Gender and Modern Irish Drama argues that the representations of sacrificial violence central to the work of the Abbey playwrights are intimately linked with constructions of gender and sexuality. Susan Cannon Harris goes beyond an examination of the relationship between Irish national drama and Irish nationalist politics to the larger question of the way national identity and gender identity are constructed through each other. Radically redefining the context in which the Abbey plays were performed, Harris documents the material and discursive forces that produced Irish conceptions of gender. She looks at cultural constructions of the human body and their influence on nationalist rhetoric, linking the production and reception of the plays to conversations about public health, popular culture, economic policy, and racial identity that were taking place inside and outside the nationalist community. The book is both a crucial intervention in Irish studies and an important contribution to the ongoing feminist project of theorizing the production of gender and the body.
Preliminary Table of Contents:
Introduction: Bodies and Blood
1. Body and Soul: Yeats, the Famine, and the Cathleens
2. Under Siege: Blood, Borders, and the Body Politic
3. Excess of Love: Padraig Perse and the Erotics of Sacrifice
4. The Body of Truth: Sensationalism and Sacrifice in Sean O'Casey's Dublin Tragedy
5. Misbirth of a Nation: Yeats and the Irish Free State