Natural history and the history of nature: Environmental narratives in Irish Romanticism

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Connolly, Claire
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The two terms 'narrative' and 'Romanticism' have both undergone major re-definitions during the last few decades. It seems quite a long time since the lyric dominated the 'Period Formerly (and still) Known as Romanticism' and since Romantic fiction was routinely discarded as having "little intrinsic merit" (Ian Watt). While the Romantic period has now become recognised as "an extraordinarily eventful and decisive phase in the development of the British novel" (Karen O'Brien), the work of recovering and re-assessing novels as well as other narrative genres of the period is still very much in progress. A similar stimulating re-orientation and expansion of the research field has taken place in the study of narrative: new genres and media have come into focus, and various new or 'postclassical' approaches have emerged in answer to a broader concept of narrative and the increased interest in cultural and historical contextualisation. The phrase Narratives of Romanticism is deliberately ambiguous, so as to allow for two different ways of bringing 'narrative' and 'Romanticism' together: narratives written during the Romantic period and narratives about the Romantic period. Discussions of both types of 'narratives of Romanticism' can be found in this volume. While the contributors to this volume take different approaches to narratives of Romanticism – from Deleuzian deconstruction to the cognitive sciences, affect theory and ecocriticism –, they agree on and start their arguments from the hypothesis that narratives are important human means of organising experience, whose major function is sense-making.
Romanticism , Irish literature , Nineteenth century , Natural histories , Irish identity , Irish identity , Irish Romanticism , Environmental history , Landscape , Irish history
Connolly, C. (2017) 'Natural History and the History of Nature: Environmental Narratives in Irish Romanticism' in: Heinen, S. and Rennhak, K. (eds.) Narratives of Romanticism: Selected Papers from the Wuppertal Conference of the German Society for English Romanticism. Germany: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, pp. 195-210. isbn:978-3-86821-726-1
© WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2017