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“Silence or Cell?”: Women Writing in Armagh, Maghaberry, and Durham

  • Lachlan Whalen
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Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)

Abstract

If literary critics have been slow to address the writings of male prisoners, they are doubly so with regard to the writings of women imprisoned for political reasons. In the case of Ireland, this critical silence in part originates in the paucity of readily available texts by Republican POWs in general and by Republican women in particular. Of the few books written by female ex-prisoners, only two achieved anything approaching wide circulation: Sisters in Cells by Áine and Eibhlín Níc Giolla Deacair, and Tell Them Everything by Margaretta D’Arcy. Unfortunately, these works fall outside the purview of this study for a number of reasons, first and foremost that both are memoirs written taoibh amuigh after release. To reiterate the argument I put forth in the introduction, in this exclusion I do not mean to suggest that writings produced faoi ghlas are somehow more “authentic” than memoirs produced after the fact. Rather, I am concerned more with ascertaining the manner and extent to which the space of incarceration shapes the literary production that takes place within it. Distance, time, and greater freedom to write and revise often obscure the traces of incarceration present in both subject and form, particularly in works such as the téacs pluide (Blanket text) discussed in detail in the preceding chapter.

Keywords

British Government Male Prisoner Prison Official Hunger Strike Prison Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Chapter Four “Silence Or Cell?”: Women Writing in Armagh, Maghaberry, and Durham

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© Lachlan Whalen 2007

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  • Lachlan Whalen

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