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«Poor Green Erin»

German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke

Eoin Bourke

The area of 19 th -century German travel writing on Ireland has received widespread scholarly attention over the years in treatises in both English and German, but these efforts were directed largely at fellow-scholars and formed part of an academic discourse on travel, interculturality and alterity. This book, on the other hand, is conceived of more as a reader for the general public than as an academic treatise, presents a surprisingly extensive body of comments drawn from German and Austrian sources from between 1783 and 1865 and lets them «talk for themselves». Some of these remarkably empathetic and well-founded eye-witness accounts were translated into English already in the 19 th century by people like Sarah Austin and Sir Lascelles Wraxhall, but the editor has re-translated them to remove varying degrees of antiquatedness of formulation and has added other accounts that were hitherto largely unknown to the non-German-speaking reading public.
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19 Jakob Venedey (1843)

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Venedey (1805-1871) was a journalist and historian. A democratic republican and anti-Prussian activist from the Rheinland, he was imprisoned in 1832 for holding an allegedly inflammatory speech at the Hambach Festival of that year. He escaped from the prison in Frankenthal and settled in Paris. While there, he was commissioned by the Brockhaus publishing house to travel to Ireland and report on Daniel O’Connell and the Repeal Movement. He spent some three months in Ireland during the exciting Repeal Year, following O’Connell from one monster meeting to another. His position is radically opposed to that of Clem- ent. The fact that he is an outspoken champion of Repeal explains why he was shadowed by British agents the length and breadth of Ireland. William Makepeace Thackeray, who in the same year of 1843 had written his own Irish Sketch Book, was piqued by Venedey’s patent dislike for England and his corresponding love for things Irish. In a review of Venedey’s Irland penned for the Morning Chronicle in March 1844, Thackeray kills two birds – France and Ireland – with the one stone in a passage of compressed stereotyping: Herr Venedey has come to England, and has lived, no doubt, in the solitude of London chop-houses, and Aldelphi lodging ditto. He has come from that land of Cockaigne, Paris, in which the foreigners take the first bait, and has come to this busy land to look upon us Londoners in our daily treadmill. We have not said three words to him, but allowed him...

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