Cliona O Gallchoir lectures in English at University College Cork and has published articles on Maria Edgeworth and aspects of Irish writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She also edited two volumes in the Pickering & Chatto Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth.
This innovative book reassess the place of Maria Edgeworth within the Irish literary canon by illuminating the connections between her views on gender and her construction of Ireland, beginning in the revolutionary decade of the 1790s and ending in the aftermath of Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform. O Gallchoir addresses the full scope of Edgeworth's writing, creating a context within which Edgeworth's Irish novels can be read alongside tales and novels set in England and France: undervalued texts are recovered and better-known ones are shown in a new light. Edgeworth's commitment to the values of the Enlightenment is explored in the context of her indebtedness to the work of French women writers and her sophisticated awareness of the precarious position of the woman writer in society.
Enlightenment, Gender and the Nation
Women, Writing and the Irish Public Sphere after the Union
- Irish Identity in Castle Rackrent and An Essay on Irish Bulls
Revolution and Memory in Madame de Fleury, Emilie de Coulanges and Ennui
German and Irish heroes in Patronage and The Absentee
The Language of an Irish Gentleman in Ormond
. 'Apres nous le deluge'
- The Woman Writer in the Age of O'Connell
- 'Big House Novelist' or 'Irish Woman Writer'? Notes
"This is not a jolly romp through the works of Miss Edgeworth but an adversarial speech for the prosecution of those who eliminated the ‘cultural centrality' of women writers of the nineteenth century."
"There is only one conundrum - would it be better to read O Gallchoir before or after embarking on a feast of Edgeworth? The only Enlightened answer is a question - why not both?"
Books Ireland, Dec 2005
"A highly political writer, she turns her domestic settings into public spaces, making previously marginal voices heard ... Edgeworth helped to create a space for Ireland and for women. Her work is still relevant and still worth reading, as O Gallchoir's reassessment of her demonstrates."
Irish Democrat 2006
"Cliona O Gallchoir offers an ingenious hybridity, of Ireland and pre- and post-Revolutionary France, and elite with popular cultural forms. If Edgeworth is an ‘Irish' writer, she is so in ways that favour the importation into her work of French fashion, femininity and language. The effect, it is claimed, is to challenge a nation-building based on the exclusion of women from the public sphere."
Times Literary Supplement Feb 2006
"O Gallchoir's book is a welcome addition to the literature, particularly in forwarding the possibilities of using the Enlightenment as a conceptual tool in thinking about Ireland in the period ... in offering a reading of Edgeworth as a landed Whig, she is surely on the right track."
Michael Brown, Trinity College Irish Literary Supplement Fall 2006
"Cliona O Gallchoir's Maria Edgeworth: Women, Enlightenment and Nation is a welcome and timely reappraisal of a complex and neglected author's contribution to Irish literature. Informed by an awareness of the particularly precarious position of the Irish woman writer, Gallchoir rereads Edgeworth's construction of Irishness within the discourses of Enlightenment and gender ... [it] should resurrect wide academic interest in a strain of complex and undervalued Irish women's fiction."
Irish Studies Review 15 (1) 2007