The Language of Cartography in Anne Enright’s Writings


  • Aurora Piñeiro Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México



Language, Cartography, Anne Enright, Motherhood, Anti-essentialism


The aim of this article is to analyse the novel Actress (2020) by Anne Enright from the perspective of a twofold notion of literary mapping: firstly, the author’s role as a cartographer, when she adopts and adapts the conventions of Bildungsroman to draw the outline of a life and when the lexicon chosen for this task is imbued with the language of landscape and thus creates an imagery which may articulate a literary territory of her own or a geography of affects. And secondly, when the reader or critic exacts a map from several literary work(s) by the same writer, and this representation enables an additional reading of the text or set of texts. Although the novel Actress will remain the axis of the present analysis, for a larger mapping of Enright’s geography of affects and, in particular, her representation of motherhood, references to her non-fiction and short fiction writings will be necessary. In particular, her lecture “Maeve Brennan: Going Mad in New York” (2019) and fragments from her essay collection Making Babies (2004) will be incorporated. When it comes to her short fiction, “Night Swim” (2020) will be the story in focus. All these texts are thematically related and most of them are chronologically close but, more significantly, they incorporate cartographic imagery as a defining trait when it comes to the exploration of motherhood, which is viewed from an anti-essentialist perspective and with different degrees of the conciliatory.

Author Biography

  • Aurora Piñeiro, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

    Aurora Piñeiro is full professor in the English Department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Her main academic fields are contemporary Irish narrative, postmodern novels in English (Ireland and UK) and Gothic literature (XVIII to XXI centuries). She is a member of IASIL (International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures), AEDEI (Spanish Association for Irish Studies) and IGA (International Gothic Association). She is author of El gótico y su legado en el terror/ Gothic Literature and Its Legacy in Terror (UNAM, 2017) and editor of Rewriting Traditions. Contemporary Irish Fiction (UNAM, 2021); as well as articles such as “Postmodern Pastiche: The Case of Mrs Osmond by John Banville” in ABEI Journal (2020), “A Trail of Bread Crumbs to Follow, or Gothic Rewritings of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ by Lina Meruane, Jorge Volpi and Mariana Enríquez” in Gothic Studies (2020), “Scalding Drops on a Naked Eye: The Motif of the Double in Seeing Red by Lina Meruane” in Doubles and Hybrids in Latin American Gothic (Routledge, 2019), “Banville y Black, multiplicidades autorales” (UNAM, 2019). At present, she is head of project “Contemporary Anglo-Irish Literature (XX and XXI Centuries)” at UNAM, and co-head of the “Eavan Boland-Anne Enright Irish Studies Chair”, also at UNAM.


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Joannou, Maroula. “The Female Bildungsroman in the Twentieth Century”. A History of the Bildungsroman. Sarah Graham, ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2019. 200-216 pp.

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How to Cite

Piñeiro, A. (2023). The Language of Cartography in Anne Enright’s Writings. ABEI Journal, 24(1), 13-27.