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Sydney Owenson’s bestselling 1806 novel, The Wild Irish Girl, not only functions as an apologia for Irish culture but also powerfully demonstrates that Ireland’s cultural heritage and production—as well as the Irish people’s hope for survival—are intimately related to Irish diet. For Owenson, Irish agriculture, often of a subsistence variety, produces and sustains Irish culture and Irish bodies. Written at a transitional point in Irish political and literary history, the novel counters agricultural reformer Arthur Young’s portrayal of Irish agriculture as the lowliest link on a chain ascending to the British state. Owenson instead focuses on the local world of peasant agriculture and the mouths it feeds, as well as the cultural production and appreciation that this agriculture sustains.