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Franco-Irish Connections in Space and Time

Peregrinations and Ruminations

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Edited By Eamon Maher and Catherine Maignant

Strong cultural, commercial, literary and intellectual links have existed for many centuries between the Celtic cousins France and Ireland and continue to flourish today. This book explores some of the connections that have been forged over space and time by groups and individuals travelling between the two countries.
Covering subjects as varied as travel literature, music, philosophy, wine production, photography and consumer culture, and spanning the seventeenth through to the twenty-first centuries, the collection draws attention to the rich tapestry of interconnections and associations which confirm this unique and mutually beneficial friendship. The book examines the role of figures such as Boullaye-le-Gouz, Coquebert de Montbret, Sydney Owenson, Alain de Lille, Augusta Holmes, Alain Badiou, Wolfe Tone, Jacques Rancière, the ‘Wine Geese’, the O’Kelly family, Marguerite Mespoulet, Madeleine Mignon, Jules Verne, Hector Malot, Harry Clifton, John McGahern, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Kate O’Brien, John Broderick, Brian Moore and François Mauriac. The essays will appeal to both academic and general readers and to anyone with an interest in Franco-Irish relations.

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Part III French Writers and Ireland: Kindred Spirits or Passing Ships in the Night?

Extract

Lauren Clark Children, ‘The Charity Myth’ and Victorian Consumer Culture: Jules Verne and Hector Malot’s Franco-Irish Foundlings Two key theories pertaining to the institutionalising and education of Victorian Irish foundlings in the mid- to late nineteenth century have prevailed in works of recent social history. The first maintains that after 1831, the year which Samuel Bewley founded the Kildare Place Society, provision of education by a ‘socially upper-middle class National Board’1 was a blatant attempt to control the Irish poor. This attempt at control conveniently coincided with a removal of the penal restrictions placed on Catholics in 1838. Secondly, in the Preface to her compendium Guide to Dublin Charities (1884), Rosa M. Barrett admitted that ‘with the exception of one or two general hospitals which have wards for children, there is no place to which a child suf fering […] can be sent’ in Dublin.2 From French authors Jules Verne (1828–1905) and Hector Henri Malot (1830–1907) to Irish author May Laf fan (1849–1916), fictional accounts of Irish foundlings, waifs and strays dating from the late 1860s onwards are curiously concord- ant on the matter of the inef ficacies of foundlings generally, and post-poor law Dublin’s orphanages and charity institutions in particular. This has amounted to what some historians versed in child welfare have labelled a ‘charity myth’ in Ireland.3 In this instance, monies would be systematically 1 Dierdre Raftery, ‘Colonizing the Mind: the Use of English writers in the Education of the Irish Poor, c. 1750–1850’, in...

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