The Gothic Art of Edna O'Brien's Mother Ireland


  • Holly Moore Trinity College Dublin


Edna O'Brien, Irish Literature, 20th Century Literature, Irish Cultural History, Gothic Novels, Mother Ireland, Travelogue, Gender & Sexuality


This essay examines the accordance to and subversion of the Gothic novel genre by Edna O’Brien’s Mother Ireland as a means of understanding the author’s motivations for leaving Ireland, while having the country remain as subject matter to much of her literature. I argue that while the text exposes Ireland’s 1950s social forces of church and patriarchy as pernicious and necessitating of exile, her memories of these forces – most accessible and potent while abroad – ultimately become valuable to her on account of their continuous role in artistic inspiration and ferment.



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