‘The Only Irish Magazine’: Early Blackwood’s and the Production of Irish ‘National Character’

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On the ‘Irish Question’ of the 1820s and 30s, Blackwood’s Magazine developed a fearsome reputation for intransigence. Yet its early engagements with Ireland were far from unsympathetic, viewing its peasantry, in particular, as warm-hearted and likeable, though also overly passionate and prone to disorderly behaviour. Arguing for John Wilson’s theorisation of ‘national character’ as a crucial determinant of Blackwood’s representative position, this article analyses the manner in which Maga responded to Irish literature and society in a transperipheral manner, seeking to integrate Ireland more fully into the Union, and to accept its destiny as a partner in Britain’s imperial enterprise. Ireland’s failure, through its poets (such as Thomas Moore) and its people, to conform to this ideal, and its headstrong movement towards Catholic Emancipation under the leadership of Daniel O’Connell, would generate the choleric position that came to characterise the magazine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-271
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2017


  • Blackwood’s; Ireland; Thomas Moore; ‘national character’; ‘transperipheral’; Unionism.


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