Ireland: A Social, Cultural and Literary History, 1791-1891

By James H. Murphy

The nineteenth century was a period of enormous change in Ireland and has left a legacy that still affects Irish people today. It saw the shaping of a political nation, the trauma of the Famine, the restructuring of the economic system and the emergence of a new pattern of land holding. Ireland: a social, cultural and literary history, 1791-1891 synthesizes the enormous amount of published research on the period and provides the reader for the first time with a concise but comprehensive overview of the social and cultural patterns of the century. It traces the ways in which traditional forms of peasant life were modified not only by economic change but also by the administrative reforms of government, the expansion of access to education and the rise of a newly confident institutional religion. It explores the experience of women, the lives of emigrants and the perils of the urban environment. It sets the patterns of popular culture alongside those of high culture, especially the visual arts, intellectual life and that dominant discourse of the period about the Irish, Celticism. The book also pays particular attention to the literature of the century, for too long under the shadow of the later Irish literary revival, seeing it in contemporary political terms and challenging the ways in which it has been subsequently categorized.

224 pages

Publication Date: 5/1/2003
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781851827282

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