Corbett explores fictional and nonfictional representations of Ireland's relationship with England throughout the nineteenth century. She considers the uses of familial and domestic metaphors in structuring narratives that enact the "union" of England and Ireland. Corbett situates her readings of novels by Edgeworth, Gaskell, and Trollope, and writings by Burke, Engels, and Mill, within the varying historical contexts that shape them. She revises the critical orthodoxies surrounding colonial discourse that currently prevail in Irish and English studies, and offers a fresh perspective on important aspects of Victorian culture.
"...impressive scholarship helps to make Allegories of Union a significant contribution to recent critical work attentive to how modern post-colonial theory, with its emphasis on "heterogeneity" and "hybridity," can illuminate 'analogous struggles over meaning in the past.'" Victorians Institute Journal
"...a very timely book that brings concerns regarding gender and postcolonialism to bear on the discourse--specifically political commentary and novels--regarding the relationship between Ireland and England from the 1790s to the 1860s...Corbett's book is impressively lucid..." Victorian Studies