2:18 PM, 01 Apr 2021 - , Cork University Press

Romantic-Era Irish Women Poets in English by Stephen Behrendt

Romantic-Era Irish Women Poets in English by Stephen Behrendt  PUBLISHED TODAY

Contemporary Irish women poets are widely known and highly regarded on today’s international literary scene – and rightly so. Interest in both mainstream and avant-grade women poets isn’t confined merely to literary scholars, either, but includes those “general readers” anxious to explore these poets’ diverse and eloquent voices and their unique perspectives on Irish women’s individual and collective experience. 

But what about their early foremothers, poets who were publishing actively some two-plus centuries ago, in the heady age of Romanticism and a rekindling of Irish nationalism. While some names – like Mary Tighe and Mary Leadbeater – remain well known, most have been largely lost, even though nearly fifty Irish women poets published in book form between 1775 and 1835. Their poems reveal both their remarkable poetic versatility and their conspicuous activism on diverse political, religious and socio-economic themes, and on subjects ranging from intimate domestic affairs to broadly public scientific, civic and cultural matters. For those who associate Irish women’s poetry with the later nineteenth century and beyond, Stephen Behrendt’s edited and carefully annotated collection is that proverbial eye-opener that reveals a vibrant community of poetic voices engaged in a lively conversation in print. 



Behrendt, an authority on British Romanticism who is both a poet himself and the George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, has for many years been engaged in the recovery and reassessment of historically marginalized Romantic-era women poets and has published widely on them. While working on his acclaimed 2009 book, British Women Poets and the Romantic Writing Community, Behrendt was struck by the absence of commentary or even historical records concerning all but a few Irish women poets and he undertook to set the historical and literary-critical record straight. The present book, just published by Cork University Press, presents a generous selection of these poets’ works, including numerous longer poems, that have in most cases gone virtually unseen for some two centuries. The poems are carefully annotated and introduced in accessible fashion, together with an equally accessible general introduction that sets the poems and their authors within a variety of historical, cultural and poetic contexts. 

The poets whose works appear in Romantic-Era Irish Women Poets in English never entirely “disappeared,” in reality:  they were always “right there,” along with their works, hidden in plain sight. How and why they came to be “hidden,” “overlooked” or “marginalized” is part of the larger story of women, art, history and culture that remains central to the writing of Irish women and their communities still today – a story whose irreversible evolution continues in the voices of the descendants of those extraordinary Romantic-era Irish women poets. This timely new collection helps us to rediscover and revisit what has seemed to have been lost but what has really only been just beyond our sight.

April 2021| 9781782054474 | €39 £35| Hardback | 234 x 156mm | 614 pages   

There is a 20% discount to UCC staff and free postage to UCC addresses that the UCC post room delivers to.


You can order at: www.corkuniversitypress.com

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