The Power of Words: Female Speech as a Narrative Force in Irish Tales across Centuries
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationLehmann-Shriver, Edyta Anna. 2012. The Power of Words: Female Speech as a Narrative Force in Irish Tales across Centuries. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis study is devoted to five Irish language texts composed in the period between 9th and 21st centuries: four prose tales, an Old Irish tale Loinges Mac nUislenn (The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu (before 10th c.)), two Middle Irish texts Toruigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghrainne (The Pursuit of Diarmaid and Grainne (c. 12thc.)) and Tochmarc Etaine (The Wooing of Etain), an 18th century Romance of Mis and Dubh Ruis, and a narrative poem Mis published by the contemporary Irish poet Biddy Jekinson in 2001. It examines the heroines of these texts, Derdrui, Grainne, Etain, and Mis, focusing particularly on their roles in the development of their respective narratives and their influence on the overall message of their texts. The texts share a strong connection in that they all, in a more or less direct way, touch upon the female experience reflected in their leading female characters, yet none of them, except for Jenkinson's poem, focuses expressly on representing female characters. Instead the texts use these characters as a means for the elaboration of male characters, reinforcing at the same time the contemporaneous patriarchal viewpoint, thus creating the ideological scheme of the text. Jenkinson's Mis reveals the underlying narrative force of these traditional female characters. It uses a traditional tale to create a new narrative which is re-centered on its female character, thus narrativizing its inherent strength. Beneath their explicitly assigned roles, the female characters in question serve as powerful narrative agents. Their impact transforms the overt ideologies of their respective narratives so that they diverge from the traditional role of the conveyors of conventional values. The examination of the female characters concentrates particularly on the effect their speech has on the development of the narrative. Although modestly represented in the discussed texts, the female words nevertheless subvert the explicit ideologies of their text by the introduction of skepticism as to the objective values suggested by the texts, thus allowing for a conversation with the prevalent discourses and in the end for the consideration of alternative discourses. The dissertation employs Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of dialogism and heteroglossia, as well as his examination of the Bildungsrom, which allows for the theoretization of the connection between the texts, as well as for their re-interpretation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10344736
- FAS Theses and Dissertations