1st Edition

Maeve Brennan A Place in the Mind

By Edward O’Rourke Copyright 2025
    262 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a critical overview of the effects of space, physical and conceptual, in the works of Irish American author Maeve Brennan. Brennan’s writing is now classed amongst the most important of women’s voices in twentieth-century Irish fiction, having undergone a significant reclamation and reappraisal in the thirty years since her death. Single and childfree, Brennan eschewed the securities of family and home, experiencing an ‘otherness’ that she shared with her fellow New Yorkers, many of them left hanging on, she wrote, to a city half-capsized––“most of them still able to laugh as they cling to the island that is their life’s predicament”. It is a suitably ambiguous expression for a writer who cultivated an interstitial existence, whose stories inhere within a dream cycle of reiterative pasts, and whose works augment and elevate the canon of radical Irish fiction.




    1.     Urban Space

    2.     Diasporic Space

    3.     Manic Space

    4.     Feminine Space

    5.      Queer Space






    Edward O’Rourke completed his PhD in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. He has published on the topics of women in urban space, femme theory, and the writer Kate O’Brien.  O’Rourke is interested in postcolonial writing, and the occurrence of mania in the diasporic literature produced by women.  He currently teaches at Mount Sackville in Dublin.

    “Edward O’Rourke has written a sensitive and lucid analysis of the world and work of Maeve Brennan. Scholarly but never scholastic, his book shows him as one who has the gift of explanation rather than simplification. He has a heightened awareness of the nuances of Brennan’s style along with a sure grasp of the sociocultural realities out of which her writing came. His book will bring this gifted and unusual woman to a new generation of readers”

    Prof. Declan Kiberd, author of Inventing Ireland (1996) and Ulysses and Us (2009)