In light of the geocritical turn in humanities scholarship over the last decade or so, an extensive study of the impact of the Irish Ordnance Survey on modern Irish writing is a timely addition to Irish studies and modernist studies alike. This is especially the case for one as innovative and well-researched as Cóilín Parsons’s The Ordnance Survey and Modern Irish Literature. The British Board of Ordnance’s survey, a project to map all of Ireland that also involved the archiving of local oral histories, receives relatively frequent scholarly attention, typically as an example of British imperial hegemony and surveillance. As Parsons demonstrates, however, there was much more to it than that. Insofar as modernity is a disorienting and rapid social transformation that puts past and present, local and global, into a fraught dialectical relationship, the survey not only records but also enacts a...

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