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Mary Anne Sadlier's emigrant narratives, 1850-1870

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dc.contributor.advisor O'Toole, Tina O'Keeffe, Yvonne Michelle Mary 2014-11-10T16:48:54Z 2014-11-10T16:48:54Z 2013
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This thesis focuses on the life and literary works of Irish author Mary Anne Sadlier (1820-1903), specifically on her representations of the Irish diaspora in her emigrant novels in the nineteenth century. On the eve of the Great Irish Famine she emigrated to North America and so had valuable insight into the complex negotiations that emigrants must undertake in order to settle in their host country. A prolific writer with over sixty works to her credit, Sadlier enjoyed immense popularity as a writer as is reflected in her enormous sales figures. Thus, I would suggest that her writings represent the concerns of that audience. My work reads Sadlier in a specific “Irish” context as she engages in interdisciplinary conversations to do with Irish emigration and acculturation. Sadlier’s literary works encompass many themes not least how she creates and champions an Irish cultural identity for her emigrant readers who found themselves engulfed by a foreign culture and a hostile American reception. I propose that she was instrumental in the creation of a transatlantic Irish Catholic identity. Furthermore, I suggest that Sadlier (trans)formed her opinions and adapted her outlook on life in response to her everchanging world therefore making her a role model for future generations of Irish women emigrants to North America. Within the thesis I suggest that Sadlier is negotiating a subtle resistance to the hegemonic patriarchal culture of the period. By both sanctioning and destabilising the family cell Sadlier is questioning the inherent roles within; she is not afraid to broach what would be considered taboo subjects in the nineteenth century such as alcoholism, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Sadlier’s literary merit lies not only in her didactic aspect, providing a handbook for emigrants whose rupture with the past created a sense of bewilderment and isolation, but also in her sentimental aspect. I argue that Sadlier used the affective power of the Famine to (re)energise emigrants and give them a sense of pride in their homeland. Sadlier’s emigrant novels also exhibit a socio-historical function as they represent the hardships of emigrant life through her fictive characters. What is noteworthy about Sadlier’s emigrant fiction is that it does not simply mirror the historical reality of the mass emigration that occurred from Ireland after the Great Irish Famine as reportage might do; it actively engages in and shapes the discourses surrounding the formation of the emerging Irish-American character at that time. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject Mary Anne Sadlier en_US
dc.subject emigrant en_US
dc.subject writer en_US
dc.subject diaspora en_US
dc.subject Irish women en_US
dc.subject North America en_US
dc.title Mary Anne Sadlier's emigrant narratives, 1850-1870 en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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