Mary Hatfield Virtual Book Launch

Finding Happiness in 19th Century Ireland: A new book, edited by Dr Mary Hatfield

Happiness is not usually a term associated with Ireland during the nineteenth century.

Immigration, famine, sectarian violence, and political agitation are more likely themes to be associated with this period of history. However, as this new collection of essays, edited by UCD Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Mary Hatfield highlights, even in the midst of poverty, family separation, and war Irish people found opportunities to seek and express happiness. 

The history of emotions has become a central preoccupation across the humanities in the last few years and this volume considers what insights this approach might yield if applied to nineteenth century Irish society. Featuring new research from established and emerging scholars, this collection considers how the idea of happiness shaped cultural, literary, and individual aspirations across the nineteenth century.

The essays discuss ideas about happiness and the nation, prescriptions for finding happiness, and the cultures of expression that shaped representations of happiness in personal correspondence, lullabies, and autobiographies. This collection does not argue that life in nineteenth century Ireland was a universally happy experience, rather it explores how people wrote about their feelings and how positive emotions like pleasure, joy, and happiness influenced broader events. The collection takes an interdisciplinary approach to the idea of happiness in nineteenth-century Ireland using a range of sources from Irish literature, song traditions, familial correspondence, autobiography, and newspapers.

For more information about the book, see:

Liverpool University Press: Books: Happiness in Nineteenth-Century Ireland