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Title: The women who leave : Irish women writing on emigration
Author: Nichols, K. Madolyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 6935
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the relationship between fin-de-siècle anti-emigration propaganda and fiction written by upper middle-class Irish women. Specifically, it examines the ways in which Catholic authors used the medium of fiction to propound an anti-emigration message analogous to that found in Catholic and nationalist press. Often at stake in their work is the degree to which the peasant female emigrant is to blame for the act of emigration, and the degree of agency she possesses in relation to the events or conditions that lead to this event. Class is a dominant determinant of agency in the depiction of the emigrants’ actions and decisions, as peasant and gentry emigrants are treated differently; the authors’ own class is also key in determining the stance they take on these decisions. In all of these treatments, the common themes throughout the study are the construction of Ireland as ‘Holy Ireland’, a haven of moral safety and spiritual regeneration, the ways in which the difference in authors’ political intent affects their treatment of the emigrant female, and the degree of realism with which the protagonist and her context are addressed. The authors under discussion, Mary Butler, Katharine Tynan, Rosa Mulholland, and Geraldine Cummins, though well-known in their time, have been almost completely forgotten, along with their literary and cultural contribution to Ireland’s history. Aside from contemporary criticism and reviews of their work, relatively little information exists about the authors under discussion. Consequently, this study seeks to initiate a conversation about the authors and the way their adaptation of Catholic nationalist discourse participated in emigration debates. This thesis is the first full-length study to examine the works of authors who adapted literary themes in order to create a discourse that actively discouraged young women from leaving Ireland during a period of female-dominated emigration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; British Association for Irish Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature