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From antiquarian text to fiction's subtext: the extended afterlife of Spenser's "View of the Present State of Ireland"
University of Chicago Press
This article analyzes significant traces of the View of the Present State of Ireland in Irish novels published in the aftermath of the Act of Union of 1800. Written by Protestants, they aimed to explain the Irish problem to an English audience, and thereby foster more harmonious relations between the two islands. Spenserâ s View, which had long been a resource for antiquaries, was taken up by these novelists in a variety of ways, ranging from plundering his hostile descriptions of Gaelic Irish mores to add color and an alleged authenticity to their characters and plots, to engaging with his politics and pointing to his complicity in the colonial project in Ireland. That some novelists employed both of these approaches simultaneously shows not only the continuing Protestant ambivalence toward the Gaelic Irish, and particularly the still-threatening peasantry, but also the centrality of Spenserâ s View to fictive depictions of early nineteenth-century Ireland.
Early nineteenth-century Ireland , Gaelic Irish , Protestant , Spenser , View of the Present State of Ireland
O'Halloran, Clare (2018) 'From antiquarian text to fiction's subtext: the extended afterlife of Spenser's "View of the Present State of Ireland"', Spenser Studies, 31-32, pp. 511-530. doi:10.1086/694441
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