Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Rosaleen McDonagh and the fractured heart

Kavanagh, Declan (2022) Rosaleen McDonagh and the fractured heart. Irish University Review, 52 (2). pp. 193-199. ISSN 0021-1427. (doi:10.3366/iur.2022.0562) (KAR id:96625)


In the penultimate paragraph of the introduction to her essay collection, Unsettled (2021), Rosaleen McDonagh writes about how composing the collection allowed her to take ownership of a ‘fractured heart’. Her deployment of the metaphor of a fractured heart here is indicative of the emotionally rich and gently arresting nature of the testimony that follows across the sixteen chapters of varying length that comprise the book. This is an essay-collection-cum-memoir that should serve to make us, as readers, wholly unsettled. For McDonagh’s claiming of her fractured heart involves the telling of stark and uncomfortable truths about the treatment of those with disabilities and impairments in the Irish Republic. It involves, too, the careful centring of Traveller ethnicity, and of cis femininity, as intersectional nodes of personhood that for McDonagh are always mutually informing. The fractures that emerge speak to intersections between and across identities, which overlap in McDonagh’s narration of her own life experience as a Traveller, a woman, and as a disabled person who uses a wheelchair and an adapted car for her mobility.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3366/iur.2022.0562
Uncontrolled keywords: Disability, Life Writing, Irish Traveller, Irish Studies, Gender
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Declan Kavanagh
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2022 10:24 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.