Irish Novels

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."..for we have rights drawn from the soil and sky;

the use, the pace, the patient years of labour,


this is our country also, nowhere else;

and we shall not be outcast on the world."

John Hewitt, The Colony

For many years the Big House in Ireland was very important. In an agrarian society, the estate system formed a backdrop for the economy and culture of the island. The Anglo-Irish Big House is a historical structure that has been employed for various purposes in the literature of a variety of Irish authors. The Big House as a symbol of wealth and social status in Ireland is associated pre-eminently with the Anglo-Irish. The Big Houses of Ireland are very important to gain any understanding of the political, economic and social developments in Ireland between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. Some historical as well as literary interpretations are very controversial - because of the controversial role of the Anglo-Irish community in Ireland. In real life an Anglo-Irish Big House was the home of and represented the wealth and power of the Anglo-Irish community and their supreme authority over the local community. Anglo-Irish "big house" dwellers were the personification of the chasm between the native Catholic Irish people and their colonizers, the Protestant Englishmen.

The "big house" novel is not purely Anglo-Irish concept. Ireland has a long history - Celtic and Gaelic tribes lived in the island already centuries before the English or other occupants came. The same happened in many places in the world - America, Canada, Africa and even in the Baltic States. Conquerors came, saw and took the land and power. Occupants seem to adopt a similiar pattern of behaviour everywhere. When they come, they ...

... middle of paper ... an Introduction by Kathryn J. Kilpatrick. New York: Penguin, 1993

Graham, Colin.,,History, Gender amd the Colonial Moment: Castle Rackrent," in Irish Studies Review (No. 14: 1996, spring)

Johnston, Jennifer. How many Miles to Babylon? London: Penguin Books, 1988

Kiberd, Declan. Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1995

Mcmanus, Karen.,,Prodding Republicanism," in Fortnight (1995, April): 36-37.
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