Paddy and Mr. Punch: Connections in Irish and English History (Penguin history)

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9780140171709: Paddy and Mr. Punch: Connections in Irish and English History (Penguin history)

Elizabeth Bowen, one of the writers considered in this book, described the relationship of Ireland and England as 'a mixture of showing-off and suspicion, nearly as bad as sex'. In these essays Roy Foster explores the patterns of resentment, exploitation, dependence and rejection which were created by centuries of proximity, colonization and emigration. Often seen through the individual experiences of people 'caught' between England and Ireland (a varied gallery including Randolph Churchill, Thackeray, Trollope, Yeats, Parnell and the notorious Mrs O'Shea), these intersections also cut across subjects like the representation of the Irish in Victorian journalism and fiction, the roots of constitutional nationalist agitation, and the making of literary reputations. The last essay, 'Marginal Men and Micks on the Make', is a wide-ranging discussion of the uses of exile, both to and from Ireland. Against the cut and dried stereotypes of Anglo-Irish relations, an overall ambiguity is asserted here, whether the topic examined is the flawed structure of the Act of Union, the way words are used in Irish political rhetoric, or the divided allegiances of Parnell, Yeats and Bowen. These closely linked essays stress assonances as well as dissonances, and provide a commentary on neglected aspects of literary history and national identity.

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About the Author:

Roy Foster was born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1949, and educated in both Ireland and the United States. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he was a foundation scholar in history, he subsequently became Professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck College, University of London, as well as holding visiting fellowships at St Anthony's College, Oxfrd, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Princeton University. In 1991 he became the first Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and was elected a Fellow of Hertford College. His books include Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family (1976) which is also available through Faber Finds, Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life (1981), Modern Ireland 1600 - 1972 (1988), The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland (1989) and a two-part biography of W.B. Yeats which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

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