"Theoretically-informed, and with a broad comparative perspective, Professor Joep Leerssen, in this characteristically challenging study, offers an explanation for the process of cultural transfer in Ireland from the late 18th to the mid 19th century, 'through which the native Gaelic tradition, with pre-modern attitudes, with its historical vision leading back to Ireland's primal Milesian settlement, with its catastrophic interpretation of history and its Messianic hopes for a deliverance from English rule, is interiorised by modernizing, urban-centred, English-speaking and essentially Victorian Ireland'. The means through which the 'hidden Ireland' of the Gaelic past becomes appropriated by English-speaking Ireland as, in Leerssen's view an act of 'total political self-invention, a collective psychological de-anglicization, ' raises fundamental questions for our understanding of the history—political no less than cultural—of nineteenth century Ireland."—Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Department of History, NUI, Galway
How did the political climate of “ancien régime” Ireland, with its colonial-style landlord system, its Penal Laws, and its total cultural segregation, give way to the mounting nationalist groundswell of the
This pilot study attempts to sidestep ingrained and outworn debates, and argues that Irish developments around 1800 can be fruitfully studied in the light of historical models elaborated for Continental Europe. Between 1780 and 1830 a cultural transfer took place from native, Gaelic-speaking Ireland to urban academic and professional circles, and between 1820 and 1850 the Catholic part of the population came to appropriate Ireland’s public sphere.
Joep Leerssen is Professor of Modern European Literature at the University of Amsterdam.
Distributed for Arlen House
5.5 x 8.5, 48 pages