While the critical establishment baulked at the rapid expansion of the literary marketplace in the early nineteenth century, Lady Morgan’s Florence Macarthy boldly declared its allegiance to the precariously feminised domain of popular romance. Embracing its own synthetic and syncretic modernity, Morgan’s seventh novel revels in the spectacle, sensation and simulation so vociferously denounced by reviewers of her earlier works. Moreover, in its self-reflexive scrutiny of the material processes of Romantic literary production, Morgan’s fiction interrogates its own position within an increasingly commercialised and mechanised publishing industry. In asserting the centrality of such commercial and mechanical modernity to Morgan’s aesthetic, this article departs from previous scholarly discussions of her oeuvre. It argues that Florence Macarthy’s engagement with Irish politics is not anchored in antiquarian retrospection but instead emerges out of an effervescent literary marketplace in direct competition with new arenas of spectacular entertainment. Thus, rather than promote a supposedly atavistic and anachronistic cultural nationalism, the surface narrative’s flirtation with the romance of Irish antiquity is continually disrupted by an underlying acknowledgement of the competing literary, political and historical narratives at play within the national tale. Synchronising and synthesising these competing discourses for the popular reader, Florence Macarthy registers the hybridity of its own romance as a distinctly modern yet sophisticated form of mechanical reproduction that cannot be dismissed as the mere automatism of an antiquarian reflex. Continue reading →
This article shifts attention away from the perfections of England to explore the place of Ireland in Jane Austen’s Emma. Intrigued by Jane Fairfax’s refusal to travel with the Dixons in Ireland, Emma conjectures spitefully about an unrequited—or possibly consummated—affair between Jane and Mr Dixon. Obfuscating his actual affair with Jane, Frank Churchill uses Emma’s Irish conjectures to flirt with both women. Ireland becomes a repository of gothic potential over the course of Austen’s novel: a space upon which characters can map their unspoken and unspeakable desires. Austen accesses the Irish gothic to ask questions about national identity, legitimacy and power. Continue reading →
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 →
I began reading Reinventing Liberty in the weeks leading up Britain’s Brexit vote in June 2016; the timing was uncanny. Price’s impressive monograph focuses on the concept of national identity as it relates to commerce … Continue reading →
It’s not often that you get the chance to go to a conference which will involve a trip to the pier, a day spent at one of Wales’ national treasures, and introductions to several undeservedly-forgotten … Continue reading →
In July, I travelled to Sydney to take part in the second biannual conference of the Romantic Studies Association of Australasia. Founded in 2010, the RSAA aims ‘to promote the study of the literary, artistic, … Continue reading →
The essay looks at the masculine sporting culture that flourished in the 1820s, revolving in particular around the boxing world dubbed ‘The Fancy’. Focusing on the 1821 prizefight between Tom Hickman and Bill Neate, Snowdon examines the ways in which the event was depicted by the pens of William Hazlitt, Pierce Egan, and John Badcock. An extended discussion of the popular Boxiana series, which was first written by Egan, and then taken up by Badcock, before legal proceedings allowed Egan to publish once again under the Boxiana imprint. Continue reading →
This essay provides an overview of patterns of reception and production of Irish fiction published between 1800 and 1829, with particular discussion of the fiction of Maria Edgeworth and Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan). The essay is followed by a bibliographical checklist of 114 works of fiction published during the survey period. Continue reading →
I ‘Few poetic careers can have been more thoroughly devoted to the construction of national identity than was that of Felicia Hemans’s, writes Tricia Lootens, in her contribution to Angela Leighton’s Victorian Women Poets: A … Continue reading →
Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780–1840 is an open-access journal that is committed to foregrounding innovative Romantic-studies research into bibliography, book history, intertextuality, and textual studies. To this end, we publish material in a number of formats: peer-reviewed articles, reports on individual/group research projects, bibliographical checklists, biographical profiles of overlooked Romantic writers and book reviews of relevant new research. Find out more by clicking here.
All content is available without charge to the user or his/her institution. You are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from either the publisher or the author. The journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License. Original copyright remains with the contributing author and a citation should be made when the article is quoted, used or referred to in another work.
About Cardiff University Press
Romantic Textualities is an imprint of Cardiff University Press, an innovative open-access publisher of academic research, where ‘open-access’ means free for both readers and writers. Find out more about the press at cardiffuniversitypress.org.