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Land of Women

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  36 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
"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 V ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 1998 by Cornell University Press (first published 1996)
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When I buy a book with a big old Síle na Gig* on the cover, I expect to like it. Not so much this time around. It had its good parts, but it also has some big problems. First, there's a problem with the title. It should be "medieval Ireland." Early Ireland, to me at least, implies pre-Medieval.

Secondly, the author did a good amount of research in the Vitae, medieval legal tracts like Cain Adomnain, and some mythology. But oh, what a mistake she made in interpreting the myths. Frankly, she made
There are aspects of this that I would quibble with, and some of her stylistic choices drove me batty (why she insisted on contracting the place name Cluain Mhic Nois to Cluain is a mystery, especially given the predominance of places either called Cluain, or which have 'Cluain' as a prefix), but overall it's really an okay example of scholarship in what is still an emerging field.

I like how she uses literary representations of gender roles to dissect gender ideologies, and how she takes a more
Deb Lavelle
Aug 22, 2007 Deb Lavelle rated it it was amazing
Bitel teaches history at USC. Great scholarship; not for the faint of heart or new-agey types.
Apr 18, 2009 Maya rated it really liked it
Shelves: celtic-culture
In the preface of the book the author tells us the time period she will be covering, which is early medieval Ireland, and the goal of the book, which is to sketch the gender system of the early medieval Irish Society. For her sources the author uses hard data about the land, then looks at poems, mythology, law tracts, and folklore.

The author looks at the size and distribution of Ireland’s population in the early medieval period and the general situation of women described in material terms and
Miriam Joy
This was an interesting read which contradicted some of the other scholarship I've read on the subject and developed some other parts; it gave me millions of world-building ideas for something I'm working on, though. And I think it helps to understand the context of the stories I'm studying.
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