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Female homosociality in L. T. Meade’s schoolgirl novels
Whitney Standlee

Through her promotion of homosocial bonding between females in her schoolgirl novels, L. T. Meade offers a compelling counter-narrative to the rhetoric surrounding denominational schooling that served to divide girls in Ireland in the late nineteenth century. This chapter highlights Meade’s advocacy not only of women’s education but also of equal access to and treatment within education. By promoting homosocial bonds between females and critiquing and punishing dissension, she also posits female solidarity as the most advantageous expedient to a productive and fulfilled life. In doing so, she writes not of lone females who are anomalies in society but of groups of women who are the prospective agents for change.

in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922
Advancing the cause of liberty

Irish women writers entered the international publishing scene in unprecedented numbers in the period between 1878 and 1922. This collection of new essays explores how Irish women, officially disenfranchised through much of that era, felt inclined and at liberty to exercise their political influence through the unofficial channels of their literary output. By challenging existing and often narrowly-defined conceptions of what constitutes ‘politics’, the chapters investigate Irish women writers’ responses to, expressions of, and dialogue with a contemporary political landscape that included not only the debates surrounding nationalism and unionism, but also those concerning education, cosmopolitanism, language, Empire, economics, philanthropy, socialism, the marriage ‘market’, the publishing industry, the commercial market, and employment. The volume demonstrates how women from a variety of religious, social, and regional backgrounds – including Emily Lawless, L. T. Meade, Katharine Tynan, Lady Gregory, Rosa Mulholland, and the Ulster writers Ella Young, Beatrice Grimshaw, and F. E. Crichton – used their work to advance their own private and public political concerns through astute manoeuvrings both in the expanding publishing industry and against the partisan expectations of an ever-growing readership. Close readings of individual texts are framed by new archival research and detailed historical contextualisation. Offering fresh critical perspectives by internationally-renowned scholars including Lauren Arrington, Heidi Hansson, Margaret Kelleher, Patrick Maume, James H. Murphy, and Eve Patten, Irish Women’s Writing, 1878-1922: Advancing the Cause of Liberty is an innovative and essential contribution to the study of Irish literature as well as women’s writing at the turn of the twentieth century.

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Anna Pilz
and
Whitney Standlee
in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922