Map-making, Landscapes and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland, c.1530-1750

Overview

Using the twin concepts of ‘colonialism’ and ‘early modernity,’ William J. Smyth offers a geographical analysis of the most formative and revolutionary period in Ireland’s history. He analyzes the conquest and settlement of Ireland by the New English and Scottish and the consequences of this often violent intrusion upon the cultures and landscapes of pre-existing Irish societies.
 
Smyth focuses on the ways in which the early modern ...

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Overview

Using the twin concepts of ‘colonialism’ and ‘early modernity,’ William J. Smyth offers a geographical analysis of the most formative and revolutionary period in Ireland’s history. He analyzes the conquest and settlement of Ireland by the New English and Scottish and the consequences of this often violent intrusion upon the cultures and landscapes of pre-existing Irish societies.
 
Smyth focuses on the ways in which the early modern British state subjugated Irish territories, including British systematic use of surveillance techniques; implementation of mapping and inventories of strategic landscapes and resources; and development of bureaucracies and administrative techniques of law and the market economy so as to obliterate regional expression of Gaelic cultures and practices. What results is a fresh interpretation of Ireland’s experiences in this crucial early modern period.
 
“The richness of detail and command of sources is of course expected, as well as the good clear writing. It is his overall conception of this complex transformation, the insistence and intensity of his tracing of an Irish Ireland through it all, and his brilliant opening focus on maps and his ‘deconstruction’ of them that is all so very impressive. Clearly the author has wrought a masterpiece, a great landmark study, a geography of the utmost quality.” —Donald W. Meinig, Maxwell Research Professor of Geography, Syracuse University
 
“The story of Ireland c. 1530-1750 will always be retold. But few retellings will bring such a freshness of eye or depth of analysis as Map-making, Landscapes and Memory. Brilliantly conceived and meticulously researched, it captures the complexity and subtlety of Ireland’s changing landscapes, identities, mentalities, and spaces with great skill and considerable style. Few authors can have done more to release the meaning embedded in maps, whether those produced by sixteenth and seventeenth century surveyors like Robert Lythe, Richard Bartlett, and Sir William Petty, or those produced in abundance by himself.” —Robert A. Dodgshon, University of Wales, Aberystwyth

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This book tackles grand themes on a grand scale. . . . William Smyth’s great achievement is to show that so much of the early geography of early modern Ireland can be recovered and that so many topics can be mapped in considerable detail. An outstanding feature is the inclusion of more than one hundred maps . . . Sixteen pages of colour plates allow the reproduction, in astounding clarity, of some of the most relevant manuscript maps compiled for English intelligence. These maps are an eye-opener to the embedded nature of Irish regional variations, challenging us to treat history with respect for geography.” —The Irish Times

“This imposing work of historical geography is a formidable contribution to Irish history. . . . Whereas non-geographical historians are often diverted by the spread and development of ideas, geographers like William J. Smyth have a healthy preoccupation with space and what happens within it. The space of Ireland was transformed within the two hundred and twenty years of the monograph's purview, with enormous consequences for its residents, old and new.” —Irish Literary Supplement

“. . . Smyth is a mastermind of a wide range of documentary evidence . . . [His] astonishing feat of using the tools of the geographer to tell the story of the English occupation of Ireland in a new way, firmly grounded in a scholarly, wide-ranging knowledge of the sources, great and small, has been recognized in its award of a place in the 2006 Irish Times top five nonfiction books published internationally. . . . [It] is a gargantuan achievement . . . Its incredible detail challenges the reader at every turn; such is its scope. In writing this work, Smyth encourages us to treat history with a respect for geography. For anyone concerned with the study of the subtleties of Ireland’s changing landscapes, identities, mentalities and spaces, this is a volume worth having.” —The Geographical Journal 

“Rooted in a mastery of a remarkable array of sources, Smyth's Map-making, Landscapes and Memory is a worthy addition to this lively scholarly tradition. This new book significantly improves our understanding of early modern Ireland. This is a strong and learned book, full of insights for scholars interested in Irish history.” —Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268017811
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: FIELD DAY ESSAYS
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author


William J. Smyth is holder of the Chair of Geography at University College Cork. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1999.
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