Gothic Romance

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By Professor Claire Connolly

Claire Connolly deals a cultural background of the Irish novel within the interval among the unconventional decade of the 1790s and the gaining of Catholic Emancipation in 1829. those many years observed the emergence of a gaggle of gifted Irish writers who constructed and complex such leading edge types because the nationwide story and the old novel: fictions that took eire as their subject and surroundings and which frequently imagined its historical past through household plots that addressed wider problems with dispossession and inheritance. Their openness to modern politics, in addition to to fresh historiography, antiquarian scholarship, poetry, tune, performs and memoirs, produced a chain of outstanding fictions; marked such a lot of all through their skill to style from those assets a brand new vocabulary of cultural id. This booklet extends and enriches the present realizing of Irish Romanticism, mixing sympathetic textual research of the fiction with cautious ancient contextualization.

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Extra resources for A Cultural History of the Irish Novel, 1790-1829

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She reported to Scully that she was ‘infinitely pleased & gratified’ by what she read, but in doing so was cautious as to how she identified the pamphlets. 67 Union pamphlets thus join with novels in a shared culture of disguise, further illuminated by Essay on Irish Bulls, in which Maria Edgeworth and her father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, remarked on how the ‘passion and prejudice’ of politics press down on language in Ireland. 68 Alongside examples of these ‘party barbarisms in language’69 the Edgeworths present the reported conversation of Phelim O’Mooney, ‘the Irish Incognito’ who, in the disguise of ‘John Bull’, sets off to England in search of a rich wife.

14 The facts under discussion consist, most obviously, of the dense historical details represented in fictional texts, but also point us towards books themselves, as material objects that were sold, read and circulated in Ireland and Britain. Equally, the meanings of fiction encompass the cultural work of novels but also involve an understanding of the role played by acts of interpretation in historiography and criticism. The mode of cultural history advanced treats the novel as itself a cultural object – the Irish romantic novel – which is graspable via readings of a set of texts.

On the contrary: the distinctive political praxis of the Irish romantic novel resides in resistance to ideological acts of closure and an openness to the richly varied world of romantic Ireland. If the novels studied here do not always do justice to our growing sense of the diversity of lives and languages within that landscape, then neither should they be reduced to a set of chilly schemes for improvement or overheated responses to unmanageable crisis. Ch apter 1 Fact and fiction The nineteenth century was a chilly and scanty one where Irish ­literature is concerned.

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