In this compelling work, Rebecca Pelan analyzes religion, region, class, and national and ethnic identity as crucial contexts in shaping feminist consciousness in the two Irelands, and compares the divergence of feminist perspectives to be found North and South of the border. The very different histories of the North and South are reflected in their literature. While women in the Republic of Ireland have tended to write about social issues - sexism, crime, unemployment, and domestic violence - women in Northern Ireland focused on their society's historical tension and primarily nationalist and unionist politics. However, Pelan maintains that feminist ideology has provided contemporary Irish women with an alternate political stance that incorporates gender and nationality/ethnicity and allows them to move beyond the usual binaries of politics, history, and language - Irish and English. In an analysis enriched by a sophisticated but accessible engagement with contemporary feminist and gender theory, Pelan concludes that Irish women's writing, whether at the community or mainstream level - North or South - consistently articulates political issues of direct relevance to the lives of Irish women today. As a result, such work retains close links with the initial impetus of the second wave of feminism as a political movement and questions the legitimacy of long-standing social, religious, and political conventions. From within the framework provided by this second wave, argues Pelan, Irish women can critique certain masculine ideologies - nationalist, unionist, imperialist, and capitalist - without forfeiting their own sense of gender and national or ethnic identity. The book's significance lies in its placement of women's writing in the center of contemporary political discourse in Ireland and in ensuring that the writing from this period - much of it long out of print - continues to exist as sociological as well as literary records. It will be of interest to a general and scholarly audience, especially those in the fields of contemporary Irish writing, feminism, and literary history.