Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson) and the Politics of Romanticism Chapter uri icon


  • Jim Kelly 2011. Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson before her 1812 marriage to Sir Charles Morgan) contributed substantially to the development of Anglophone literature in the early nineteenth century, and scholars of Romanticism are most likely to associate her novels with the advent of the national tale. Morgan actively fostered the national tale as a genre, explicitly subtitling four of her five Irish novels as national tales: The Wild Irish Girl: A National Tale (1806), ODonnel: A National Tale (1814), Florence Macarthy: An Irish Tale (1818), and The OBriens and the OFlahertys: A National Tale (1827).1 The national tale was one of the ew genres introduced during the Romantic period that has its origins in the cultural nationalism of the peripheries.2 For Morgan, the national tale proved to be a genre of wondrous plasticity. In The Wild Irish Girl, she casts a transcultural love story, set on the very margins of European society, amid the dialectical tension of weighty historical and cultural notes, complete with citations from antiquarian texts. In Florence Macarthy, Morgan combines the gothic tropes of ruins and disguise with a critique of property rights in Ireland and praise for revolution in South America. She demonstrates a comparable eclecticism in her final national tale, The OBriens and the OFlahertys, incorporating mysterious sedan chairs, secret religious and political societies, and a wild Irishman of superhuman abilities rivaling Frankensteins Creature, alongside a lengthy embedded medieval narrative, The Annals of St.

author list (cited authors)

  • Egenolf, S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Egenolf, Susan

editor list (cited editors)

  • Kelly, J.

Book Title

  • Ireland and Romanticism

publication date

  • January 2011