Ireland, India and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Ireland, India and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Literature

by Julia M. Wright

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Overview

In this innovative study Julia M. Wright addresses rarely asked questions: how and why does one colonized nation write about another? Wright focuses on the way nineteenth-century Irish writers wrote about India, showing how their own experience of colonial subjection and unfulfilled national aspirations informed their work. Their writings express sympathy with the colonised or oppressed people of India in order to unsettle nineteenth-century imperialist stereotypes, and demonstrate their own opposition to the idea and reality of empire. Drawing on Enlightenment philosophy, studies of nationalism, and postcolonial theory, Wright examines fiction by Maria Edgeworth and Lady Morgan, gothic tales by Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde, poetry by Thomas Moore and others, as well as a wide array of non-fiction prose. In doing so she opens up new avenues in Irish studies and nineteenth-century literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521114592
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/25/2009
Series: Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture Series , #55
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Julia M. Wright is Professor of English at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Ireland, India, and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-86822-8 - Ireland, India, and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Literature - by Julia M. Wright
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Introduction: Insensible Empire




“I see, not an East-India bill, but a West-Britain bill preparing for dissolving not only all principles of constitution, but the constituency itself; for removing the seat of government for ever from the soil, and eternizing the provinciality and servitude of my country [Ireland], under an administration unalterably English.”

William Drennan, A Letter to the Right Honorable William Pitt (1799)

“We trace the spirit of Milesian poetry to a higher source than the spring of Grecian genius; for many figures in Irish song are of oriental origin; and the bards who ennobled the train of our Milesian founders, and who awakened the soul of song here, seem, in common with the Greek poets, ‘to have kindled their poetic fire at those unextinguished lamps which burn within the tomb of oriental genius.’ ”

Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), The Wild Irish Girl (1806)

“The beauteous forms, the dazzling splendours, the breathing odours of the East, seem at last to have found a kindred poet in that Green Isle of the West, whose Genius has long been suspected to be derived from a warmer clime, and now wantons and luxuriates in these voluptous regions, as if it felt thatit had at length regained its native element.”

Anon., Rev. of Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh (1817)

While scholars have dealt in some detail with Romantic and Victorian orientalism, and postcolonial studies in general have dealt extensively with colonial and imperial literatures, little attention has yet been paid to the ways in which nineteenth-century writers from colonized nations wrote about colonization beyond their own borders. Ireland, as England's first and nearest colony, offers us a unique opportunity to open up such an investigation. When the British Empire began to expand rapidly in the eighteenth century, Irish writers could respond to that expansion by drawing on a centuries-old national tradition of cultural responses to colonialism and foreign invasion. They also had unique access to British readers and publishers because of a shared cultural economy facilitated by both geographical proximity and a language shared after centuries of colonial domination. Irish authors could thus participate in the print culture of the metropole, operating within what Jürgen Habermas terms “the public sphere” on terms that often vex any simple division between colonizer and colonized.1 Examining, therefore, not only Irish writing about Ireland, but also Irish writing about India and British writing about Ireland and India, I shall argue, helps us to triangulate the complex relationship between British and Irish literary traditions as well as further explore the means by which members of an internal colony might engage public debate in the metropole about political sovereignty, modern nationalism, and the imperial project.

This study is primarily concerned with literary works as rhetorical and imaginative responses to the imperial project, particularly the ethical questions and representational problems that such a project raises. It is consequently historicized but not historical in its objectives. Simply put, literature has a history of its own that sometimes draws materials from social and political history but does not necessarily concern itself with accurately depicting real people, actual experiences, or the facts of history. Literary responses to the imperial project might sometimes represent colonial experience or events of imperial history, but they also include thematic investigations of ethical questions, alternatives to current imperial strategies, imaginative accounts of possible consequences, and so forth. It is, however, essential to remain “historicized” within the cultural field. The shifting “horizon of expectations” defined by Hans Robert Jauss grasps the complex ways in which myriad elements of culture – religion, politics, print culture, oral culture, literary traditions, legislation, assumptions about class, gender, race, nation, and so forth – shape representation and interpretation, including, as Hayden White has made clear, the representation and interpretation of material history.2 Hence, in the remainder of this introduction, I shall outline some of the crucial contexts and framing concerns of the larger study, including some of the historical connections between India and Ireland after 1780. More importantly, I shall introduce the key rubrics available to the writers I shall discuss for framing similitude and difference on terms relevant to situating Ireland in relation to both the metropole and to India.

