Subvert Sculpture, the Old Mode: Representing Women in Eavan Boland’s In Her Own Image

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Dr. Salil Varma R


The paper examines the representation of women in In Her Own Image (1980), one of the early collections of Eavan Boland, often considered to be the most prominent woman poet to have emerged from the twentieth Irish literary scenario. In a series of poems, as the title and the titular poem indicate, Boland raises relevant questions that challenge the female stereotypes constructed by gender dominant discourses that have at all points in history, determined the representation of women. The gross falsifications that were in currency under the guise of determinism and biological inferiority based on defining difference as having hierarchical implications which came to be critiqued through different stages of feminism, continue to find literary expression in Boland’s poetry.  A profound sense of history informs Boland’s poetry; there is an urgency in her poems that demand a critical engagement with the past and the present that becomes the past. Unreflecting acceptance of received images of femininity is anathema to her poetry and it is here that one finds the key to the force and meaning of her poems.

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