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Nationalisms, Terror, and the State in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Ireland

Amy E. Martin

Publication Year: 2012

Alter-Nations: Nationalisms, Terror, and the State in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Ireland investigates how Victorian cultural production on both sides of the Irish Sea grappled with the complex relationship between British imperial nationalism and Irish anticolonial nationalism. In the process, this study reconceptualizes the history of modern nationhood in Britain and Ireland. Taking as its archive political theory, polemical prose, novels, political cartoons, memoir, and newspaper writings, Amy E. Martin’s Alter-Nations examines the central place of Irish anticolonial nationalism in Victorian culture and provides a new genealogy of categories such as “nationalism” “terror,” and “the state.” In texts from Britain and Ireland, we can trace the emergence of new narratives of Irish immigration, racial difference, and Irish violence as central to capitalist national crisis in nineteenth-century Britain. In visual culture and newspaper writing of the 1860s, the modern idea of “terrorism” as irrational and racialized anticolonial violence first comes into being. This new ideology of terrorism finds its counterpart in Victorian theorizations of the modern hegemonic state form, which justify the state’s monopoly of violence by imagining its apparatuses as specifically anti-terrorist. At the same time, Irish Fenian writings articulate anticolonial critique that anticipates the problematics of postcolonial studies and attempts to reimagine in generative and radical ways anticolonialism’s relation to modernity and the state form. By so doing, Alter-Nations argues for the centrality of Irish studies to postcolonial and Victorian studies, and reconceptualizes the boundaries and concerns of those fields.

Published by: The Ohio State University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

List of Abbreviations

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pp. vii-8

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii-9

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pp. ix-x

The completion of this book was made possible by many people and the members of several communities of which I have been a part, to whom I owe an enormous debt of gratitude, both intellectual and personal. ...

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pp. 1-14

Throughout the nineteenth century, Ireland and Britain are best described as “alter-nations.” When British and Irish nationalisms are imagined and theorized in political writings and cultural production in this period, nationhood on each side of the Irish Sea exists, both discursively and materially, in a dialectical relation to the other. ...

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1. “The Condition of England” and the Question of Ireland: Anti-Irish Racism and Saxon Nationalism in Victorian Writings on Capitalist National Crisis

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pp. 15-51

In a letter to Engels in December 1869, Karl Marx reports on his progress in organizing the British proletariat in Victorian London. He writes of several discussions among the members of the General Council of the First International, but in particular of their recent attention to the “Irish question.” ...

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2. Fenianism and the State: Theorizing Violence and the Modern Hegemonic State in the Writings of Matthew Arnold and John Stuart Mill

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pp. 52-103

As 1865 drew to a close, a cartoon titled “Rebellion Had Bad Luck” (Fig. 2–1) appeared in the pages of London’s Punch magazine.1 The image by John Tenniel works to reassure the British public about the threat posed by Fenianism, a mass movement of Irish anticolonial insurgency.2 ...

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3. Envisioning Terror: Anticolonial Nationalism and the Modern Discourse of Terrorism in Mid-Victorian Popular Culture

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pp. 104-158

In 1881, over a decade after “Rebellion Had Bad Luck” appeared in the pages of Punch, another cartoon titled “Strangling the Monster” appeared in the same magazine. In the cartoon, Prime Minister Gladstone battles a three-headed, hydralike monster that represents Ireland’s Land League. ...

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4. “A Somewhat Irish Way of Writing”: The Genre of Fenian Recollections and Postcolonial Critique

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pp. 159-214

In 1907 James Joyce began to write a series of three articles on various incarnations of Irish nationalism and on the state of contemporary Irish politics. While these articles, written in Italian and published in Trieste, focus largely on the Home Rule movement, Joyce inaugurated the series with a consideration of the Fenian movement in Ireland. ...


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pp. 215-223


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pp. 224-238

E-ISBN-13: 9780814270356
E-ISBN-10: 0814270352
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814212028
Print-ISBN-10: 0814212026

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 11 line art
Publication Year: 2012