Centuries before W. B. Years wove Indian, Japanese, and Irish forms together in his poetry and plays, Irish writers found kinships in Asian and West Asian cultures. This book maps the unacknowledged discourse of Irish Orientalism within Ireland's complex colonial heritage. Relying on cultural and postcolonial theory, Joseph Lennon examines Irish impressions of Asia and West Asia, understood together as the Orient in the West. British writers from Cambrensis to Spenser depicted Ireland as a remote border land inhabited by wild descendants of Asian Scythians - barbarians to the ancient Greeks. Contemporaneous Irish writers likewise borrowed classical traditions, imagining the Orient as an ancient homeland. Lennon traces Irish Orientalism through origin legends, philology, antiquarianism, historiography into Irish literature and culture, exploring the works of Keating, O'Flaherty, Swift, Vallancey, Sheridan, Moore, Croker, Owenson, Mangan, de Vere, and others. He focuses on a key moment of Irish Orientalism - the twentieth-century Celtic Revival - discussing the works of Gregory, Casement, and Joyce, but focusing on Theosophist writers W. B.
Yeats, George Russell, James Stephens, and James Cousins.