Adam Smith's problems: sympathy in the national tale

Date
2013
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Source Title
New Hibernia Review
Print ISSN
1092-3977
Electronic ISSN
1534-5815
Publisher
University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies
Volume
17
Issue
3
Pages
127 - 144
Language
English
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Abstract

It is a critical commonplace to read Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl (1806) and Maria Edgeworth’s Ennui (1809) as national tales that use allegories of marriage to model a successful reconciliation between England and Ireland in the aftermath of the Act of Union. The national tale was a clearly political mode, one with the primary goal of representing Ireland anew to a class of English readers who saw the Irish as hopelessly backward and savage, and thereby articulating a model for the Union on the level of sentiment. This aim was hardly covert: it is openly declared, for example, on the title page of The Wild Irish Girl, which quotes Fazio Delli Uberti’s Travels Though Ireland in the 14th Century: “This race of men, tho’ savage they may seem / The country, too, with many a mountain rough, / Yet are they sweet to him who tries and tastes them. Copyright © 2008 The University of St. Thomas.

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