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Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century: Similarities, Connections, Identities

Conway, S; (2011) Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century: Similarities, Connections, Identities. Oxford University Press

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Abstract

Britain's separateness from the rest of Europe is often taken as read. For generations, historians have presented Britain as exceptional and different. In recent years, an emphasis on the Atlantic and imperial aspects of British history, and on the importance of the nation and national identity, has made Britain and Ireland seem even more distant from the neighbouring Continent. This study offers a different perspective on eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland's relationship with continental Europe. It acknowledges areas of difference and distinctiveness, but points to areas of similarity. It accepts that both Britain and Ireland were part of an Atlantic and wider imperial world, but highlights their under-recognized connections with the rest of Europe. And, perhaps most ambitiously of all, it suggests that if the British and Irish thought and acted in national terms, they were also able, in the appropriate circumstances, to see themselves as Europeans. Some of the chapters say more about British and Irish similarities to the Continent, others stress connections, and still others illustrate European identities. But, taken together, they present a case for our regarding eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland as integral parts of Europe, and for our appreciating that this was the perspective of many of the British and Irish at the time. Other historians have opended up parts of this subject, presenting a more rounded picture than exceptionalist narratives allow, stressing convergence rather than divergence, establishing important connections and exploring their ramifications; but none has attempted such a panoramic view.

Type: Book
Title: Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century: Similarities, Connections, Identities
ISBN-13: 9780199210855
DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199210855.001.0001
Keywords: Britain, Connections, Continental Europe, Eighteenth Century, Identities, Ireland, Similarities
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1302327
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