The most important rubric for this study is Enlightenment sensibility. Offering a framework within which to imagine a fundamental similitude between human beings that is grounded in sympathy and affect rather than a shared culture, sensibility provides a philosophical basis for transcending divisions such as “race,” “religion,” and “nation” in ways that both trouble imperial hegemony and facilitate cross-cultural identifications such as those which Irish writers pursue in various texts about India. Moreover, through its foundational position in Enlightenment models of justice and morality, sensibility also provides a basis upon which to argue for national merit – and hence the right to sovereignty – that is independent of political power or divine sanction. Instead of relying on “might makes right” or historical authority, nationalists could claim the moral highground through the sensibility of the people and the insensibility of their opponents. This is a two-edged sword: the colonized could be represented as sensible and so morally superior to their insensible conquerors, and vice versa. The ambiguity of the word “empire” in this introduction's subtitle, “insensible empire” – drawing on both empire as power and empire as the site on which power is exercised – is thus intentional. Like nationalism itself, sensibility could be used to authorize both the exercise of imperial power and attempts to resist it.

IRELAND, INDIA, AND THE METROPOLE

Joep Leerssen, a ground-breaking scholar of nineteenth-century Irish literature who has been publishing in the field since the 1980s, has recently lamented the appropriation of Edward Said’s influential Orientalism, and more broadly the category of the postcolonial, by Irish studies over the last two decades.3 His concern about this appropriation points to the foundation of my study: Ireland's position within Europe makes a parallel between Ireland and the “Orient” problematic even as such an identification acknowledges a long history of Irish writers who rhetorically aligned Ireland with the “East.”4 The irreducibility of Ireland to a binary model of imperial domination is a recurring concern in Irish Studies today. One collection of essays on Irish history asks the question, An Irish Empire?, in order to address the complicated ties which bind Ireland to the metropole and then involve it in British imperial expansion, while Stephen Howe’s recent, highly controversial, study, Ireland and Empire, rests largely on the relative uniqueness of Ireland within British imperial history in order to separate Ireland from discussions of coloniality.5 After half a millennium of English rule, Ireland by the 1800s was significantly though unevenly assimilated into British dominant culture; many in Ireland, particularly in urban areas, were native English speakers as well as Protestant, government employees, and/or tradespeople dependent on British and imperial markets, and Ireland provided personnel for the British military as well. As a further complication, the dominant power was redefined over the same period – from England, to England and Wales, and then Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) after the 1707 Act of Union. (For the sake of succinctness, I shall generally refer to the post-1707 ruling state as Britain, the pre-1707 ruling state as England, and to the four nations and geographical regions of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland as the British Isles.) Irish nationalists throughout the long nineteenth century argued against policies which discriminated against those who were not fully assimilated, including non-Anglicans, Irish speakers, native industries, agricultural interests, and so on. All of this, and more, distinguishes Ireland from other British colonies. Leerssen addresses this bugbear of recent Irish studies:

Indeed, I think post-colonialism, as a critical agenda and approach, is misapplied to Ireland, not just because of the general objection that Anglo-Irish relations were never really “colonial” in the proper sense of the word, but more precisely because Ireland, unlike colonies sensu stricto, as a European country, has participated in the nineteenth-century tradition of romantic nationalism.6

This is a valuable call to caution, but its binary logic risks going too far: “the proper sense of the word” colonial is historically contingent and even historically disputed. Lying behind this and other critiques of the application of postcolonial theory in Irish studies is a foreshortening of the history and space of empire that stresses colonization outside of Europe, especially in the nineteenth century, and so fails to recognize the ways in which “romantic nationalism” emerged in Europe in part to resist imperial domination.

