'Betwixt and Between':The Body as Liminal Threshold in the Poetry of Eilean Ni Chuilleanain

Document identifier: oai:dalea.du.se:1032
Keyword: Reading Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, a Contemporary Irish Poet
Publication year: 2006
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The idea of the body as a vital component of existence and an important means for the articulation of experience is the theme of Irene Gilsenan Nordin’s essay, ‘“Betwixt and Between”: The Body as Liminal Threshold in the Poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.’ Drawing upon Merleau-Ponty’s ideas of embodiment, and Kristeva’s concepts of the semiotic and the symbolic, Gilsenan Nordin explores the notion of the body as a liminal threshold in Ní Chuilleanáin’s poetry. The essay explores the interaction between self and world and argues that in challenging unitary conceptions of space and time, Ní Chuilleanáin shows how the body, or ‘flesh,’ to use Merleau-Ponty’s term, acts as a transformational site between thought and language, self and world, the subject and the unnameable other. Gilsenan Nordin argues that Ní Chuilleanáin in her poetry shows that the speaking- subject is an embodied subject, firmly situated at the point where the mind is inseparable from our bodily, physical nature. Thus the poetic voice gives articulation to the interconnectedness between the physical and spiritual dimensions of human existence. In giving expression to the silent forces of desire Ní Chuilleanáin’s work can be seen not least in an ethical sense, as giving voice to the silenced, unspoken voices of bodily experience.


Irene Gilsenan Nordin

Högskolan Dalarna; Engelska
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