This article considers the career of little-known
Irish émigré author, Henrietta Rouvière Mosse (c. 1770-1835), who made a name,
if not a fortune, for herself publishing with the popular London publishing
house, the Minerva Press. Like her more recognized contemporary, Regina Maria
Roche (c.1764-1845), who published exclusively with Minerva from 1796, Mosse
garnered a considerable popular following with novels understood as
representative Minerva publications: hackneyed gothic romances unworthy of
critical attention. Like Roche, too, Mosse saw her novels widely circulated,
despite critical disdain, thanks to Lane’s extensive network of circulating
libraries and trade partners. Moreover, although now considered a minor literary
figure at best, Mosse proved a savvy commentator on a number of issues that
impacted directly on the negotiation of Irishness in a period of increased
Irish travel, emigration, immigration, and material circulation.
Through a close examination of works such as Lussington Abbey (1804), The Heirs of Villeroy (1806), A Peep at our Ancestors (1808), and The Old Irish Baronet (1809), this essay
explores Mosse’s participation in the distinct re-location of Irish cultural
production outside of Ireland after the Anglo-Irish Union (1801). As it does
so, it charts the manner in which changing processes of literary production and
circulation created a global demand for the kind of gothic romance produced by
Mosse, Roche, and a number of other Irish émigré authors working with Minerva.
While, however, these texts have commonly been understood as literary ephemera
with little to recommend them to the serious reader, and even less to interest
Irish Studies scholars, this essay understands them as important interventions
into an evolving Irish cultural nationalism more frequently associated with the
national tale and the historical novel than with contemporary gothic romance.