Ireland might seem unique in the relatively exclusive focus of British imperialism, but it is far from it in the larger context of European imperialism. A fuller account of the “postcolonial” and the history of European empire is needed to fully engage the impact of romantic nationalism in the West, for nationalism in Europe arose in part because of colonization within the continent. The Congress of Vienna in 1814–1815 – where the British government was represented coincidentally (or perhaps not) by two Anglo-Irish military men, Castlereagh and Wellington – formalized the division of Europe into five empires. The Russian, Prussian, French, Austro-Hungarian, and British Empires ruled most of Europe; political sovereignty and in varying degrees political representation was denied to many regions that are now recognized as European nations, including Italy, Germany, and Norway. A sixth empire, the Ottoman, ruled the eastern edge of Europe, including Greece and the Balkans. The “Young Europe” movement of the 1830s was in significant measure a loose affiliation of anti-imperial groups, and was fostered by Giuseppe Mazzini, a leader of the “Young Italy” nationalist movement termed treasonous by the power which dominated then-fragmented Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, Mazzini suggested that, without a unifying language distinct from its oppressor's, Ireland could not belong to “Young Europe,” even as Irish nationalists used the name “Young Ireland” and invoked Italian patriotism as a kindred cause.7 In other words, there were nationalist movements within Europe claiming nationhood against an imperial oppressor and, moreover, they were themselves disputing what precisely constituted “colonies ‘sensu stricto’ ” within nineteenth-century Europe. We miss much in the history of ideas on this subject if we obscure that debate with a rubric developed in the twentieth century.

This is not to suggest that imperial domination in Europe was the same in degree or kind as that beyond Europe, but military conquest, administrative rule, and political disenfranchisement do remain broadly consistent. There are further similarities, too, such as the trading of colonies back and forth due to shifting power relations and negotiations between European imperial powers. Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden in the wake of Napoleon's defeat (1814), for instance, while the British toehold in India arguably began with the transfer of Bombay from Portugal to Britain as part of Catherine of Braganza's dowry on her marriage to Charles II (1661). Further, the history of colonization within Europe was, in earlier periods, nearly as brutal as it was outside of Europe in the nineteenth century. Leerssen acknowledges that “Ireland can perhaps be described as a colony during the period from 1540 to 1690” because of economic, political, and territorial exploitation.8 But if we glance at Oliver Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland in 1649–1652, we see much uglier colonial practices: Cromwell massacred civilians after military battles, sent thousands of survivors into slavery in the West Indies,9 and seized large tracts of land. After 1695, a range of laws forbade Catholics not only the free exercise of their religion but also property rights and other broadly civil rights that would soon be defined under the Enlightenment. Those laws, known as the Penal Laws or Penal Statutes, were somewhat ameliorated over the ensuing decades, but remained in force until Catholic Emancipation in 1829. Instead of considering Ireland as failing to be colonial on the terms that non-European nations were colonial during the height of British imperial power, we need to question more thoroughly the utility of binary formulations in order to grasp more fully the complexity of an imperial history that reaches across, and builds upon, different historical moments, geopolitical situations, imperial ideologies, and discourses of resistance. The present study works in the space between the either/or alternative, seeking to explore the ways in which Irish authors recognized, and even argued for, Ireland's difference from non-European colonies such as India while also engaging the similarities in their position.

One of the key differences between India and Ireland under British rule is a matter of chronology. While eighteenth-century Ireland had already experienced centuries of colonial domination, India at the same time was largely free of British rule. In 1800, much of India was still ruled by the Maratha (Mahratta) Confederacy; British rule, though greatly expanded from the few ports it governed in the early eighteenth century, was limited to the edges of the subcontinent. The destabilization of the Mughal Empire in India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as inter-European competition for key ports and coastal regions in India, precipitated changes that redrew the map of the subcontinent. The British succeeded in pushing out most other imperial competitors from Europe and during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries would extend their dominion over the subcontinent despite considerable difficulties. Sultan Tipu’s armed opposition to British domination in India in the 1780s and 1790s overlapped with the impeachment of Warren Hastings, Governor General of the East India Company, from 1787–1795, and was followed by a series of military conflicts, from the “Vellore Mutiny” of 1806 and the Mahratta Wars to the Anglo-Afghan Wars and the so-called “Indian Mutiny” of 1857–1858. Then the British faced growing political agitation for independence, drawing in part on the principles of nationalism, in the latter part of the century. After the impeachment of Hastings failed, and despite heavy losses during the first Anglo-Afghan War, the British busily accumulated other colonies in the region, expanding British India's borders to include Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1796 and what is now Burma incrementally from 1824 to 1886, as well as adding the Seychelles (1810), Singapore (1819), Hong Kong (1841), Brunei (1888), Kuwait (1899), and myriad others, as well as extending their dominion in the subcontinent of India.

