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Reinterpreting Emmet
Essays on the Life and Legacy of Robert Emmet

Anne Dolan (editor)
Patrick M. Geoghegan (editor)
Darryl Jones (editor)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
9th October 2007

Author Biography

Anne Dolan and Patrick M. Geoghegan lecture in modern history at Trinity College Dublin Darryl Jones is Senior Lecturer in English at Trinity College Dublin.


Robert Emmet's life, death, and immediate elevation into the pantheon of Irish nationalist heroes are well known. These essays on Emmet's life and legacy, however, demonstrate a new interdisciplinary approach to studies of the Irish nationalist hero. "Reinventing Emmet" includes essays on commemoration, literature, legal history and aspects of the Emmet legacy not explored elsewhere, such as studies of his influence on American culture, and draws on research from young as well as established scholars. Robert Emmet is an Irish (and Irish-American) nationalist icon. Although Emmet's rebellion of 1803 was an embarrassing failure, his speech from the dock prior to his execution for high treason has captured national and international imagination. The trial, the speech, and the image of Emmet have in many ways superseded his actual achievements, and have been perpetually reproduced across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, culminating in the bicentenary of Emmet's rebellion in 2003. But what is Emmet's legacy? Is there more to this iconic figure than a failed rebellion and a memorable speech?