This is the first comprehensive study of the neglected Irish writers of the Victorian age, whose work was highly popular with the British reading audience and therefore disparaged and largely forgotten from the era of W.B. Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival, with its culturally nationalistagenda, onwards. It is based on a reading of around 370 novels by 150 authors, including William Carleton, the peasant novelist who wielded much influence, and Charles Lever, whose serious work was destroyed by the slur of 'rollicking', as well as Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, George Moore, EmilyLawless, Somerville and Ross, Bram Stoker, and three of the leading authors from the new-woman movement, Sarah Grand, Iota, and George Egerton. James H. Murphy examines their writing in a variety of contexts: the political, economic, and cultural developments of the time; the vicissitudes of the reading audience; the realities of a publishing industry that was for the most part London-based; the often difficult circumstances of the lives ofthe novelists; and the ever changing genre of the novel itself, to which Irish authors often made a contribution. Politics, history, religion, gender and, particularly, land, over which nineteenth-century Ireland was deeply divided, featured as key themes for fiction. Finally, the book engages withthe critical debate of recent times concerning the supposed failure of realism in the nineteenth-century Irish novel, looking for deeper causes than have hitherto been offered and discovering occasions on which realism turned out to be possible.