Between Literature and History

The Diaries and Memoirs of Mary Leadbeater and Dorothea Herbert

by Barbara Hughes (Author)
Monographs VIII, 247 Pages
Series: Reimagining Ireland, Volume 13


This book explores the remarkable diaries and memoirs of Mary Leadbeater (1758-1826) and Dorothea Herbert (c.1767-1829), both of whom lived in Ireland. Working on the premise that their identities are literary constructions, the author investigates the cultural and existential impulses that motivate their creation. Leadbeater’s diaries span fifty-seven years and include uncensored teenage journals, which are a rarity in Western Europe. Herbert was a member of the minor gentry and her extraordinary memoir, depicting her descent into madness, provides a wealth of cultural and historical information.
The principal advantage of conducting a joint study of the writings of both women lies in the manner in which the work of one writer functions as an implied corrective to the representations of the other. In the present instance, this militates against simplistic assessments of the relationships between gender, class, ethnicity and narrativity in eighteenth-century Europe.


VIII, 247
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (January)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2010. VIII, 247 pp.

Biographical notes

Barbara Hughes (Author)

The Author: Barbara Hughes received her Ph.D. from the Faculty of Arts, University College Dublin, in 2003. She is currently Lecturer in English Literature in the Department of Humanities, Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.


Title: Between Literature and History