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Object Lessons

Eavan Boland

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RRP: GBP 18.95
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ISBN: 978 1 857540 74 1
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: April 1995
225 x 142 x 15 mm
272 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback
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  • I have put this book together, not as a prose narrative is usually constructed, but as a poem might be. In turnings and returnings. In parts which find and repeat themselves and re-state the argument until it loses its reasonable edge and hopefully becomes a sort of cadence.'

    In Object Lessons Eavan Boland meditates on womanhood in the specific places and times of her life. She engages, in a scrupulous and evocative prose, the issues of nationhood as well, clearing a space within an Ireland where to be a woman and a poet has seemed in the past a contradiction in terms. The book functions in her work as Wordsworth's Prelude does in his, though Boland does not allow herself the luxury of rapture: to say no more or less than she means, she focuses on particulars, on 'obstinate details' that contain and represent larger meaning, connection and force. The autobiography here is not of a confessional kind: the facts which connect with other voices, other lives, matter.

    What the London Review of Books called Boland's 'radical but undoctrinaire feminism' informs all the related meditations in Object Lessons, an enabling document of our time. Unease with Modernism, a concern with the erotic in time, and at every point a sense of continuities, mark the book as a portrait of a critical imagination of deep integrity finding a way among history's obstacles, finding itself in and through the lessons of the objects -- particularly artifacts and poems -- that it encounters.
    Born in Dublin in 1944, Eavan Boland studied in Ireland, London and New York. Her first book was published in 1967. She has taught at Trinity College, University College and Bowdoin College Dublin, and at the University of Iowa. She is currently Mabury Knapp Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, ... read more
    Awards won by Eavan Boland Winner, 2017 Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award
    Praise for Eavan Boland '... a rich, unsettling moral adventure in memory and responsibility.'
    Theo Dorgan
     Eavan Boland's A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet contains essays both personal and public written in a tone urgent and wise, with astute observations on her own trajectory as a poet and the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath and Paula Meehan, among others.
    Colm Toibin, The Irish Times, Our Favourite Books of 2011
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