Literature and the Irish Famine 1845-1919

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Clarendon Press, Aug 8, 2002 - History - 292 pages
The impact of the Irish famine of 1845-1852 was unparalleled in both political and psychological terms. The effects of famine-related mortality and emigration were devastating, in the field of literature no less than in other areas. In this incisive new study, Melissa Fegan explores the famine's legacy to literature, tracing it in the work of contemporary writers and their successors, down to 1919. Dr Fegan examines both fiction and non-fiction, including journalism, travel-narratives and the Irish novels of Anthony Trollope. She argues that an examination of famine literature that simply categorizes it as 'minor' or views it only as a silence or an absence misses the very real contribution that it makes to our understanding of the period. This is an important contribution to the study of Irish history and literature, sharply illuminating contemporary Irish mentalities.

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Page 193 - O! the Erne shall run red With redundance of blood, The earth shall rock beneath our tread, And flames wrap hill and wood, And gun-peal, and slogan cry, Wake many a glen serene, Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die, My Dark Rosaleen!
Page 53 - Our independence must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not support us, they must fall ; we can support ourselves by the aid of that numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property . 12.
Page 210 - Out of every corner of the woods and glynnes they came creeping forth upon their hands, for their legges could not beare them; they looked like anatomies of death, they spake like ghosts crying out of their graves; they did eate the dead carrions, happy where they could...
Page 210 - ... after, insomuch as the very carcasses they spared not to scrape out of their graves ; and, if they found a plot of water-cresses or shamrocks, there they flocked as to a feast for the time, yet not able long to continue therewithal ; that in short space there were none almost left, and a most populous and plentiful country suddenly left void of man and beast ; yet sure in all that war, there perished not many by the sword, but all by the extremity of famine, which they themselves had wrought.
Page 203 - We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride, But God will yet take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died. Now is your hour of pleasure — bask ye in the world's caress ; But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses, From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin'd masses, For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.
Page 91 - Greyheaded old men, whose idiotic faces had hardened into a settled leer of mendicancy, and women filthier and more frightful than the harpies, who at the jingle of a coin on the pavement swarmed in myriads from unseen places ; struggling, screaming, shrieking for their prey, like some monstrous and unclean animals.
Page 141 - The history of a nation is not in parliaments and battlefields, but in what the people say to each other on fair days and high days, and in how they farm, and quarrel, and go on pilgrimage.
Page 195 - THROUGH the long drear night I lie awake, for the sorrows of Innisfail. My bleeding heart is ready to break ; I cannot but weep and wail. Oh, shame and grief and wonder ! her sons crouch lowly under The footstool of the paltriest foe That ever yet hath wrought them woe! How long, O Mother of Light and Song...
Page 207 - ... cases, to have only lashed into a yet more passionate bitterness. In Ireland itself the permanent effects of the disaster differed of course in different places and with different people, but in one respect it may be said to have been the same everywhere. Between the Ireland of the past and the Ireland of the present the Famine lies like a black stream, all but entirely blotting out and effacing the past. Whole phases of life, whole types of character, whole modes of existence and ways of thought...

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