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  • Familia2015article
  • Familia2015article
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From twopence coloured to penny plain: the legacy of the Ulster Plantation in the historical novels of John Heron Lepper 1878–1952

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 31,2015


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Recent research on the Irish historical novel has argued that the genre moved from romanticism to realism around the beginning of the twentieth century, a transition represented by such works as William Buckley’s Croppies Lie Down (1903) and Frank Mathew’s The Wood of the Brambles (1897). Another way of representing the distinction might be to contrast the historical novel, in which the plot is driven by and intermeshed with wider historical developments as is the eventual outcome (be it tragic or comic), with the historical romance, in which the historical setting operates only as a larger-than-life backdrop for the plot and the resolution involves the protagonist (and the reader’s) escape or tragic exclusion from this larger world – penny plain and twopence coloured.