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Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland$
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Marie-Louise Coolahan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567652.001.0001

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Irish Nuns' Writing: The Poor Clares

Irish Nuns' Writing: The Poor Clares

(p.63) 2 Irish Nuns' Writing: The Poor Clares
Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland

Marie‐Louise Coolahan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the literary activities of Irish nuns; specifically, the Poor Clare community. These nuns produced translations into Irish of their order's Rule, which prescribed the forms and rituals of monastic life. The chapter argues that these translations, produced in partnership with eminent male scholars, constitute a collaborative form of authorship. Their securing of vernacular translations accorded with the continental picture of nuns' writing, but it also participated in the Counter Reformation politicization of Irish as a dimension of resistance to the English crown. The chronicle of the order, authored by its exiled former abbess in Spain, is then located in the context of European nuns' chronicle‐writing and the confederate histories of male contemporaries. The analysis argues that this chronicle functions on three levels: to assert community identity; to articulate royalist catholic Irish identity; and to testify to the experiences of Irish nuns in exile.

Keywords:   nuns, Poor Clares, counter reformation, translation, chronicle, confederate history, collaborative authorship

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