Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic

Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic

Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic

Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic

Synopsis

A comparative study of Scottish and Irish Romanticism that examines literary relations between Scotland, Ireland, and England in the period 1760-1830, an age of political upheaval and constitutional change that witnessed the Irish Rebellion, the Act of Union, internal migration, and the cultural repositioning of Ireland and Scotland.

Excerpt

David Duff and Catherine Jones

Scotland and Ireland have achieved new visibility in recent scholarship on Romanticism and the eighteenth century. Analysis of two interrelated genres in particular—the historical novel and the national tale—has led to a reinterpretation of Romantic literary history through the recovery of a lost archive of texts that take as their object of representation the cultural margins of Ireland and Scotland. Meanwhile, the development of theories of connection and difference has challenged our understanding of the term “Romanticism” and its critical practice, so long dominated by the visionary company of five (or six) English poets. Several recent collections of essays have marked a critical shift from the canonical English Romantic “center” to its borders, and sought a new discrimination of Romanticisms that registers the complexities of the literary history of the “British Isles,” and of ethnocultural formations such as the “Celtic.” These new perspectives on the period have been underpinned by a number of editorial projects relating to Scottish and Irish writers, notably Burns, Scott, Baillie, Hogg, Edgeworth, and Moore, and by the reprinting, in paper or electronic form, of many other previously inaccessible texts. For the first time, the relatively autonomous disciplines of Scottish, Irish, and English literary studies—hitherto artificially separated by academic specialization and institutional practice—have been brought into productive dialogue with one another, making possible a comprehensive remapping of the cultural geography of British and Irish, or “archipelagic,” Romanticism. The present book aims to advance this work by exploring interconnections between Scottish, Irish, and English writing of the period, and tracing manifestations of the Romantic aesthetic across a wide spectrum of genres and in a variety of historical and cultural settings.

The comparative study of Scotland and Ireland is a field of growing interest to scholars across a number of disciplines. Inspired in part by the new political dynamic behind Scottish devolution and the peace process in Northern Ireland, this methodological venture also addresses long-standing intellectual needs. One pressing area is historical inter-

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