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Definitions of Irishness in the ‘Library of Ireland’ Literary Anthologies


Anne MacCarthy

This detailed study explores the significance of the ‘Library of Ireland’, a book series originated in the 1840s by the Young Irelanders Thomas Davis and Charles Gavan Duffy. Focusing on the literary anthologies and literary histories published in this series, the author demonstrates how they attempted to articulate a new national identity for Irish readers based on Young Ireland ideas.
Despite the vast amount of scholarly work on Irish nationalism and literature, very little attention has hitherto been paid to the ‘Library of Ireland’ series. This book recovers the fundamental role played by the series in the creation of a sense of Irish identity, and also examines the publications within the wider theoretical context of anthology studies. It is an original and highly stimulating contribution to the literary and cultural history of nineteenth-century Ireland.

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