A New Anatomy of Ireland

The Irish Protestants, 1649–1770

Toby Barnard

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What was life like for Irish Protestants between the mid-seventeenth and the late-eighteenth centuries? How did experiences differ for peers, squires, and gentlemen, for soldiers and shopkeepers, for women and servants? Toby Barnard scrutinizes social attitudes and structures in every segment of Protestant society during this formative period. His richly textured account, drawing on many contemporary sources, focuses on people, their professions, their preoccupations, and their material worlds. The book abounds with entertaining episodes and memorable characters while reassessing Ireland’s place in the British state and empire and comparing it to other European and colonial societies of the time.
Barnard examines the period thematically rather than chronologically and analyzes how Protestants sought to retain their precarious social and economic ascendancy. His inquiry provides new insights not only into this period of Irish history but also into its enduring impact on the shape and complexity of Irish life.

Toby Barnard is fellow and tutor in modern history at Hertford College, Oxford.

A main selection of the History Book Club

“Elegant, entertaining, richly textured, and groundbreaking. Highly recommended.”—Choice

“[An] elegant, witty, informative and, in true Horatian style, entertaining book.”—John McGurk, Contemporary Review

"Toby Barnard, unparalleled excavator of Irish social history in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, has published the first volume of his magnum opus investigating the origins of this vanishing world, demonstrating its vitality, quirks and variations as never before, and decisively releasing Irish Protestants from the stereotype of the Big House. The richness of this survey lies in the people profiled, through a lifetime of sifting in provincial record offices and family archives as well as more mainstream material."—Ray Foster, Financial Times Magazine

"A remarkable depth of primary material.  This task of discovery and accumulation by itself is an heroic achievement. . . . There is a reassuring physicality about this book, a sense of the recovery of life as it was lived, which blazes a new and welcome path in Irish history."—Alan Ford, H-Net Reviews

"An astonishingly rich compendium of information on and analysis of all levels of Protestant society from the aristocracy to the lower orders with, in particular, much of interest about the clergy. Yet the cover illustration of an 18th-century picnic hints not only at a wealth of detail but at a sureness of understanding and a lightness of touch which Dr. Barnard employs to great effect."—Irish Times

"Elegant, amusing, engaging, and exceedingly informative."—Homan Potterton, Irish Times

"Substantial and fascinating." —David A. Miller, Journal of Religion

"A New Anatomy of Ireland ranks in quality with the best social history of Britain published over the past decades, and its findings on Ireland are interwoven with that literature in the citations. . . . A New Anatomy of Ireland is a major study, which will become mandatory reading for all who wish to comprehend the rapidly changing scholarly contours of eighteenth-century Ireland."—Nicholas Canny, Times Literary Supplement

“The account is fascinating and superbly written, greatly revising our understanding of a very important phase of both Irish and British colonial history. [A] monumental work of social history.”—Robert S. Rust, Virginia Quarterly Review

"It seemed, at times, that the author must in fact be a collaborative research centre, with a team of Arts and Humanities Research Board-funded investigators, rather than a single scholar. . . . [A] remarkable cumulative achievement. . . . The richness of the book makes it impossible to summarise; but the overall result is a fascinating study of the ways in which social distinctions were displayed, debated and policed in Ascendancy Ireland. . . . A New Anatomy is as close as we have got, or are ever likely to get, to a history of everyday life in Protestant Ireland. . . . Brilliantly illuminated."—Ian McBride, EHR

ISBN: 9780300096699
Publication Date: June 10, 2003
528 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
25 b/w illus.
Making the Grand Figure

Lives and Possessions in Ireland, 1641–1770

Toby Barnard

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