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'Only not beyond love': testimony, subalternity, and the famine in the poetry of Eavan Boland

Stef Craps UGent (2010) NEOPHILOLOGUS. 94(1). p.165-176
abstract
The poetry of Eavan Boland, Ireland's leading woman poet, is marked by an acute awareness of the problems attendant on the recovery of the experience of subaltern or oppressed women. Rather than usurping the place of the other and presuming to speak for her, Boland's work stages the poet's attempt to gain access to the experience of the other and ponders the difficulties and contradictions involved in this endeavour. It does not so much perform an act of ventriloquism-it does not make the subaltern speak, to invoke Gayatri Spivak's notorious question-as interrogate her silencing and bear witness to an experience that remains fundamentally irrecoverable. Through an analysis of a number of poems which commemorate the victims of the Famine ("The Achill Woman,'' "Outside History,'' "The Journey,'' and "Fever''), I argue that at the heart of Boland's testimonial project is an ethics of love-love, not as self-serving benevolence, narcissism, or fusion, but as a non-appropriative encounter with the other which calls the self into question. This ethical love manifests itself not in the poet's recovery of the voices of subaltern women, but in her invention of a mode of writing that bears witness to its own incapacity of recovering what lies outside history.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
Subalternity, Testimony, Poetry, Eavan Boland, Famine, Love
journal title
NEOPHILOLOGUS
Neophilologus
volume
94
issue
1
pages
165 - 176
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000276140200013
ISSN
0028-2677
DOI
10.1007/s11061-009-9172-x
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
908378
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-908378
date created
2010-03-18 02:20:36
date last changed
2015-06-17 11:23:57
@article{908378,
  abstract     = {The poetry of Eavan Boland, Ireland's leading woman poet, is marked by an acute awareness of the problems attendant on the recovery of the experience of subaltern or oppressed women. Rather than usurping the place of the other and presuming to speak for her, Boland's work stages the poet's attempt to gain access to the experience of the other and ponders the difficulties and contradictions involved in this endeavour. It does not so much perform an act of ventriloquism-it does not make the subaltern speak, to invoke Gayatri Spivak's notorious question-as interrogate her silencing and bear witness to an experience that remains fundamentally irrecoverable. Through an analysis of a number of poems which commemorate the victims of the Famine ({\textacutedbl}The Achill Woman,'' {\textacutedbl}Outside History,'' {\textacutedbl}The Journey,'' and {\textacutedbl}Fever''), I argue that at the heart of Boland's testimonial project is an ethics of love-love, not as self-serving benevolence, narcissism, or fusion, but as a non-appropriative encounter with the other which calls the self into question. This ethical love manifests itself not in the poet's recovery of the voices of subaltern women, but in her invention of a mode of writing that bears witness to its own incapacity of recovering what lies outside history.},
  author       = {Craps, Stef},
  issn         = {0028-2677},
  journal      = {NEOPHILOLOGUS},
  keyword      = {Subalternity,Testimony,Poetry,Eavan Boland,Famine,Love},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {165--176},
  title        = {'Only not beyond love': testimony, subalternity, and the famine in the poetry of Eavan Boland},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11061-009-9172-x},
  volume       = {94},
  year         = {2010},
}

Chicago
Craps, Stef. 2010. “‘Only Not Beyond Love’: Testimony, Subalternity, and the Famine in the Poetry of Eavan Boland.” Neophilologus 94 (1): 165–176.
APA
Craps, S. (2010). “Only not beyond love”: testimony, subalternity, and the famine in the poetry of Eavan Boland. NEOPHILOLOGUS, 94(1), 165–176.
Vancouver
1.
Craps S. “Only not beyond love”: testimony, subalternity, and the famine in the poetry of Eavan Boland. NEOPHILOLOGUS. 2010;94(1):165–76.
MLA
Craps, Stef. “‘Only Not Beyond Love’: Testimony, Subalternity, and the Famine in the Poetry of Eavan Boland.” NEOPHILOLOGUS 94.1 (2010): 165–176. Print.