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The Big House in Ireland: An Illustrated Anthology cover
  • ISBN: 9780304354221
  • ISBN10: 0304354228

The Big House in Ireland: an Illustrated Anthology

by Pakenham, Valerie

  • List Price: $34.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Cassell
  • Publish date: 03/01/2004
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For nearly 400 years, the big country house has dominated the Irish landscape and imagination: poets have celebrated or cursed its power, historians have debated its role for good or ill, and novelists have made it a central "character" in their books. And now many are being revived as hotels and guest houses. Two best-selling authors follow the splendor and the decline of these estates as they spread throughout Ireland during the Protestant ascendancy -- becoming a lightning rod for resentment of alien presence and control. Sumptuous drawings, engravings, paintings, and photographs show interiors and gardens, as well as some of the most colorful figures involved in the homes' construction. Illuminating writings from such notables as Jonathan Swift capture the places, the people, and the larger social and political landscape. Every idiosyncratic detail from the inhabitants lives -- rich and poor -- comes across, including how the Irish relationship between the upper and lower classes has differed from that of the English; the passion for country sports; the landowner's role in the potato famine; and the "troubles" today. Together, words and images paint an evocative portrait of an endlessly fascinating country.
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