Kickham, Lisbet 1945–

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Kickham, Lisbet 1945–


Born March 26, 1945, in Malmo, Sweden. Education: Lund University, Ph.D.


Home— Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland. E-mail— [email protected].




Protestant Women Novelists and Irish Society, 1879-1922, Lund University, Department of English (Lund, Sweden), 2004.


Lisbet Kickham was born March 26, 1945, in Malmo, Sweden and currently resides in County Wexford, Ireland. The writer chose a period of literary history often overlooked by scholars within the field for the subject of her first book Protestant Women Novelists and Irish Society, 1879-1922. Focusing on a historical period of great change both in Ireland and around the world, Kickham explores the ways in which the work of these women novelists reflected the concerns and anxieties that the Irish people faced during the uncertain time of the Industrial Revolution and the dawn of a new century. Studying primarily novelists forgotten by modern literary critics, Kickham divides her work into four chapters. The first chapter examines the role that landlords played within these women's novels and how fictional work often reflected different feelings about real political policy. Kickham's second chapter focuses on the religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics at the time and how the authors often used these anxieties in their plots. Race relations, the supposed characteristics of the Celt, and ideas about what it meant to be "Irish" in a rapidly changing political landscape are discussed in the third chapter. The fourth and final chapter deals with the challenges facing the separate classes of the era. Overall, the book covers more than fifty novels by twenty-five female novelists. Some of the authors featured in the book include Annie M.P. Smithson, Emily Lawless, and Elizabeth Bowen. Because so little is known about many of the writers profiled in Protestant Women Novelists and Irish Society, 1879-1922, the author and the reader can only hypothesize about how the personal lives of these women may have influenced their writing styles and choice of subject matter. Kickham offers plot summaries of these often overlooked works before attempting to illustrate precisely how they contributed to a period in history during which the author believes "the nature and identity of Ireland" were at stake.

Writing for the Modern Language Review, Sinead Mooney admitted to having mixed feelings about Kickham's "broadly thematic study of largely neglected Irish female novelists." Mooney felt that the book's "lack of literary criticism leads to a heavy reliance on plot summaries of unfamiliar works." Mooney also noted that Kickham seems to be "over-dependent on the pre-existing criticism." However, Mooney remarked that "Kickham's study is a worthwhile piece of work" that focuses on novels that are now largely forgotten in spite of the popularity they enjoyed in the past.



Modern Language Review, October, 2006, Sinead Mooney, review of Protestant Women Novelists and Irish Society, 1879-1922, p. 1099.

Nineteenth-Century Literature, September, 2005, May Jean Corbett, review of Protestant Women Novelists and Irish Society, 1879-1922, p. 266.


Dissertations from Lund University, (May 23, 2003), "Protestant Women Novelists and Irish Society, 1879-1922."