Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The question of gendered voice in some contemporary Irish novels by Brian Moore and John McGahern

By Siobhan Jacqueline Holland

Abstract

This thesis questions the use of the 'voice' metaphor in contemporary Irish cultural studies in order to examine \ud the ways in which gendered identities are constructed in some Irish Catholic communities in twentieth-century\ud Ireland. With reference to novels by Brian Moore and\ud John McGahern as well as to Judith Butler's theories of performativity and citational practices, it argues that gendered identities are constructed through the repetitive citation of hegemonic cultural discourses. This thesis\ud focuses on the ways in which gendered identities are produced and maintained through the citation of the official discourses of the Catholic Church and the State as\ud well as the more mundane discourses related to popular nationalism and the family.\ud \ud The first two chapters concentrate on novels whose protagonists are trying to construct powerful identities in urban Irish society through the manipulation of gendered discourses. The discussion of Moore's The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne identifies some of the strategies through which conventional Irish women's voices are constructed \ud and questions the validity of the category of 'authentic' women's voices. In the chapter relating to McGahem's The\ud Pornographer, the powerful, abstract male voice is exposed as a performative construct which is sustained only through the abjection of those elements which disrupt the narrator's performance of masculinity.\ud \ud The remaining chapters concentrate on the use of idealised images such as those of the 'woman-as-nation' and the iconised mother in novels by Moore and McGahem. Moore's The\ud Mangan Inheritance provides the basis for a discussion of whether or not voices attributed to women in texts by Irish men can be read in ways that disrupt the apparent authority of Irish men's voices. This thesis discusses the issues \ud raised when men participate in the deconstruction\ud of idealised images of Irish women. The final chapter examines the processes through which conventional identities are discursively constructed and maintained in two novels by John McGahem: The Dark and Amongst Women. This thesis contends that through the strategic\ud redeployment of those voices attributed to idealised images of Irish women, voices which are conventionally regarded \ud as silent, patriarchal gendered identities can be destabilised or displaced

Publisher: School of English (Leeds)
Year: 1997
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:219

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1975). [Review of 71e Leavetaking] 'Exiles: New Fiction',
  2. (1992). 7he Abortion Papers (Dublin: Attic Press,
  3. (1991). A Conversation with John McGahern', doi
  4. (1992). Aidan Higgins: An Introduction to the New Irish Fiction' (unpublished doctoral thesis,
  5. (1990). Brian Moore: A Critical Study (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan,
  6. (1987). Cronin for Brian Moore for the Degree of Doctor of Literature in the Faculty of Arts, Queens'
  7. (1988). Displacement in the Fiction of Brian Moore',
  8. (1993). Eye: the Fiction ofJohn McGahern (Washington, D. C.: The Catholic doi
  9. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (London; doi
  10. (1976). How to do Things with Words: The William James Lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1955, ed. by J. 0. Urmson and Marina SbisA, 2nd edn (Oxford:
  11. (1994). In a Time of Violence (Manchester, rate 10ums (444tl4tsfy -cocutt ObjectLessons (London: Vintage,
  12. (1986). In Our Time (New York: First Scribner Classic / Collier Books Edition,
  13. (1990). John McGahern'
  14. (1979). John McGahern's Nightlines: Tone, Technique and Symbolism'
  15. (1995). Lady Gregory: Selected Writings ed. Lucy McDiarmid and Maureen Waters (Penguin: Harmondsworth,
  16. (1995). Language, Gender and Power An Anthropological Review',
  17. (1980). Neglected Grammatical Features in Conversational English',
  18. (1988). Outward and Visible Signs: Dressing and Stripping in the Novels of Brian Moore',
  19. (1983). Remembered Light: Constants in the Fiction of John McGahern', Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses,
  20. (1980). Review of The Pornographer',
  21. (1982). Selected Poems, (Mountrath, Portlaoise: Dolmen,
  22. (1987). Structure and 7beme in John McGahem's The Pornographer',
  23. (1965). The Barracks (London: Faber and Faber, 1963; 1983) 7be Dark (London: Faber and Faber,
  24. (1981). The Historian and the Pornographer, ' Canadian Journal q 'John McGahern: doi
  25. (1955). The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (London: Andr6 Deutsch,
  26. (1971). The Novels of Brian Moore',
  27. (1986). The Portable Kristeva ed. by Kelly Oliver, trans. by Margaret Waller, doi
  28. (1988). The Temptation of Brian Moore',
  29. (1996). Transformations in Irish Culture (Cork: Cork University Press in assoc. with Field Day, doi
  30. (1992). Variation and Gender',
  31. (1991). Versions of Exile: A Reading of The Leavetaking', doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.