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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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Frenzied Form: The Land‐War Novel

Frenzied Form: The Land‐War Novel

(p.167) 8 Frenzied Form: The Land‐War Novel
Irish Novelists and the Victorian Age

James H. Murphy

Oxford University Press

There was an almost immediate and large-scale response to the Irish land war of the 1880s in fiction. Many of the novels were written by women and feature women, often on the landlord side, who are empowered by the necessities of the conflict. In Letitia McClintock's A Boycotted Household, the struggle against the tenantry is effectively lost before it has begun. In Rosa Mulholland's Marcella Grace, on the other hand, the solution to the land issue is seen in a new class of sympathetic Catholic landlords. Land-war fiction continued into the 1890s and culminated in Doreen, by the English novelist, Edna Lyall. By then it was being influenced by other genres including the imperial adventure story. The Home Rule crisis produced a tepid enough response in terms of fiction, though the ‘dynamite war’, a series of terrorist attacks in Britain in the 1880s by rogue Fenian elements, did feature.

Keywords:   land war, women, Rosa Mulholland, Edna Lyall, Parnell, Home Rule, imperial adventure, dynamite war

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