There are strong reasons for linking Ireland and India within the genealogy of British imperial discourse despite these differences in colonial timelines. Historian Joel Berlatsky argues that attention to “the place of Ireland in the British Empire” has tended to focus on comparisons between Ireland and the United States, but “equally important insights can be gained by examining Ireland in relation to India or to African colonial areas.”10 The historical ties between India and Ireland are more than conceptual. Throughout various conflicts after the middle of the eighteenth century, the British empire not only had the same legislators and goverment functionaries making decisions about both India and Ireland but also deployed the same personnel in both colonial arenas. In one of the more striking instances, Lord Cornwallis, who defeated Sultan Tipu, was brought out of retirement to deal with the aftermath of the 1798 Irish uprising, and was celebrated in an 1804 tale by Anglo-Irish author Maria Edgeworth for his actions in India (see Chapter 2). More crucially, though, such migrating personnel figuratively parallel the circulation of ideas of coloniality, effective administration, and empire. As David Lloyd notes, “The metaphors that justified Britain's colonialism in the East clearly have parallels in the discourse on the ‘internal colony’ of Ireland;”11 or, put more bluntly, the imperial enterprise recycled its rationalizations, applying them to various colonies as needed. In the period considered by this study, both India and Ireland were high on the colonial agenda and were frequently discussed together in print culture as such. Moreover, there is a cultural basis for such connections: as literary scholars such as Leerssen and Joseph Lennon have established, Irish orientalist scholarship and literature also pursued, across centuries, myriad connections between Ireland and the “East.”12

Edmund Burke is perhaps Ireland's best-known and most widely studied writer on India. He pursued the Hastings Impeachment through lengthy speeches as a member of the British Parliament and, as Luke Gibbons has recently discussed, represented India and Ireland as similarly victimized.13 Of Burke's alternating between writing projects on Ireland and on India, Gibbons writes, “It is as if the energies of one were transferred to the other, and then used in turn to revitalize the original, a form of sympathetic contagion.”14 Such similes and sympathies are limited, however, because nineteenth-century Ireland also teeters on the crux of the binary oppositions which form the foundation of contemporary British imperialist rhetoric: it was depicted as European but exotic, Christian but Catholic, literate but culturally impoverished, enfranchised but colonized, and white but feminized (with all of the shifting connotations embraced by these broad terms).15 As a consequence, orientalist discourse and the politics that it serves become more complicated when they are mobilized by writers located in that internal colony. Leerssen suggests that “There is an orientalist tradition within Anglo-Irish literature in the nineteenth century; but while it partakes of mainstream ‘English’ orientalism as studied by Said, it also differs from this mainstream tradition, for there is a continuing tendency to self-orientalization. This means that in Ireland more than elsewhere we must be prepared to register an affinity with the Orient.”16 If, as Reina Lewis argues, “women's differential, gendered access to the positionalities of imperial discourse produced a gaze on the Orient and Orientalized ‘other’ that registered difference less pejoratively and less absolutely than was implied by Said's original formulation,”17 so too did the “differential …access” of Irish writers turn back on the Orientalist gaze. Moreover, Ireland and India were differently positioned in British imperial discourse, particularly as that discourse became more rigidly and overtly racialized, so we can also see complications arising when India and Ireland are paired in British texts, such as Matthew G. Lewis’s “The Anaconda” (see Chapter 4). In short, Ireland was represented in Irish and British writing as both like India and not like India in ways that are entangled with various discriminations and relationships forged discursively between India, Ireland, imperial Britain, and what William Drennan termed “the universality of independent countries.”18

