Research Questions

Revisionist in scope, by focusing on national comparison and contrast rather than primarily gender-inflected women’s literary history, this project seeks to overturn critical commonplaces current in the field of early modern women’s writing.

  • Are common poetic genres visible across the geographical reach of the project? 
  • Are any poetic forms and/or genres unique to the any of the nations involved in this study, such as the waulking-song (òran luaidh) in the Scottish Gaelic song tradition? 
  • Are there connections between 'Celtic' and 'Anglophone' traditions? 
  • Did women poets writing from various geographical locations have an awareness of other women poets, either within their own culture or further afield? 
  • How does a study of women’s poetry in these comparative linguistic and comparative contexts change how scholars have written about the concept of ‘authorship’ for women?
  • In what ways did linguistic difference affect modes of dissemination and/or forms of publication (including manuscript/scribal transmission and publication)? 
  • What prominence should we attribute to linguistic difference as opposed to metrics (strict/free-metre) in evaluating women’s poetry? 
  • How was bardic culture different in Ireland Scotland and Wales, and how did this impact on women’s poetry in these different locations? 
  • To what extent is Anglophone material independent of respective native ‘bardic’ literary cultures’? 
  • Do women poets of a specific class write poetry which cuts across geographical and linguistic boundaries? 
  • Did women poets of the past subscribe to a national sense of identity or was their experience of space and place more, or equally, informed by local, familial, and/or religious attachment? 
  • Is it possible to speak of pan-Gaelic or pan-Celtic allegiance between women poets in this period or do national, political, social and religious differences divide them? 
  • How does a study of women poets in Ireland, Scotland and Wales challenge the accepted canon of women poets from the period 1400 to 1800?