Anglo-Irishdrama? Writing for the
stage in Restoration Dublin
Stephen Austin Kelly
The subject of this chapter is the drama written for the Dublin stage in
the reign of Charles II (1660–85).1 Dublin during the Restoration was
a city that enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity. It was a hub
of social and cultural activity and had a vibrant literary life. Poetry and
letters circulated in manuscript form and the city’s printers and booksellers supplied literature in print. For those who wished to see literature in
performance, however, the city’s playhouse
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'.
Gaelic writing, neo-Latin texts and Anglo-Irishdrama. Eiléan Ní
Chuilleanáin reminds us that ‘Ireland (like many European countries)
38 Andrew Carpenter, ‘Literature in print, 1550–1800’, in Raymond Gillespie and Andrew
Hadfield (eds), The Oxford history of the Irish book: The Irish book in English, 1550 to
1800 (Oxford, 2006), vol. iii, pp. 301–18, at pp. 301, 306.
39 See Coolahan’s chapter in this volume.
40 Gillespie, ‘Reading print, 1550–1770’, p. 142.
GRIBBEN 9781526113245 PRINT.indd 11
is a place where the