Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender from Early Ireland

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Overview

"This book disperses the shadows in an obscure but important landscape. Lisa Bitel addresses both the history of women in early Ireland and the history of myth, legend, and superstition which surrounded them. It is a powerful and exact book and an invaluable addition to our expanding sense of Ireland through the eyes of Irish women."—Eavan Boland, author of In a Time of Violence: Poems"It is refreshing to read in a book by a woman on medieval women that not all clerics hated women and that not all men were oversexed villains consciously bent on exploiting women. [Bitel] challenges not only the medieval Irish male construct of female behavior, but she is also courageous enough to question constructs of medieval women invented by modern Irish medieval historians."—Times Higher Education Supplement
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is refreshing to read in a book by a woman on medieval women that not all clerics hated women and that not all men were oversexed villains consciously bent on exploiting women. Bitel challenges not only the medieval Irish male construct of female behavior, but she is also courageous enough to question constructs of medieval women invented by modern Irish medieval historians."—Times Higher Education Supplement

"Lisa M. Bitel's extraordinary excavation of pre-modern women's lives . . . is useful and fascinating. . . . Male-authored medieval texts provide access to prevailing gender ideologies and at the same time reflect anxieties about how these ideologies were threatened by the productive reality of women's lives. . . . As Bitel shows in her beautifully written account, early Ireland witnessed a wide range and flexibility in gender relations."—Nancy J. Curtin, Lingua Franca

"This book disperses the shadows in an obscure but important landscape. Lisa Bitel addresses both the history of women in early Ireland and the history of myth, legend, and superstition which surrounded them. It is a powerful and exact book and an invaluable addition to our expanding sense of Ireland through the eyes of Irish women."—Eavan Boland, author of In a Time of Violence: Poems

"An overview of this kind is not an easy undertaking. . . If by provoking the specialists Bitel gives an impulse to the indispensible groundwork, she fully deserves our gratitude."—Doris Edel, Utrecht University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801485442
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Abbreviations
1 The Texts and the Tellers of Women's Tales 1
2 The Wisdom on Women 18
3 The Canon of Coupling 39
4 Procreation Tales 66
5 Mothers, Mothering, and Motherhood 84
6 The Domestic Economy 111
7 The Land of Women 138
8 Priests' Wives and Brides of Christ 167
9 Warriors, Hags, and Sheelanagigs 204
Notes 235
Selected Bibliography 287
Index 305
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