Mary Blachford Tighe: The Irish Psyche by Averill Buchanan (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011), £37.99.
Only since the 1970s, when feminist academics began to rehabilitate neglected women writers, has the work of the Anglo-Irish writer Mary Tighe (1772–1810) become accessible once again, and as a result, she's been enjoying something of a scholarly renaissance. Yet much of this renewed interest relies heavily on 19th-century accounts of her life and work, while her unpublished work – several dozen short poems and her manuscript novel Selena – remains unexamined.
This book brings together previously overlooked archives and makes extensive use of important new material to reconstruct Tighe's life and review the entire corpus of her work in context. By piecing together evidence from family memoirs, correspondence, other contemporary accounts and, crucially, Tighe's own manuscripts, Averill Buchanan has restored Tighe to her historical and literary context, thereby facilitating a new understanding of her work.