The Wild Irish Girl : A National Tale

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Thank You for submitting your response. For we are not permitted, like the protestant ministers, to perform the last solemn office for our departed fellow creatures. His aristocratic origins bar him from making profit, and when he is dogged by creditors, he suffers the humiliation of being imprisoned for debts like a common criminal.

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His understanding may be convinced, but his spirit will never be subdued. Yet, as the priest underlines repeatedly, this does not mean that his people are ungovernable, and he considers that their loyalty to the Stuarts is a good example of their loyalty. What is particularly striking is that, like most female writers of her time, she never calls for insurrection and never advocates violence. On the contrary, the Irish characters are presented as innocent victims oppressed by a barbarous system.

It is obvious that Sydney Owenson aimed at moving the average English reader to tears by denouncing the injustice of their treatment. The trick works on Horatio, just as it had worked before on his father as we learn in the end. However, what the author also demonstrates is that the language, manners, music and arts are all subversive weapons against the colonial forces.

To give more weight to such considerations the author presents them on an equal footing with the modern Greeks.

Wild Irish Girl

For her part, the author of The Wild Irish Girl has an answer for everything to account for the state of Ireland. For example, when Horatio shows some perplexity at finding no trace of the distant past of Celtic architecture, Father John points out:. The ancient Irish, like the modern, had more soul , more genius, than worldly prudence, or cautious calculating forethought. The feats of the hero engrossed them more than the exertions of the mechanist; works of imagination seduced them from pursuing works of utility. By giving the Irish such a heroic and artistic status, the priest once more underlines their spiritual superiority over the English.

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Many years later, Oscar Wilde among others developed a similar theory at the end of the nineteenth century. In this narrative, the English characters are far from glorious because in fact they use a gross stratagem to get themselves accepted by their Irish hosts. The Earl of M— claims to be a mysterious stranger defending the Irish cause, and Horatio plays the part of a poor travelling artist.

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  • However they also feel terribly guilty even though they try to justify their acts in the conclusion of the novel. Moreover, the father and the son are, although unwittingly, rivals in love, and they both want to marry Glorvina. The marriage scene described in the last pages of the novel contains the most melodramatic ingredients that we can imagine. Horatio suddenly turns up and interrupts the ceremony just in the nick of time.

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    He realises then that the bridegroom is his own father, while the latter is filled with horror when he recognises his son. At last, the Earl of M— and Horatio have their final explanation, they get reconciled, and the reformed young man marries Glorvina. Yet, the general impression left on the reader is mixed because all things considered, the Irish chieftain and his daughter lose everything in the bargain. Indeed, the union between Horatio and Glorvina definitely puts an end to the ancient line of Inismore. Some Tories saw in the author a dangerous nationalist, and her mortal enemy was certainly John Wilson Croker, who condemned all her works unreservedly.

    I accuse Miss Owenson of having written bad novels, and worse poetry […]. In the preface of one of his national tales, he expressed his indignation about the unfair comparison established between the southern and northern inhabitants of the island in these words:. From a literary point of view, the impact of The Wild Irish Girl on her contemporaries was tremendous, and the book was also a real source of inspiration for other Irish writers.

    Indeed, the figures of the Prince of Inismore and of Glorvina became actual types. Here too the young English hero, Arthur, who travels to the West, falls in love with the Irish scenery before falling in love with a beautiful Milesian girl named Norah.

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    This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. CrossRef Google Scholar. Google Scholar. Timothy B. It is often embodied by configurations — in maps, in writing, and in images — of colonized geographical regions like the subcontinent of India, or Africa, or Asia, or North America. As very recent work in postcolonial disability studies has demonstrated, colonial subjects and disabled identity structures are linked together in the conceptual workings and ideological development of Empire.