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 'water'
Recent Blog Posts
- CFP–Romantic Boundaries (Special Issue of Romantic Textualities) 8 September 2023
- Jeremy Corbyn, Romanticism and Vogon Poetry 6 July 2023
- Introducing our new Digital Editor: Andrew McInnes 6 July 2023
- CFP—In Other Wor(l)ds: Romanticism at the Crossroads (Special issue of Romantic Textualities) 18 April 2023
- Teaching Romanticism XXXVI: Romantic Melodrama 22 December 2022
Items tagged with 'water'
Tweets by Romantic TextualitiesMy Tweets
Ann Radcliffe authorship bibliography book history book trade drama eighteenth century English literature fiction Four Nations gender global gothic history illustration intertextuality Ireland Jane Austen John Keats literary canon literature Lord Byron Mary Shelley Minerva Press national identity nationalism nineteenth century novels Percy Bysshe Shelley poetry politics print culture publishing reception Romanticism Samuel Taylor Coleridge Scotland Tales of the Dead teaching travel writing visual cultures Walter Scott William Lane William Wordsworth women's writing