
On completion of The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien I wonder, and still do, what precisely goes into deeming a book a classic. ...
imani.wordpress.com/ 2007/ 06/ 05/ land-of-spices/
BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Book at Bedtime, The Land of Spices ...
The Reverend Mother begins a letter of resignation to the Mere Generale
www.bbc.co.uk/ programmes/ b008fm04
Spectator, The: Double rescue from the cold
Through Anna, Reverend Mother revisits her past, 'the land of spices, ... In prose of incantatory elegance The Land of Spices weaves its subtle ...
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The land of spices /Kate O'Brien ; with a new introduction by ...
Title: The land of spices /Kate O'Brien ; with a new introduction by Clare Boylan. Author: O'Brien, Kate,1897-1974. Publisher: London :Virago,1988, c1941. ...
Literary Encyclopedia: The Land of Spices
The Land of Spices. Kate O'Brien (1941), Add to Bookshelves Biography · Contemporaries · List Works. (6 words) Print. Add to Bookshelves ...
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Kate O'Brien: Information and Much More from Answers.com
The Land of Spices (1941) is an examination of the spiritual development of a dedicated nun, as she recovers her capacity for love. O'Brien's next novel, ...
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glbtq >> literature >> O'Brien, Kate
Several of her novels--including The Ante-Room (1934), Pray for the Wanderer (1938), The Land of Spices (1941), The Last of Summer (1942), and The Flower of ...
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The Land of Spices (autobiographical novel, 1941). Based on her long years as a boarder at Laurel Hill. Set in a fictional equivalent of Limerick. ...
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Born in 1897
Novelist. 3-Dec-1897, 13-Aug-1974, The Land of Spices. Glubb Pasha. Military. 16-Apr-1897, 17-Mar-1986, Commander of the Arab Legion, 1939-56 ...
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Centre for Irish Studies
20 February: Women in Society I – Kate O’Brien The Land of Spices. 27 February: Colonial Remains I – John Montague The Rough Field and Seamus Heaney ...
www.nuigalway.ie/ research/ centre_irish_studies/ ma2.html