This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book includes reflections on the emergence and evolution of print culture, the impact of English and European influences. It also includes the construction and negotiation of Dublin literary identities, the habits of reading in early modern Dublin and the impact of Anglo-Irish political relations. The book constructs an image of what an Irish Renaissance might have looked like through studies of literature, language, translation and theatre-going in the capital city. Through the study of Dublin's 'textual communities', either real or only imagined, the book illuminates the ways in which readers composed and consumed literature in Dublin. Focusing on Spenser's time in the city as secretary to Arthur, Lord Grey de Wilton, the Lord Deputy, the book explores Edmund Spenser's political and social connections.
From its Nobel laureates to its literary festivals, modern-day Dublin lives up to its role as a literary capital. The question of whether Ireland experienced a cultural and literary Renaissance has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years. This book extends the discussion by engaging with the specific literary culture of its capital city. It begins with an argument for the internationalised literary culture of late medieval Dublin by an analysis of James Yonge's 'Memoriale'. The citizens of Dublin engaged with and actively read texts imported from London, as Dublin's own printing was limited. The book presents case studies that establish Dublin as an emerging city of Renaissance literature by focusing on Edmund Spenser's political and social connections and by examining the literature of complaint emanating from late Elizabethan Dublin. It analyses the constructed authorial personae of Richard Bellings, James Shirley and Henry Burnell residing in Dublin, and discusses the concepts of literary friendship. Sir James Ware's scholarly achievements are analysed and his extensive intellectual community are investigated, revealing an open-minded Dublin community. In addition to being a representative Renaissance activity, translation was harnessed in the country as an 'instrument of state', as shown by translations of Gaelic poetry. The Renaissance literary production in Dublin had a multi-linguistic character with Latin orations taking place in the Trinity College Dublin. The book also addresses the question of whether the English-language drama composed and staged in Restoration Dublin is most accurately described as Anglo-Irish drama or 'English drama written in Ireland'.