OWENSON, Miss. (Lady Sydney Morgan). BOUND BY TATE OF BELFAST. The Wild Irish Girl, A National Tale.


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By Miss Owenson. Three volumes. London: Printed for Richard Phillips, 6 Bridge-street, Blackfriars, 1808. 12mo. Fourth edition. pp. (1), [ii], xxxiv, 35-261, (2) [ii], 265, 11 (publisher’s list), (3) [ii], 264. Bound by J. Tate, Bookbinder, Belfast (with their rectangular engraved pink label on pastedowns) in contemporary full tree calf. Spines professionally rebacked; all edges marbled. A very handsome set. Scarce.  [L2 14B]

COPAC locates 2 copies only of this edition. Loeber M552 lists the first and other editions but not the fourth.

Proudly nationalistic, to overcome the indifference to everything Irish by the English, and determined to combat the gross misrepresentation of her country, she decided to write and accomplished this in her first major novel. In 1806 ‘The Wild Irish Girl’ was published in London (no Dublin publisher could even consider this book, due to the political climate at that time), it was an overnight success, the one that made her famous, and established her reputation as a novelist. A heavily-researched and footnoted epistolary novel set in a remote and desolate part of Connacht, its planned title was ‘Princess of Inismore.’ The novel is a plea for the oppressed Irish people expressed between the love affair between Horatio, a profligate Ascendancy hero, and the mysterious Glorvina, the beautiful harpist and daughter of the dispossessed local Catholic ancestral chieftain, the prince of Inismore, a survivor of the Cromwellian occupation.


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