Inside the Whale: Configurations of An-other Female Subjectivity

Manuela Palacios
  • Women s Studies, February 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/00497878.2018.1425579

The whale in contemporary Irish and Galician poetry

What is it about?

The motif of the whale abounds in contemporary Irish and Galician poetry. This article shows the various allegorical and ecological allusions to this marine mammal, especially in women's writing from these two communities. Informed by ecocriticism, this article examines the tensions between the empowering allegorical significance of the whale and its vulnerability as an endangered animal. Women writers from Galicia and Ireland often explore the motif of the whale's belly as a hospitable space of relative, rather than alienating, difference.

Why is it important?

This article questions anthropocentric and androcentric representations of animal life and identifies in the motif of the whale new ecocentric configurations of female subjectivity.


Manuela Palacios (Author)
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Few people are aware of their own communities' involvement in the whaling industry until the 1982 international moratorium. This has often been the case in Galicia and Ireland. In my presentations of this article, many people expressed their puzzlement about this neglected aspect in the history of their fishing industry. However, Galician and Irish poets, especially female ones, have expressed a strong attraction towards the figuration of the whale.

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The following have contributed to this page: Manuela Palacios