Independence is a crucial term in literary responses to the political and historical turmoil briefly sketched above. For whatever we term the practices through which Britain extended and maintained power in Ireland, Ireland was neither sovereign nor culturally identical to Britain, and Irish writers frequently concerned themselves with imagining a way out of precisely that bind. While we might dispute what constitutes the essential features of a colonized nation, or indeed if such a definition is possible or critically desireable, colonialism fundamentally refers to measures that usurp an indigenous sovereignty. Economic exploitation, political oppression, and territorial seizure all flow from this one fundamental condition. Seizing sovereignty not only makes such acts legally defensible and practically possible but also conceptually imaginable. According to John Locke, “Wher-ever … any number of Men are so united into one Society, as to quit every one his Executive Power of the law of Nature, and to resign it to the publick, there and there only is a Political, or Civil Society. And this is done wher-ever any number of Men, in the state of Nature, enter into Society to make one People.”19 To deny a society's sovereignty is, in effect, to deny the sovereignty of the individuals in that society (Locke’s “Executive Power”) and to do so on terms that facilitate state violence against, as well as differential legal rights and limited suffrage for, these supposedly unsovereign subjects. Indeed, the emphasis on Irish Catholics as “Papists” in this period and the ongoing disenfranchisement of Irish Catholics contributes to such a representation of them as unsovereign. In many anti-Catholic depictions, Catholics obey the Pope, not Civil Society or individual will, and do so as a matter of faith rather than reason. The Lockean relationship between individual and national sovereignty also, however, makes possible literary treatments of the problems of colonialism that focus on characters who synecdochally represent the people or nation as a whole, as in the national tale.

The 1800 Act of Union abolished the Irish Parliament and brought Ireland under the direct rule of the British Parliament, thus formally ending Irish political sovereignty. Almost immediately, the national tale arrived on the literary landscape as a sub-genre of the novel in which the conventions of the marriage plot or the bildungsroman served the further purpose of exploring cultural differences and the possibility of reconciliation between a dominant and an oppressed national group. The variety of national tales published in the early 1800s – from Lady Morgan's The Wild Irish Girl (1806) to Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley (1814), W.S. Wickenden’s Bleddyn: A Welch National Tale (1821), and, for an American example, Catherine Read Williams’ Aristocracy, or the Holbey Family (1832) – testify to the flexibility of the genre. The national tale is adaptable to various political positions, time periods, and national contexts even though its material origins are traceable to an historical event fixed in time and space, namely the 1800 Act of Union. The flurry of national tales in the early nineteenth century, many of them popular enough to be reprinted in multiple editions, points to the ways in which the Act of Union provoked authors and readers to wrestle with the larger questions it raised, as in, for instance, Scott’s use of the form to deal with the difficulties which followed an earlier Act of Union, that with Scotland in 1707. Material history at such moments functions as a spur to cultural production: it sparks debate not only on specific events but also on related issues, thus altering the course of literary production even when it is not itself an object of representation.

The national tale is a salient example for my purposes because it also arises in relation to modern nationalism. While there were ideas of nationality long before 1800, modern nationalism emerged across Western cultures during the latter years of the eighteenth century as a new way of thinking about political sovereignty and cultural community. Whether we follow Ernest Gellner in ascribing the emergence of modern nationalism to the Industrial Revolution or Benedict Anderson and Anthony D. Smith in viewing the French Revolution and Napoleonic expansionism as the catalysts, it remains clear that a populist, culturally centered notion of nationality caught fire in late eighteenth-century Europe.20 Sovereignty no longer lay with the monarch or, by extension, the government, but with the people as a whole on quasi-Lockean terms; nationalism was Lockean insofar as it viewed sovereignty in relation to the people, but not in its insistence on the uniformity and univocality of the people.21 In nationalism, the people are determined by their nationality, not the other way around. Further, the notorious ideological fluidity of nationalism – amenable to both liberatory movements and fascism – made it possible for nationalism to define various positions in the colonial debate. Nationalism was used to mobilize support for British imperial expansion, and it provided a basis for the intensification of Irish resistance to colonial rule through the populist nationalist organizations of the 1780s and 1790s and then the struggle for Catholic Emancipation in the 1820s. Because it made culture central to national identity, moreover, nationalism cleared an ideological space for literary genres, such as the national tale, in which the relationship between culture and nationality could be explored.

