The (De-)Coloniality of Gender in Irish Plays from the Beginning of the Twentieth Century to the Late Thirties

  • Fabio Luppi Università degli Studi Roma Tre


The present paper focuses on Irish drama written and staged before and after independence from the perspective of the binary opposition of traditional gendered representations of colony and colonizer. From A. Gregory and W.B. Yeats’s Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), Synge’s Playboy of the Western World (1907) and O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy (1923-26) to Teresa Deevy's The King of Spain’s Daughter (1935) and Katie Roche (1936), and SeánO'Faolain's She Had to Do Something (1937), the paper underscores how these plays present women who only apparently contradict traditional and externally imposed strictures. In the light of Maria Lugones’ theories on the coloniality of gender – as regards the intersection between gender, race and sexuality – the paper investigates the extent to which Irish playwrights challenged the traditional image of women and the role religion, politics and the examples of other European countries had in helping, or hindering, the construction of gendered representation.