The environmental humanities are one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding areas of interdisciplinary study, and this collection of essays is a pioneering attempt to apply these approaches to the study of nineteenth-century Ireland. By bringing together historians, geographers and literary scholars, new insights are offered into familiar subjects and unfamiliar subjects are brought out into the light. Essays re-considering O’Connellism, Lord Palmerston and Isaac Butt rub shoulders with examinations of agricultural improvement, Dublin’s animal geographies and Ireland’s healing places. Literary writers like Emily Lawless and Seumas O’Sullivan are looked at anew, encouraging us to re-think Darwinian influences in Ireland and the history of the Irish literary revival, and transnational perspectives are brought to bear on Ireland’s national park history and the dynamics of Irish natural history. Much modern Irish history is concerned with access to natural resources, whether this reflects the catastrophic effect of the Great Famine or the conflicts associated with agrarian politics, but historical and literary analyses are rarely framed explicitly in these terms. The collection responds to the ‘material turn’ in the humanities and contemporary concern about the environment by re-imagining Ireland’s nineteenth century in fresh and original ways.
List of contributors: Matthew Kelly, Helen O’Connell, David Brown, Colin W. Reid, Huston Gilmore, Ronan Foley, Juliana Adelman, Mary Orr, Patrick Maume and Seán Hewitt.
Reviews‘A valuable and timely collection.'
Paul Warde, University of Cambridge
'The originality and the excellence of this book reside precisely in the diversity of the fields investigated by the contributors who, in their individual areas of research, show how nineteenth-century Irish history and literature can be reassessed and better understood when the issue of the environment becomes the central critical focus.'
Marie Mianowski, Estudios Irlandeses