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    Forging Ireland: German Travel Literature 1785-1850


    Wheatley, Leesa (2015) Forging Ireland: German Travel Literature 1785-1850. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This study discerns the patterns of perception and the modes of representation that underlie the manner in which German travel writers portrayed Ireland and the Irish people between 1785-1850. The focus is on demonstrating how individual authors are indebted to common conceptual frameworks and conventions across the time period, such as the aesthetics of the picturesque and the sublime, the discourse surrounding the savage both noble and ignoble, as well as racial, colonial and national discourses. The analysis investigates how German observers ‘make sense’ of what they see in Ireland, and how explanations reveal predispositions, (mis-)appropriations and specific agendas which both inform and curtail explainability. Moving beyond an identification of stereotypes as such, the study shows that while authors conform to similar ways of presenting the ‘new’ and the ‘other’ to domestic audiences, the same tropes and stereotypes can be employed in very different ways, depending on the agenda of individual authors and their own predilections, as well as the historical and political moment in time. The study considers how German observers construct an Irish Volk, Nation and Volksgeist, whom they count as ‘the Irish’, and what criteria constructions of ‘Irishness’ are based on (linguistic, cultural, ethnic, racial criteria). The aim is to discern how a number of discourses combined to forge a sense of an Irish community or collective, no matter how disparate that collective might be. With the emergence of the nation state as a means for political organisation around 1800, whereby a congruency between culture, geography (borders) and political organisation emerged, the study considers whether German travel writers view Ireland as a potential political entity. Thus, rather than investigating how a nation imagines itself within its own discourse, the focus is on if and how an Irish nation is ‘imagined’ into being through outside observation.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Forging Ireland; German Travel Literature; 1785-1850;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > Spanish
    Item ID: 10388
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 16:48
    URI:

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