"This is a book of real importance, providing a fresh and original reading of a central theme within Kate O’Brien’s writings."—Eibhear Walshe, author of Kate O’Brien: A Writing Life
"Davison convincingly situates O'Brien within a tradition of feminist dissidence, making a vital contribution to ongoing discussions about the significance of gender and sexuality to Irish national identity."—Katherine Mullin, University of Leeds
"Davison’s agile close readings and innovative perspectives make this study a valuable addition to the growing critical reassessment of O’Brien’s work. The author makes a strong case that O’Brien was not only a ground-breaking Irish novelist but, as she herself wanted to be known, a novelist of the world who was unafraid to take chances and break through feminine stereotypes."—Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies
One of the most important Irish novelists of the twentieth century, Kate O’Brien (1897–1974) was also a pioneer of women’s writing. In a career that spanned almost fifty years, nine novels, nine plays, two travelogues, and copious criticism, O’Brien rebelled against the narrow nationalism and restrictive Catholicism prevalent in independent Ireland. In this highly original approach to O’Brien’s work, Davison traces the influence of three leading Spanish writers—Jacinto Benavente, Miguel de Cervantes, and Teresa of Avila. O’Brien’s lifelong fascination with Spanish literature and culture offered an oblique way of resisting the Catholic and conservative imperatives of the Irish Free State. In a series of close comparative readings, Davison identifies the origin of O’Brien’s creative disinhibition and ultimately situates her within a tradition of dissident Irish women writers.
Jane Davison received her PhD from the University of Liverpool. Her research interests include Irish women’s writing, travel writing, and literary modernism.
6 x 9, 216 pages, 1 black and white illustrations