John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne

Essays on text and context

This collection of sixteen essays, the first devoted to John Derricke’s work, offers new readings of, and new sources behind, The Image of Irelande: With a Discoverie of Woodkarne (1581), all to better explicate facets of this difficult and complex book. While prior scholarship on Derricke was largely confined to commentary on the illustrations, the essays in this volume encompass a broad range of approaches to the Image of Irelande in its entirety. Although on the face of it, The Image is blatantly pro-Sidney and anti-Irish propaganda, and has always been so received, the essays in this collection combine to suggest that Derricke’s book is in fact far more culturally and politically daring than has been assumed, with a highly sophisticated textual and visual presentation only now brought into focus. In addition to scrutinizing Derricke’s poetic and iconographic practices, the essays include insights from architecture and archaeology, print history and reading practices, studies of civic display and colonial ideologies. The collection, divided into five sections (Ideologies, Archaeologies, Print and publication, Influences, and Interpretations), establishes a basis on which to build future analyses of Derricke’s enigmatic book.

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