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Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980-1990


Boland begins with an obvious truth and sees the stars as an example to back up her statement:

These stars -
these iron inklings of an Irish January.
whose light appearedthousands of years before
our pain did: they are, they have always been
outside history.

The phrase ‘outside history’ is often associated with Eavan Boland believed that women were kept outside the history books and that in fact they were the reason for much of the success of the Irish. Boland responds to those women who never had a voice, who were kept quiet. Boland’s work shows how women have been marginalised throughout history, and in particular this poem highlights the discrimination of Irish women.


Why Remap? Shifts in Journeys Inside and Outside History

Eavan Boland is a female Irish poet that writes about subjects such as womanhood and the human experience while filling her poems with Irish culture and history. “Outside History” was published in 1990 by Eavan Boland in a collection of the same name, suggesting that this poem carries great importance. In this poem in particular, Boland shows that she is refusing to be the subject of the poem, like many women in Irish history, and is instead being the author of an Irish poem. The theme of “Outside History” is that we are always searching for our place in history, but by the time we find this place and understand the importance of other events in history, we are too late to do anything about it.