Studia Hibernica

Collection, space and display: a case-study in the symbolic materiality of print and manuscript cultures in seventeenth-century Ireland

Studia Hibernica (2021), 47, (1), 63–88.

Abstract

On the basis of a case-study centred on the experience of Sir John Perceval (d.1686) of north Cork, it is argued that books and their spatial location constituted elements within a broader decorative ensemble expressive of cultural hegemony. Moreover, Perceval’s intellectually-diverse world of print is contrasted with the marginalised and geographically-adjacent sphere of Gaelic script as embodied by the poet and scribe Eoghan Ó Caoimh (d.1726). Notwithstanding the dynamic ideological significance of a text such as Keating’s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, its first appearance in print in a 1723 English translation, is emblematic of the cultural and social authority of early modern print in a colonial milieu. Reference is made to the library of James Butler (d.1688), first duke of Ormond, and the Parisian book purchases of Francis FitzMaurice (d.1818) and his wife Anastasia (d.1799), third earl and countess of Kerry, by way of illustration of print’s uncontested dominance among elite Irish readers and patrons of the trade in books.

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Author details

CABALL, MARC