The Irish Famine as Represented in Nineteenth-Century Literature Overviews - Essay


(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Margaret Kelleher (essay date 1995)

SOURCE: "Irish Famine in Literature," in The Great Irish Famine, edited by Cathal Póirtéir, Mercier Press, 1995, pp. 232-47.

[In the following excerpt, Kelleher surveys Famine novels and poetry, maintaining that one of the primary issues concerning nineteenth-century Famine literature is the fulfillment of "its role in preserving and shaping the memory of famine for succeeding generations. "]

In William Carleton's famine novel, The Black Prophet, the narrator hesitates before the task of describing a famine victim with the exclamation, 'But how shall we describe it?'1 Such a question...

(The entire section is 7799 words.)