The impact of the Irish famine of 1845-1852 was unparalleled in both political and psychological terms. The effects of famine-related mortality and emigration were devastating, in the field of literature no less than in other areas. In this incisive new study, Melissa Fegan explores the famine's legacy to literature, tracing it in the work of contemporary writers and their successors, down to 1919. Dr. Fegan examines both fiction and non-fiction, including journalism, travel-narratives and the Irish novels of Anthony Trollope. She argues that an examination of famine literature that simply categorizes it as "minor" or views it only as a silence or an absence misses the very real contribution that it makes to our understanding of the period. This is an important contribution to the study of Irish history and literature, sharply illuminating contemporary Irish mentalities.
About the Author
Melissa Fegan is a Lecturer in English at Chester College of Higher Education.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Not So Ambiguous
1. Faction: The Historiography of the Great Famine
2. War of Words: The Famine in The Times and the Nation
3. Victims and Voyeurs: Travelling in Famine Ireland
4. The Immigrant's Evasion: The Subtext of Trollope's 'Famine' Novels
5. William Carleton in Retrospect: The Irish Prophecy Man
6. 'A Ghastly Spectral Army': History, Identity, and the Visionary Poet
7. The Black Stream: Politics and Proselytism in Second-Generation Famine Novels