With characteristic lawlessness and connection to the common man, the figure of the rogue commanded the world of Irish fiction from 1660 to 1790. During this period of development for the Irish novel, this archetypal figure appears over and over again. Early Irish fiction combined the picaresque genre, focusing on a cunny, witty trickster or pícaro, with the escapades of real and notorious criminals. On the one hand, such rogue tales exemplified the English stereotypes of an unruly Ireland, but on the other, they also personified Irish patriotism. Existing between the dual publishing spheres of London and Dublin, the rogue narrative explored the complexities of Anglo-Irish relations.
In this volume, Lines investigates why writers during the long eighteenth-century so often turned to the rogue narrative to discuss Ireland. Alongside recognized works of Irish fiction, such as those by William Chaigneau, Richard Head, and Charles Johnston, Lines presents lesser-known and even anonymous popular texts. With consideration for themes of conflict, migration, religion, and gender, Lines offers up a
compelling connection between the rogue themselves, marked by persistence and adaptability, and the ever-popular rogue narrative in this early period of Irish writing.