Chapter

Public Irony, Conservatism, and the British Nation

Yoon Sun Lee

in Nationalism and Irony

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780195162356
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199787852 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162356.003.0001
 Public Irony, Conservatism, and the British Nation

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Romantic nationalism in Britain was strengthened by the discovery of irony's civic potential. As irony became part of public discourse and behavioral repertoire, the awareness of artifice and convention was made compatible with displays of loyalty and deference. This chapter discusses how modern nationalism and the discourse of Romantic irony arose in the same historical context. Irony proved particularly useful in representing the peculiar status held by Ireland and Scotland within the British nation. Rather than trying to obscure the fictive and fractured nature of British unity, Burke's letters and speeches, Scott's historical novels, and Carlyle's reviews and histories rely on the paradoxically cohesive force of irony.

Keywords: Romantic; deference; Ireland; Scotland; Edgeworth; Burke; Scott; Carlyle

Chapter.  17081 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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