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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2009

7 - Romantic Ireland: 1750–1845

from Part II - Geographies: The Scenes of Literary Life


The Wild Irish Girl can be seen as ushering in the 'myth of the West' of Ireland that was to preside over Irish Romanticism. The concept of 'the sublime' was one of the most important formative influences on the rise of a new romantic sensibility in the late eighteenth century. The romance of the Enlightenment with the Celtic periphery began perhaps with Toland, for by identifying himself as a pantheist, Nature-worship and spirituality were introduced into the nebulous world of Celticism. A number of factors in the Irish national tale facilitated the introduction of cosmopolitan Europe into the romantic periphery. The gesturing towards alternative futures in evocations of the past suggests that it was not a spent force, a bygone era awaiting the embalming of romantic nostalgia. The future oriented longings of Irish Romanticism owed as much to the unresolved cultural energies of the Jacobite Gaelic Ireland.

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