chapter  4
Revolutionary Landscapes: Political Aesthetics and Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl
WithSusan B. Egenolf
Pages 23

Sydney Owenson employs the ekphrastic gloss repeatedly in The Wild Irish Girl. The Wild Irish Girl was Owenson's first attempt at the national tale and her effort, though popular, met with mixed reviews. Owenson was an attentive reader of this new discourse, as evidenced by her use of the prominent theorists of the picturesque in her descriptions of connaught scenery in Patriotic Sketches, published the year following The Wild Irish Girl. Owenson explicitly connects forbidding scenery with her novel. The ruin, of course, features prominently in The Wild Irish Girl, and Owenson both exploits and complicates the idea of the ruin as an aesthetic object. Contemporary paintings indicate that the French revolutionary iconography of gardens and flowers was understood in Ireland, and this suggests that Edward intended his gardening activities to be interpreted in that manner.