The gothic novel in Ireland, 1760–1830 offers a compelling account of the development of gothic literature in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland. Against traditional scholarly understandings of Irish gothic fiction as a largely late-nineteenth century development, this study recovers to view a whole body of Irish literary production too often overlooked today. Its robust examination of primary texts, the contexts in which they were produced, and the critical perspectives from which they have been analysed yields a rigorous account of the largely retrospective formal and generic classifications that have worked to eliminate eighteenth-century and Romantic-era Irish fiction from the history of gothic literature. The works assessed here powerfully demonstrate that what we now understand as typical of ‘the gothic novel’– medieval, Catholic Continental settings; supernatural figures and events; an interest in the assertion of British modernity – is not necessarily what eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers or writers would have identified as ‘gothic’. They moreover point to the manner in which scholarly focus on the national tale and allied genres has effected an erasure of the continued production and influence of gothic literature in Romantic Ireland. Combining quantitative analysis with meticulous qualitative readings of a selection of representative texts, this book sketches a new formal, generic, and ideological map of gothic literary production in this period. As it does so, it persuasively positions Irish works and authors at the centre of a newly understood paradigm of the development of the literary gothic across Ireland, Britain, and Europe between 1760 and 1830.
the later canonisation processes effected by twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary studies. From a specifically Irishliterature perspective, research by Rolf and Magda Loeber, in particular their indispensable A guide to Irish fiction (2006), has greatly expanded the limits of our literary consciousness, recovering to view a multitude of texts that now invite a re-consideration of the parameters of Irish literary production across the centuries.
Many of the lesser-known works included in these bibliographies and assessed in this book
The cartographic consciousness of Irish gothic fiction
The many, varied (non)representations of Ireland evident in Griffith's oeuvre underline the often subtle, often complex nature of eighteenth-century Irishliterature's engagement with questions of identity, origins, and national affiliation. 50 Exploring and charting Irish terrain, but also conspicuously ignoring it at times, Griffith's works reveal early Irish gothic's nuanced considerations of Ireland's placement in the period's ‘ “map” of Gothicity’. 51 As they do so, they embody the overlooked trend in late eighteenth
‘Gothicism’, ‘historicism’, and the overlap of fictional modes from Thomas Leland to Walter Scott
are discussed in more detail later in this chapter; Ian Campbell Ross, ‘Prose in English, 1690–1800: from the Williamite Wars to the Act of Union’, in Margaret Kelleher and Philip O’Leary (eds), The Cambridge history of Irishliterature , 2 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), vol. 1, p. 273.
Walter Scott, Lives of the novelists , 2 vols (Philadelphia, PA, 1825), vol. 2, pp. 120, 128; see
Regina Maria Roche, the Minerva Press, and the bibliographic spread of Irish gothic fiction
; and Maturin, 12. 53 Superficially, these numbers seem to support the idea of canonicity. Those authors apparently more widely read in their own day also happen to fall into our prevailing idea of the canon of early nineteenth-century Irishliterature. Yet, it is worth remembering here that neither Owenson nor Maturin has long enjoyed canonical status in twentieth- and twenty-first-century scholarship. Despite his contemporary popularity, Maturin has only very recently been recovered to view as an integral contributor to the development of Irish Romantic literature