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Shaw and FeminismsOn Stage and Off$
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D. A. Hadfield and Jean Reynolds

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813042435

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813042435.001.0001

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The Politics of Shaw's Irish Women in John Bull's Other Island

The Politics of Shaw's Irish Women in John Bull's Other Island

Chapter:
(p.73) 4 The Politics of Shaw's Irish Women in John Bull's Other Island
Source:
Shaw and Feminisms
Author(s):

Brad Kent

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813042435.003.0004

Contemporary theory has frequently noted the imbrications of nationalism and feminism. It is surprising, then, that there has been virtually no feminist scholarship on the play in which Shaw makes this argument about identity politics the most overtly, John Bull's Other Island. Brad Kent situates this play in the genre of the Irish “national tale,” which helped to codify the mythical identity of Ireland as feminine, and argues that Shaw's play responds to this feminized representation of Ireland by offering the female characters, especially Nora, as the archetypal Irish feminine. Cast in this role, the women play out Shaw's own ambiguous relationship with his native country, offering both a cautionary allegory of Anglo-Irish relations as well as a transformative potential for Ireland's past and future.

Keywords:   Bernard Shaw, John Bull's Other Island, Theater, Drama, Ireland, Identity, nationalism, feminism

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