A STRANGE NEIGHBOUR: AT THE LIMITS OF MIMICRY

While it is important to move beyond classifying Ireland as either a colony or not, it is also vital to grasp the ways in which the island was multiply located within often conflicting geopolitical perspectives salient to different debates at the time. Ireland was discursively and politically understood as a region on the edge of both the transatlantic sphere and Western Europe, as a culture within both the British Isles and Catholic Europe, and as a nation among both subjugated European nations and British colonial possessions.22 Leerssen’s note of caution about the Europeanness of Ireland remains, however. It is particularly essential to keep in mind that the Irish writers discussed in this study were generally no more familiar than their British counterparts with the details of British colonization in India or India itself. Indeed, the sources and facts that they cite suggest that they knew more or less what the British knew about India because they read the same orientalist texts, newspaper reports, and journal articles – and they in turn helped to shape British understandings of India through such popular Irish orientalist texts as Morgan’s The Missionary (1811). As a consequence, the historical details of British India are less relevant to this study than the cultural responses within the British Isles to colonization and the ethical problems raised by it.

1 See Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trans. T. Burger and F. Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989); and, for a useful examination for my purposes here, Paul Keen, The Crisis of Literature in the 1790s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

2 See Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982); Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Hayden White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973); Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978).

3 Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979). Orientalism has, of course, been widely challenged in recent years by scholars who would extend, complicate, or revise some of its details; the critical force and utility of Said's general argument, however, remain.

4 See Joep Leerssen, “Irish Studies and Orientalism: Ireland and the Orient,” in Oriental Prospects: Western Literature and the Lure of the East, ed. C. C. Barfoot and Theo D'haen (Atlanta: Rodopi, 1998), 161–73.

5 An Irish Empire? Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire, ed. Keith Jeffery (New York: Manchester University Press, 1996); Stephen Howe, Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

6 Leerssen, “Irish Studies,” 164.

7 On Mazzini's position on Ireland, see R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600–1972 (London: Penguin, 1989), 312. The Young Irelanders invoked Mazzini and other Italian nationalists despite a general ambiguity about the title “Young Ireland”; see Richard Davis, The Young Ireland Movement (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1987), 56–7. For Irish literary invocations of Italian nationalism, see, for instance, Lady Jane Wilde's long poem, Ugo Bassi: A Tale of Italian Revolution (London: Saunders and Otley, 1857).

8 Leerssen, “Irish Studies,” 164n.

9 The enslavement of the Irish in the West Indies for a short period in the mid-1600s further complicates the distinctions Linda Colley traces between “white slaves and captives in North Africa” (which also included Irish men and women) “and black plantation slaves across the Atlantic”; see Linda Colley, Captives (New York: Pantheon Books, 2002), 59.

10 Joel Berlatsky. “Roots of Conflict in Ireland: Colonial Attitudes in the Age of the Penal Laws,” Éire-Ireland 18 (1983), 41.

11 David Lloyd, Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), 123.

12 See J. Th. Leerssen, “On the Edge of Europe: Ireland in Search of Oriental Roots, 1650–1850,” Comparative Criticism 8 (1986), 91–112; Leerssen, “Irish Studies”; and particularly Joseph Lennon's historically comprehensive study, Irish Orientalism: A Literary and Intellectual History (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2004).

13 Luke Gibbons, Edmund Burke and Ireland: Aesthetics, Politics and the Colonial Sublime (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) 99.

