Monday, 19 September 2016

Irish Masculinity in Crisis - new publication

I am very pleased to have a chapter on Irish masculinities in crisis in a newly published book edited by Catherine Rees of Loughborough University. The book is entitled Masculinity in Crisis: Depictions of Modern Male Trauma in Ireland, and is published by Carysfort Press.  

This book provides fresh insight into diverse representations of Irish masculinity.  As Catherine explains in her summary of the book's focus: 

"The purpose of this book is to locate this sense of crisis within Irish contexts, fill a current gap in academic discourse surrounding literary, theatrical and cinematic depictions of Irish masculinity, and discuss how fictional representations of masculinity and maleness in contemporary Ireland have addressed, explored and discussed images of men in states of anxiety, crisis and chaos."  

The title of my chapter  is ‘"Still a Respected Man": Irish Masculinity in Crisis and Crime Fiction’.  Exploring the implications of a quotation from Stuart Neville's novel The Twelve, 'still a respected man', my chapter examines the meanings of 'respect', agency and masculinity in Irish crime fiction. As the basis for my analysis, I discuss two specific contemporary Irish crime novels in my chapter, namely Ken Bruen's Priest and Neville Thompson's Mama's Boys.  Both these phenomenal novels offer complex, brilliantly depicted portrayals of Irish masculinities and settings that stay vivid in the reader's mind long after they've closed the books.

The work for this was so interesting for me to undertake, as it gave me the opportunity to reflect further on the depiction of masculinity in crisis in crime fiction, a topic I have been preoccupied with for some time.  In 2013 I published an article on masculinity  in crime fiction, in Clues: A Journal of Detection . The article examined John Harvey's novel Easy Meat, and is called: "'There's Nothing People Won't Do to One Another, if the Circumstances Are Right’:  Male Rape and the Politics of Representation in John Harvey’s Police Procedural Easy Meat". Turning my attention to Irish crime fiction, I found a fascinating array of complicated male characters reflecting and/or embodying the contemporary Irish society in which they are situated.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Women Versed in Myth - new publication

I am very pleased to announce the publication of the book Women Versed in Myth: Essays on Modern Women Poets, edited by Colleen S. Harris-Keith and Valerie Estelle Frankel, and published by McFarland. The volume examines women's poetic responses to myth from scholarly, creative and teaching perspectives.  I have a chapter in the book, entitled "Reimagining Myth and the Maternal with Ruth Fainlight, Margaret Atwood and Katie Donovan". 

I was particularly happy to have the opportunity to research and write on three female poets whose work I very much admire:  the Canadian poet and author Margaret Atwood, the British/American poet Ruth Fainlight, and the Irish poet Katie Donovan.  They are very different poets, yet all three offer rich and complicated treatments of mythology in their work, and my chapter proposes ways of reading these multi-faceted representations from feminist and maternal perspectives.

I have a long-standing interest in women's poetry which I have also published on previously.  My chapter in Women Versed in Myth examines the myriad ways in which women have creatively reimagined mythology and reclaimed female figures in order to explore hitherto marginalised or ignored dimensions of women's experience and to energise poetic language and form.  The chapter furthermore contains a section on maternal perspectives and uses of mythic mother figures in Fainlight, Atwood and Donovan.  In her introduction to the volume, Valerie Frankel states that in my chapter, I examine "reimaginings through the European tradition, as Ruth Fainlight recreates the sibyl as writer and katie Donovan tackles gender politics for the Irish Queen Medb and violated goddess Macha."