Review of: "The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland" by Ina Ferris

Julie M. Dugger


The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland, by Ina Ferris, covers territory well beyond that suggested by its title. Ina Ferris traces developments not only in the Irish national tale, but also in other fictional forms—Irish Gothic and “novels of insurgency”—and in non-fiction including travel narratives, memoirs, and political speeches. All of these genres, she argues, played a key role in shaping national subjectivity in a post-Union, pre-Catholic Emancipation Ireland. Beginning with the Act of Union and concluding with the Emancipation agitation of the 1820s, Ferris uses an impressive synthesis of textual analysis, British Romantic and Irish Studies criticism, and literary theory to describe how Irish writers changed the way they defined their nation’s position in its “incomplete Union” with Britain.