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Representing the National Landscape in Irish Romanticism

by Julia M. Wright

Publication Year: 2014

Ireland is a country which has come to be defined in part by an ideology which conflates nationalism with the land. From the Irish Revival’s celebration of the Irish peasant farmer as the ideal Irishman to the fierce history of land claim battles between the Irish and their colonizers, notions of the land have become particularly bound up with conceptions of what Ireland is and what it is to be Irish. In this book, Wright considers this fraught relationship between land and national identity in Irish literature. In doing so, she presents a new vision of the Irish national landscape as one that is vitally connected to larger geographical spheres. By exploring issues of globalization, international radicalism, trade routes, and the export of natural resources, Wright is at the cutting edge of modern global scholarly trends and concerns. In considering texts from the Romantic era such as Leslie’s Killarney, Edgeworth’s “Limerick Gloves,” and Moore’s Irish Melodies, Wright undercuts the nationalist myth of a “people of the soil” using the very texts which helped to construct this myth. Reigniting the field of Irish Romanticism, Wright presents original readings which call into question politically motivated mythologies while energizing nationalist conceptions that reflect transnational networks and mobility.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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Flap, Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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p. v

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pp. vii-viii

I would like to begin by thanking the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for their generous support not only while I worked on this book, but also during the years before I even began: with the...

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pp. ix-xxxii

The land has long been central to articulations of Irish nationality, from diasporic phrases such as “the auld sod” to myriad representations of rural Irishness and from various contested demarcations of territory, such as “beyond the pale,” connoting Irish-ruled land...

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1. The Maids of Killarney: Transatlantic Circulation and the Origins of the National Tale

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pp. 1-46

It is a critical commonplace that topographical poetry in the English tradition harks back to Virgil’s agricultural poems, the Georgics of 29 BCE.1 As the epigraphs to this chapter attest, however, these agricultural poems are deeply entwined with imperial discourse....

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2. “This Vale of Tears: ”Glendalough and the Gothic

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pp. 47-93

If Killarney occupies a special place in the romanticization of Ireland, as Luke Gibbons suggests,1 then Glendalough is arguably its gothic double. Both in the south of Ireland, Killarney on the southwest coast in Kerry and Glendalough to the east in Wicklow, the...

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3. Transatlantic Movements: Exile and Migration

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pp. 94-128

The significant expansion of the Irish diaspora in the period covered by this study is a well-established historical fact. Political exiles, particularly in the 1790s and 1840s, added to a steady stream of economic exiles, culminating in the exodus precipitated by the Great...

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4. From Terror to Terrorism: Gothic Movements in England

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pp. 129-167

The category of the gothic has been suggestively engaged by a number of postcolonial critics in recent years to grasp Irish writers’ depiction of the colonial situation and the racist representation of the Irish. This project has recently moved into a new stage of...

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5. Foreign Landscapes and the Domestication of the National Subject

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pp. 168-213

As Benedict Anderson suggests in his essay “Long-Distance Nationalism,” “The nativeness of natives is always unmoored, its real significance hybrid and oxymoronic,”1 a belated effect of globalization and the circulation of languages, cultures, and bodies across...

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6. Geopolitics from Drennan to Cavour: Locating Ireland in a Changing Europe

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pp. 214-236

As the foregoing chapters suggest, there was considerable debate in Irish literature about the place of Ireland both in the British Isles and in a wider global field, and specifically interest in Ireland’s international relationships. While this chapter focuses on nonfiction prose...

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Conclusion. The Case of the Love Elegy

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pp. 237-255

As we have seen in the preceding chapters, Irish literature is often concertedly international in concern, from John Leslie’s interest in the transatlantic to William Drennan’s in Western geopolitics, to the poetry of Irish migrants and literary depictions of such figures, to...


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pp. 259-296


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pp. 297-321


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pp. 323-331

About the Author, Back Flap, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815652663
E-ISBN-10: 0815652666
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815633532
Print-ISBN-10: 081563353X

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 880714009
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Representing the National Landscape in Irish Romanticism

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • English literature -- Irish authors -- History and criticism.
  • English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
  • National characteristics, Irish, in literature.
  • Romanticism -- Ireland.
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