Circe’s Cup

Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Writing about Ireland

Clare Carroll

Critical Conditions: Field Day Essays and Monographs

Circe’s Cup is a collection of eight essays that investigate the role writing played in transforming early modern Irish culture. This radical new assessment of culture and conflict in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ireland covers a wide range of topics, including ethnography, translation practices, and political philosophy. Taking its title from the metaphor of “Circe’s Cup,” which was used by Old and New English writers to describe the corrupting influence they attributed to Irish culture, this collection presents a new perspective on colonial theory.

Clare Carroll’s essays cross disciplines, cultures, and languages to examine various modes of discourse, such as those of gender, religion, and ethnicity. History, poetry, philology, and political science are read side by side to ferret out examples of cultural change. Carroll’s account considers both English and Irish language sources, and contrasts them to French, Spanish, and Italian texts. Circe’s Cup argues for the need to see similarities between Irish and English texts, while at the same time focusing on the sharp, and often irreconcilable, difference between the two.

CLARE CARROLL is chair of the Comparative Literature Department in Queens College, City University of New York.

Reviews

“Clare Carroll is a learned and insightful scholar of early modern Ireland….” — The Sixteenth Century Journal

“This book does a lot….” — Renaissance Quarterly