'She done Coriolanus at the Convent’: empowerment and entrapment in Teresa Deevy’s In Search of Valour

Maley, W. (2019) 'She done Coriolanus at the Convent’: empowerment and entrapment in Teresa Deevy’s In Search of Valour. Irish University Review, 49(2), pp. 356-369. (doi: 10.3366/iur.2019.0411)

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This essay explores the gender politics of a neglected one-act play by Teresa Deevy, first staged at the Abbey in 1931, that revolves around the young female protagonist’s recollection of a convent production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in which the title role was taken by a young woman. This role model offers inspiration for a character confined as a domestic servant and defiantly seeking an alternative to the stultifying circumstances of life in rural Free State Ireland. While Ellie Irwin resembles other spirited Deevy heroines, the doubling of the young servant with her memory of Charlotta Burke as a non-cross-dressed Coriolanus adds a different dramatic dimension and raises questions of gender performance that the play’s critical reception has not always acknowledged.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Teresa Deevy, Coriolanus, Shakespeare, Abbey Theatre, Ireland, drama, gender.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Maley, Professor Willy
Authors: Maley, W.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Irish University Review
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN (Online):2047-2153
Published Online:15 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Edinburgh University Press
First Published:First published in Irish University Review 49(2):356-369
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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