Lady Morgan’s Italy: Anglo–Irish Sensibilities and Italian Realities in Post Restoration Italy


Badin, Donatella Abbate


Ph.D; Professor, English Language and Literature, University of Turin

An Irish actor’s daughter, Sydney Owenson by dint of great charm and intelligence (as well as literary talent) not only became the wife of Sir Charles Morgan but a popular novelist and social critic in Regency and Early Victorian England. With her friends Byron and Shelley she shared a great love and interest in Italy. Her guide to Italy (ITALY, 1822) was a landmark of political empathy and understanding for a post Napoleonic Italy in the throes of repression. Persecution and obscurantist rule whether by Hapsburg, Papal or Bourbon auspices was described in depth. Her guide was wildly successful and used by generations of Anglophone visitors and pilgrims.

Professor Badin discusses the importance of Morgan’s fiction and belletrism in developing empathy and interest in Italy’s sufferings and woes. She investigates Morgan’s Low Church Evangelistic pieties and her dislike of Papal power, privilege and practice. Comparisons both direct and indirect with Ireland and the Irish are discussed at length as are Morgan’s acute class sensibilities and prejudices as well as her Irish patriotism. Morgan’s role in the emergence of Italian Romanticism and her textual strategies in creating polyphonic texts (codes, illusions, refutations) are described at length.

Italian Studies, Irish Studies, 19thc history (Italy), Literary movements, Romanticism, travel writing (19th c), Comparative Literature, Criticism(19th C English),
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Cloth: 1-933146-08-7
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6 x 9

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