Congrave  Press


Introspections The Poetry & Private World of Dorothea Herbert

Portrait of a Lady in Classical Pose, c.1790. Artist unknown

Frances Finnegan

ISBN: 978-0-9540921-1-5
335 pages with bibliography.
Publication date: 2011.

This beautifully produced book contains the “lost” poetry of the celebrated Irish writer Dorothea Herbert, whose Retrospections, first published in 1929-30 more than a century after her death, continues to captivate readers.  By turns amusing and melancholic, the recently recovered poems - and particularly her astonishing mock-heroic epic The Buckiad - are an important contribution to late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Irish literature.

Dorothea Herbert’s Journal Notes (1806-7) are also published here for the first time. A continuation of her Retrospections, they reveal her increasing isolation and derangement, and her unbroken passion for John Roe.  The book re-evaluates his responsibility for Dorothea’s decline; explores the literary influences on her writing, and provides interesting comparisons with the then unpublished work of her great contemporary Jane Austen.  It also examines her Sensibility and her dread of Spinsterhood, and contains fascinating insights into provincial Irish life and manners of the period.

Frances Finnegan (D.Phil. York) moved to Ireland in 1978, and first lectured on Dorothea Herbert in 1994. She was lecturer in Social History at Waterford Institute of Technology and having retired, continues to write and research.         

Dr. Finnegan’s current publications include Poverty and Prejudice: A Study of Irish Immigrants in York 1840-1875 (Borthwick Publications, University of York) Poverty and Prostitution a Study of Victorian Prostitutes in York (Cambridge University Press) and Do Penance or Perish, Magdalen Asylums in Ireland (Oxford University Press).

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