The interplay between commerce and sensibility has been well documented: commercial activity is celebrated in eighteenth-century sentimental rhetoric for its ability to incite civility, reform manners and promote virtue. In the same way, the transformative effects of commerce informed discourses of sympathy and national identity throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century and into the Romantic period. This article considers Sydney Owenson’s focus on commercial improvement in post-union Ireland in her 1814 novel O’Donnel: A National Tale. As Owenson developed her formal experimentations with the national tale, she made a series of revisions to the 1812 edition of St Clair (originally published in 1803) in which she echoes contemporary political discussions about Ireland’s potential for trade through the navigation of its waterways, suggesting an emerging interest in Irish commercial progress that would go on to influence her subsequent novels. O’Donnel appraises the value of English schemes for Irish improvement in the form of canals, aqueducts and road building within the context of Enlightenment models of historical progress and sympathy. In doing so, Owenson provides an extended critique of ascendancy schemes of improvement and of the role of geography in the formation of Irish national identity, revealing a profound anxiety about both the ideological ‘mapping’ of the Irish landscape in the post-union period and the formation of international communities based on sympathetic identification. Continue reading
Home » Items tagged with 'cosmopolitanism'
Items tagged with 'cosmopolitanism'
Review: Maureen McCue, British Romanticism and the Reception of Italian Old Master Art, 1793–1840 (rev.)
Humanities scholars who are persistently reminded about the necessity of making their research interdisciplinary should definitely turn to Maureen McCue’s British Romanticism and the Reception of Italian Old Master Art, 1793–1840 for an object lesson … Continue reading
by Helen Stark, Newcastle University In September 2013 I was lucky enough to spend 5 days in the Pforzheimer Collection at the New York Public Library, largely – despite the myriad treasures there – consulting … Continue reading
It is striking that the turn of the nineteenth century saw the earliest use—and swift adoption—of both autobiography and biology and their cognates in European languages.  Two very different disciplines of ‘life-writing’ that took … Continue reading
Did Ireland experience Romanticism? Certainly not in the uncomplicated way that scholarship assumes England, Germany and other countries did. In Romanticism in National Context (1988), Tom Dunne’s contribution eschews the standard chapter title form—‘Romanticism in … Continue reading