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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Irish writers reacted to the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland by creating a literature deeply invested in political disputation and sentimental appeal. The works of Irish Romanticism display formal and generic hybridity, as writers responded to the material and cultural changes brought about by Union. Far from solving the national question, the Union initiated a literature interested in fragmentation, decline, and melancholy. This chapter surveys attempts in fiction and poetry to align sentimental models of literature with political advocacy, and considers the effect that Union had on writers concerned with Ireland. The legacy of the 1798 Rebellion, the ongoing struggle for Catholic Emancipation, and economic stagnation all led to a literature that could, and often did, shift quickly from lachrymose nostalgia to Gothic trauma.

Keywords: Ireland, Acts of Union, 1798 Rebellion, decline narrative, national tale, absenteeism, sentiment, Weaver Poets, topographical poetry, Gothic

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