“Pilar Villar-Argáiz’s sustained, meticulous, and exacting study of Eavan Boland opens up and articulates in a fresh way the key dimensions of her poetry. It succeeds not only in tracking the far-reaching ramifications of Eavan Boland’s politicized aesthetic as a postcolonial writer but in urging us to revisit the crystalline and precisely etched poems of one of the most significant artists in contemporary Irish culture.”
Professor Anne Fogarty, University College, Dublin (from the Introduction)
This monograph is an original and important contribution to the growing body of critical studies devoted to one of Ireland’s major living poets: Eavan Boland (see Haberstroh 1996; Hagen & Zelman 2005). It details the controversies that were prompted by the inclusion of Ireland in a postcolonial framework and then tests the application of an array of cogent theories and concepts to Boland’s work. In an attempt to explore the richness and complexity of her poetry, Villar- Argáiz discusses the contradictory pulls in her desire to surpass, and yet at the same time epitomize, Irish nationality. Boland’s remarkable achievement as a poet lies in her ability to stretch, by constant negotiations and re-appropriations, the borderlines of inherited definitions of nationality and femininity.
Chapters include: Re-examining the postcolonial: Gender and Irish studies, Towards an understanding of Boland’s poetry as minority/ postcolonial discourse, A post-nationalist or a post-colonial writer?: Boland’s revisionary stance on Mother Ireland, To a “third” space: Boland’s imposed exile as a young child, The subaltern in Boland’s poetry, Boland’s mature exile in the US: An ‘Orientalist’ writer? and Conclusion.
Review: “This rigorous and informative exploration of the poetry of Eavan Boland by Pilar Villar-Argáiz proves the validity of drawing upon the resources of postcolonial theory to illuminate her work. Through the lens of postcolonialism, the deep-seated preoccupations and complex imaginative foundations of Boland’s writing are carefully excavated and interpreted. Villar-Argáiz, moreover, in her observant close readings of poems from different phases of the author’s oeuvre reveals how recurrent issues such as the problem of national and cultural identity, the ethical responsibility of engaging with the past, and the quest for fluidity and openness are variously engaged with, both aesthetically and philosophically. Villar-Argáiz’s sustained, meticulous, and exacting study of Eavan Boland opens up and articulates in a fresh way key dimensions of her poetry. It succeeds not only in tracking the far-reaching ramifications of Eavan Boland’s politicized aesthetic as a postcolonial writer but in urging us to revisit the crystalline and precisely etched poems of one of the most significant artists in contemporary Irish culture.” – Professor Anne Fogarty, Department of English, University College Dublin, Ireland
About the Author: Dr. Pilar Villar-Argáiz lectures in the Department of English Philology at the University of Granada, Spain, where she obtained a European Doctorate in English Studies (Irish Literature). She is the author of Eavan Boland’s Evolution As an Irish Woman Poet: An Outsider within an Outsider’s Culture (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007). She has also published extensively on the representation of femininity in contemporary Irish women’s poetry, on cinematic representations of Ireland, and on the theoretical background and application of feminism and postcolonialism to the study of Irish literature. In addition, Dr. Villar Argáiz has co-edited two books on English literature.
Irish Research Series, No.51
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