Absent Voices: Modern Women Writers in Celtic Countries

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Literature Compass


Although Modern Studies has increasingly focused on international writers, little attention has been paid to the women writers of Celtic countries. This represents an absence of important and distinctive modern voices. More important, to study their work is to discover new, experimental, technically revolutionary, and culturally challenging responses to a changed world: in what has been called “the Celtic Fringe” of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, a treasure trove of new work by women is now appearing. Especially in Scotland, an “efflorescence of Scots as a poetic medium” is now taking place. Yet early frameworks for defining modernism, which have remained, do not account for modern work developed in different cultural traditions and in the different languages of the United Kingdom. Thus we need to re‐examine the difficult, problematic language issues that shaped work by modern women writers in three distinct cultures within the UK. To sustain traditional modernist notions of aesthetic value is to miss the alternative values, sources, and linguistic intensities of modern and contemporary women writers from Celtic countries.


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