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Irish Novelists and the Victorian Age$
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James H. Murphy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596997.001.0001

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Conclusion: Contested Representations

Conclusion: Contested Representations

(p.261) 12 Conclusion: Contested Representations
Irish Novelists and the Victorian Age

James H. Murphy

Oxford University Press

This book has sought to aid the recovery of individual novels of importance either completely lost to sight or whose greater significance, within their proper contexts, has been lost to sight. Four factors have been identified in relation to the supposed failure of realism: the persistence or representationalism from the Romantic era; the rise of the Irish land novel; the use of Irish stereotypes; and the ‘authenticity’ of Carleton. Yet landlord–tenant polarities that inhibited realism were overcome on a number of occasions: in the male equality of life of the military novel; in the isolated world of Grania; in Annie Keary's Castle Daly, which compresses socio-political divisions into one social class; and in parallel stories at landlord and tenant level, a strategy used by Anthony Trollope and Margaret Brew. In favour of the land novel it can be said that it was more pluralistic than much twentieth-century Irish fiction. The emphasis on representationalism was intense precisely because it was contested: the right to speak for ‘Ireland’, however one constructed such an entity, was not one that any party could claim without challenge.

Keywords:   recovery of texts, realism, representationalism, Irish stereotypes, social class, land novel, pluralism

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