14 Ibid., 107.

15 The meaning of literacy, Christianity, race, and gender, among others, were, of course, the subject of much debate as well as ideological sea-changes. For a useful general overview of the long and complex history of “whiteness” in Western discourse, see Gary Taylor, Buying Whiteness: Race, Culture, and Identity from Columbus to Hip-Hop (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). For foundational discussions of Irishness in relation to race, see, for instance, Luke Gibbons, “Race Against Time: Racial Discourse and Irish History,” Oxford Literary Review 12 (1991), 95–117; Seamus Deane, “Civilians and Barbarians,” in Ireland's Field Day, Field Day Theatre Company (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986), 33–42; and Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White (New York: Routledge, 1995).

16 Leerssen, “Irish Studies,” 167.

17 Reina Lewis, Gendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity and Representation (New York: Routledge, 1996), 4.

18 William Drennan, A Letter to the Right Honorable William Pitt (Dublin: James Moore, 1799), 47.

19 John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 325.

20 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. edn. (New York: Verso, 1991); Anthony D. Smith, “Neo-Classicist and Romantic Elements in the Emergence of Nationalist Conceptions,” in Nationalist Movements, ed. Anthony D. Smith (London: Macmillan Press, 1976), 74–87; Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983).

21 On Locke and modern nationalism, see, for instance, Ruth W. Grant, John Locke's Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 99–136; and 218 Notes to pages 1–25 David Resnick, “John Locke and Liberal Nationalism,” History of European Ideas 15 (1992), 511–7.

22 For a nuanced overview of the ways in which historians of the early modern period locate Ireland within different regional models – comparing the Irish to Native Americans, Ireland as part of what later scholars term the “transatlantic” space, Ireland as part of an archipelago of islands – furthers our understanding beyond the limits of the one-nation-in-conflictwith- another approach, see Andrew Murphy, “Revising Criticism: Ireland and the British Model,” in British Identities and English Renaissance Literature, ed. David J. Baker and Willy Maley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 24–33.


© Cambridge University Press

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction: Insensible Empire     1
Ireland, India, and the metropole     3
A strange neighbour: at the limits of mimicry     10
Sensibility: national feeling and colonial sympathy     16
Sympathy or horror: imagining India and Ireland     22
National Feeling, Colonial Mimicry, and Sympathetic Resolutions
"National feeling" and unfeeling empire: the politics of sensibility     29
Antiquarian and inaugural nationalism     30
Sentimental nationalism     37
"The national impulse" in Telling's memoirs of the 1798 Uprising     43
Empowering the colonized nation; or, virtue rewarded     53
Proud defiance, noble suffering, and patriot passion: Ireland as heroine     56
Reforming the imperial subject: sentimental education in Morgan's The Wild Irish Girl     64
Assimilation as iteration: foster children in Edgeworth's fiction     72
Travellers, converts, and demagogues     81
Missionaries in the colonial imaginary     82
Literary interventions: Irish writers on religious toleration     88
Sympathetic travellers in Morgan's The Missionary     93
Erotic and patriotic sentiment in Moore's Lalla Rookh     98
An Irish protestant in search ofreligion: William Hamilton Drummond     108
Colonial Gothic and the Circulation of Wealth
On the frontier: sensibility and colonial wealth in Edgeworth and Lewis     119
Edgeworth's administrators in India     121
Tracing colonial lucre in "The Anaconda": nabobs, agents, and traders     126
"Going native": English sensibility and colonial discourse     132
The in-between of colonial Ireland: the case of Anne O'Connor     136
"Some Neglected Children": thwarted genealogies in colonial history     142
Fragmented narratives: colonial historiography and Irish gothic fiction     143
Thwarting historical progress: iteration and contingency in Morgan's "Absenteeism"     148
Tales of disinheritance: colonial settlers and displaced families in Melmoth the Wanderer     159
"The Tale of the Indians": proliferating similes and entangled histories     167
"This distracted land": MacCarthy's "Afghanistan"     174
Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde: all points east     182
The "ugliness" of empire: Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray     184
Waves of colonization: Stoker's The Lair of the White Worm     194
Shoring up the borders of empire: Stoker's The Lady of the Shroud     201
Conclusion: The Wild Irish Boy in India     211
Notes      217
Bibliography     246
Index     265

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