Fiction and travel writing in Ireland, 1750-1840

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Nakamura, Tetsuko
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University College Cork
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This thesis aims to show the complex relationship between fiction and travel writing from the middle of the eighteenth century to the eve of the Great Famine. My examination of the intertextuality between novels and travel books including geographical publications and guidebooks reveals how fiction writers drew on travel writing and how travel writing evolved based on geographical descriptions. Two authors of national tales in particular, Maria Edgeworth and Sydney Owenson, are critical of the travel narratives produced by British travellers to Ireland, and their resistance to these narratives is woven into their works. Edgeworth attaches great importance to eastward travel to Britain, in contrast to the focus on westward journeys conducted by the British travellers, while Owenson effectively uses travel writing texts in her novels to represent her Irish view of nation-building. Owenson’s fictional narrative of travel along the northern coast of Ireland in turn affects Anne Plumptre’s narrative of her Irish travels. Another focus of this thesis is the representation of specific locations where fiction and non-fiction travel narratives, as well as informative descriptions in travel books, are interrelated. Targets of discussion are Dublin as the gateway to Ireland and two Irish places, St Patrick’s Purgatory and Cong. Dublin is represented as a place of encounter where social and political tensions connect travellers and locals, and accounts of travel to this metropolis as a border crossing are also viewed in this context. The Irish places attracted growing attention as tourist destinations from around the time of Catholic Emancipation, and my textual examination of fiction and non-fiction travel narratives shows the writers’ increasing interest in writing about the process of travel.
Fiction , Romanticism , Travel writing , National tales , Ireland
Nakamura, T. 2023. Fiction and travel writing in Ireland, 1750-1840. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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