A Cultural History of the Irish Novel, 1790-1829 by Professor Claire Connolly

By Professor Claire Connolly

Claire Connolly bargains a cultural heritage 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 bunch of proficient Irish writers who built and complex such cutting edge varieties because the nationwide story and the old novel: fictions that took eire as their subject and surroundings and which regularly imagined its historical past through family plots that addressed wider problems with dispossession and inheritance. Their openness to modern politics, in addition to to contemporary historiography, antiquarian scholarship, poetry, tune, performs and memoirs, produced a chain of awesome fictions; marked so much of all through their skill to style from those assets a brand new vocabulary of cultural identification. This publication extends and enriches the present realizing of Irish Romanticism, mixing sympathetic textual research of the fiction with cautious old contextualization.

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31 Even as our attention is pointed towards bullionist theories of exchange, however, the fictional focus falls on ‘the bag of gold’ that is embedded within the unfolding drama of Colambre’s discovery of the corruption of his father’s agents. Although Edgeworth is perhaps unusual in integrating such clearly mentorial scenes within the fabric of her fictions, just such a relationship between objects and their meanings, as between political or economic facts and novelistic form, is repeatedly worked out within the narratives discussed in this book.

The widow, like Corkery’s guide, who hints ‘that things even more strange lurk unknown to him in the background’, is the representative of this injunction to look more closely. When her niece and soon to be daughter-in-law, Grace Nugent, offers to replace the old chair covers with some new painted velvet ones, Lady Clonbrony finds the final obstacle keeping her from Ireland is removed, and the entire family is free to spurn its absentee lifestyle and reunite with its Irish tenantry. ’ said her niece, smiling.

As a novel which depicts ‘Ireland under the Union’, The Absentee testifies to the Union’s status as an enduring fact of history. 53 It is this latter, stricter and more materialist sense of Union which I employ below, in the belief that the relationship between politics and culture must sometimes be sought for in specific material content rather than reduced to pre-ordained notions of political tendencies. Whether it numbed the pain of that event or not, fiction was indeed present as the Union was born.

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