Cathleen ni Houlihan

Gender Politics and Irish Nationalism in Cathleen Ni Houlihan College

“I am writing a woman out of legend. I am thinking how new it is – this story. How hard it will be to tell” (Eavan Boland). Much of twentieth-century Irish literature engages in issues relating to gender. Although stereotypical representations of men and women were often core to many narratives, some authors chose to abandon the gender archetypes to which they were culturally confined. In their co-authored play Cathleen Ni Houlihan, authors Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats present their audience with contrast gender ideologies throughout their respective contributions to the text. While the play in its entirety is political and is therefore a critical piece of Irish nationalism within the genre of Irish literature, diverging political statements are made within.

Within her critical text Ascendancy Nationalism, Feminist Nationalism, and Stagecraft in Lady Gregory's Revision of Kincora, professor Maureen Hawkins highlights the inferiority complex among gender roles and their relation to Irish nationalism. She notes that although many women “played prominent roles in the political and cultural nationalist movements, they and their efforts were marginalized and sometimes suppressed” (Hawkins, 95). Similarly, within English...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1405 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10258 literature essays, 2604 sample college application essays, 500 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in