The Banshees: A Literary History of Irish American Women Writers

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Syracuse University Press, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 289 pages
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Although much has been written about American feminism and its influence on culture and society, very little has been recorded about the key role played by Irish American women writers in exposing women's issues, protecting their rights, and anticipating, in not effecting, change. Like the mythical Irish banshee who delivered forewarnings of imminent death, Irish American women, through their writing, have repeatedly warned of the death of women's rights. These messages carried the greatest potency at times when feminism was under attack due to the politics of civil society, the government, or the church. This book traces the feminist contributions of a wide range of Irish American women writers, from Mother Jones, Kate Chopin, and Margaret Mitchell, to contemporary authors. To illustrate the growth and significance of their writing, the book is organized chronologically by decade. Each chapter details the progress and setbacks of Irish American women during that period by revealing key themes in their novels and memoirs contextualized within a discussion of contemporary feminism, Catholicism, Irish American history, American politics, and society. It also examines these writer's roles in protecting women's sovereignty, rights, and reputations. Thanks to their efforts, feminism is revealed as a fundamental element of Irish American literary history. -- Publisher description.

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About the author (2013)

Sally Barr Ebest is an associate professor of English at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where she is the former director of composition and coordinator of the AT TA workshop and orientation. She is the coauthor or coeditor of five books, including "Writing From A to Z" and "WritingWith: New Directions in Collaborative Teaching, Learning, and Research"

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