ECIS Postgrad Bursary Winner: Elisa Cozzi

Photo portrait of Elisa Cozzi

Elisa Cozzi is a DPhil Candidate in English Language and Literature, The Queen’s College, University of Oxford. Her research explores the literary connections between Italy and Ireland in the Romantic Period. Her broader interests include Irish Romanticism, the Byron-Shelley circle, Anglo-Italian literature, the novel, European literary coteries in the long eighteenth century, and poetics of exile and national identity. She will be speaking about her research at the ECIS Annual Conference on 17-18 June 2022. You can follow her on Twitter @_ElisaCozzi.

Favourite archive:
Probably the Weston Library (part of the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford) so far, but I’m heading to the Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library, in a few months and have heard that that’s phenomenal, so this preference might change soon.

Favourite museum, gallery or heritage site:
Newstead Abbey, the Uffizi, the Dublin Writers Museum, Chawton House, Tate Britain, the Pinacoteca di Brera.

Most exciting place or time in the eighteenth-century:
I will have to say Pisa, Italy, in 1820, just after the Shelleys moved there (the ‘long’ eighteenth century, right?). Or Lady Moira’s salon in Dublin in the late 1790s.

Best online resource:
The Shelley-Godwin Archive, Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition, William Godwin’s Diary, Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE).

Best book of 18th century interest:
Again, not quite eighteenth-century, but Will Bower’s The Italian Idea: Anglo-Italian Radical Literary Culture, 1815-1823 is a fantastic work that had a huge impact on me. I should also mention Claire Connolly’s A Cultural History of the Irish Novel, 1790-1828 and Katie Trumpener’s Bardic Nationalism.

What eighteenth century figure would you most like to have a drink with?
There are very few things I wouldn’t do in exchange for a pint of Guinness with Margaret King Mount Cashell. I could also do with a coffee with Germaine de Stael in Paris or a glass of local red with Ugo Foscolo in the Euganean Hills.

What will you be talking about at the ECIS Annual Conference?
My paper presents the first in-depth study of the unpublished historical novel North and South; or, the Chieftains of Erin, a Historical Romance of the Days of Queen Elizabeth by the Irish radical writer—and former pupil of Mary Wollstonecraft—Margaret King, Lady Mount Cashell (1773-1835). Thirty years before Walter Scott popularised the genre, Mount Cashell started her historical novel (set in sixteenth-century Ireland on the cusp of the Tudor conquest) in Dublin in the 1790s, when she became involved in Irish revolutionary politics and actively campaigned against the Act of Union. She then interrupted it and resumed it in Pisa, Italy, where she settled in voluntary exile and befriended the Shelley Circle in the 1820s. Mount Cashell’s transnational historical fiction originated at the crossroads of post-Union Ireland and pre-Unification Italy, at a crucial period in the development of the novel as a literary form. First discovered in a private Italian archive in the 1990s, the Chieftains of Erin manuscripts had never been thoroughly examined by literary scholars. My paper will situate Mount Cashell’s work in the field of Eighteenth-century Irish Studies and shed light on neglected Anglo-Irish-Italian literary networks in the early nineteenth century.