Every day a beloved father dies. Every day a lover departs. Every day a woman turns forty. All three happening together brings a moment of reckoning.
Medieval historian Elizabeth Boyle made sense of these events the best way she knew how – by immersing herself in the literature that has been her first love and life’s work for over two decades.
Fierce Appetites is the exhilarating and deeply humane result. Not only does Elizabeth Boyle write dazzling accounts of ancient stories, familiar and obscure, from Ireland and further afield, but she uses her historical learning to grapple with the raw and urgent questions she faces, questions that have bedevilled people in every age. She writes on grief, addiction, family breakdown, the complexities of motherhood, love and sex, memory, class, education, travel (and staying put) with unflinching honesty, deep compassion and occasional dark humour.
Fierce Appetites is captivating and original – as an insight into the mind and heart of a groundbreaking scholar, and as a wise and reassuring account of what it is to be human.
Elizabeth Boyle was born in Dublin, grew up in Suffolk and returned to live in Dublin in 2013. She is a medieval historian specialising in the intellectual, literary and religious culture of Ireland and Britain. A former Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge, she now works in the Department of Early Irish at Maynooth University, where she was Head of Department for five years until 2020. Fierce Appetites is her debut collection of personal essays.