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En-Gendering the Nation: Gender-bending and Nationalism in Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career and Emily Lawless’ Grania: the Story of an Island

conference contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Frances Devlin-Glass
Writing in the lee of first-wave feminism and in an era of nation-invention, the Irish ascendancy novelist, Emily Lawless, and the aggressively Australian Miles Franklin (of Irish, English and German extraction and coming from families who were pastoralists) wrote novels of adolescence, Grania: The Story of an Island (1892) and My Brilliant Career (1901) respectively. Similar and different in many ways, they both write as women, and self-consciously insert themselves into nation-inscribing projects with an eye to overseas readerships, and they play fast and loose with class. Curiously, both contributed to the process of transforming ‘nowhere-places’ into iconic nationalist places: Franklin put the Monaro on the map (a region that was a nationalist icon before the ‘Red Centre’ usurped its place); and Lawless wrote in ethnographic ways about the Aran Islanders more than a decade before Synge tramped westward in search of the ‘Peasant Quality’ so beloved of the Abbey playwrights and audiences. Most compellingly, they write of the near-pathologies of masculinities within nationalist agendas, and of marriage and sexuality. This paper examines the novels comparatively and contrastively and asks uncomfortable questions about why and how their interventions were untimely.

History

Event

Australasian Irish Studies. Conference (18th : 2011 : Canberra, A.C.T.)

Pagination

1 - 9

Publisher

Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand

Location

Canberra, A.C.T.

Place of publication

[Canberra, A.C.T.]

Start date

2011-07-01

End date

2011-07-03

Language

eng

Publication classification

E2.1 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

Copyright notice

2011, Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand

Title of proceedings

ISAANZ 2011 : Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Irish Studies conference

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