Women's Literature and Diaspora
(University of Limerick)
quite recently, Irish migrant literature has tended to be an
‘absent presence’ within the field of Irish Studies, and
is only now beginning to be constituted as a vitally
important field of enquiry in the field.
In the contemporary period, the fixed points on the
map of Irish emigration have been disrupted by what Negra
calls ‘transnationalised Irishness’: as certainties
about emigration and Irish identities have undergone a
series of transformations.
However, the literature of 19th and 20th
century Irish women writers reveals that such ‘fixed
points’ were never there to begin with.
Writers such as, for instance, ‘George Egerton’
[Mary Chavelita Dunne], Maeve Brennan, and Anne Enright
tend to construct migrant experience as a way of being in
the world rather than a journey between two fixed points,
which anticipates the kind of ‘nomadic subjectivity’
described by Braidotti.
paper will suggest that reading Irish women’s migrant
literature unsettles categories of national and diasporic
identity, as their central protagonists construct themselves
within a complex nexus of Irish, European, and colonial