Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 February 2020
This chapter considers the transatlantic influences that shaped Irish literary culture in the romantic period. In particular, it focuses on two understudied phenomena. First, the chapter provides an account of texts published in Ireland that concern African slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, written by pro-slavery sympathisers, white abolitionists, and writers of African descent like Ignatius Sancho and Olaudah Equiano. Second, it zeroes in on a forgotten Irish novel, Sarah Isdell’s The Vale of Louisiana, published in Dublin in 1805, which dramatises the transatlantic, trans-Caribbean travels of an English family, addresses slavery directly, and borrows heavily from a canonical early American novel, Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (1798). The chapter concludes on the other side of the ‘steep Atlantic’, as Sydney Owenson called it, and briefly addresses the publication and reception of Irish writers in the early United States, especially Thomas Moore and Maria Edgeworth, where they found an unpredictable and productive future.