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Title: Selective traditions : feminism and the poetry of Colette Bryce, Leontia Flynn and Sinead Morrissey
Author: Pryce, Alexandra Rhoanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 1441
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis seeks to argue for the problematising role of tradition and generational influence in the work of three Northern Irish poets publishing since the late 1990s. The subjects, Colette Bryce (b. 1970), Leontia Flynn (b. 1974) and Sinéad Morrissey (b. 1972), emerged coterminously, each publishing with major UK publishers. Together they represent a generation of assured female poetic voices. This study presents one of the first critical considerations of the work of these poets, and it remains conscious of the dominance of conceptions of tradition and lineage which are notable in poetry from Northern Ireland from the twentieth-century onwards. In suggesting that this tradition is problematised for emerging women poets by precursor-peer dominance and the primacy of male perspectives in the tradition, this thesis combines a study of poetics, themes relating to gender, detachment and paratexts. From consideration of these elements, it proposes that contemporary poets are not necessarily subject to the powers of tradition and influence, but rather, are capable of a selective approach that in turn demonstrates the malleability of contemporary traditions. The approaches are laid out in four chapters which move from a consideration of “threshold” paratexts (following from the work of Gérard Genette), including book reviews and dedications, through studies of thematic divergence and detachment, the changing status of women’s poetry traditions within Northern Ireland and beyond, the significance of gendered subjects in poetry, and influence found not in thematic or paratextual aspects, but in the individual aspects of poetic form. These aspects combine to form poems and the tradition(s) in which they continue. The thesis provides extensive coverage of the work of Bryce, Flynn, and Morrissey, combining close readings with the application of theoretical frameworks interrogating the implications of literary traditions on later writers (especially when the writers are temporally and culturally close), giving particular consideration to gender and feminist politics. It explores a variety of different critical truisms applied to the poetic generations that precede the younger poets and identifies both compliance and divergences from the contemporary Northern Irish canon. In doing so, this study simultaneously illuminates the frailties of the popular, overwhelmingly male, tradition, particularly as regards to representations of women, and provides direction for studies of post-millennial Northern Irish poetry.
Supervisor: O'Donoghue, Bernard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; Poetry ; Northern Irish literature ; Contemporary poetry ; women's writing ; tradition and influence studies ; Irish studies ; Colette Bryce ; Sinead Morrissey ; Leontia Flynn ; Irish poetry ; Ulster poetry