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'.
8 Omnia vincit amor: Gaelic poetry and English books Mícheál Mac Craith Gaelic Ireland is somewhat under-represented in studies of the Renaissance. While two recent volumes of essays, edited by Thomas Herron and Michael Potterton in 2007 and 2011, for example, clearly disprove the commonly held view that Ireland was untouched by the Renaissance, the editors would be the first to admit weaknesses in coverage.1 Each volume, in fact, contains only four chapters on the Gaelic world. Emmet O’ Byrne’s contribution describing the efforts of the Tudor state to tighten
, Adam Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft – these assimilated and adapted by O’Connell, put into words of one syllable, were what really interested the poor people of Ireland.’10 Corkery’s book promoted a rediscovery of the Gaelic poetry tradition as an antidote to an Irish language revival he depicted as tainted by colonialism: ‘What pains one’ he wrote, ‘is to come upon an Irishman who cannot speak either of the Irish language or Irish literature or Gaelic history except in some such terms as the Ascendancy in Ireland have taught him. In his case the Ascendancy have
as Ronald the son of Malcolm gave the Baron Mac Igeill, to witt shearing to day, and binding to morrow.62 Lastly, there is more formal Gaelic poetry.63 A bridge between this and the extempore verse found within the last category perhaps exists in the form of the two quatrains which the Sleat History represents as having been composed spontaneously by the Earl of Mar in the aftermath of the battle of Inverlochy in 1431.64 A number of fragments of classical verse are caught in the amber of the histories. The MacLean History gives ‘The Beginning of Mac Vurich
of Ireland in which the Irish language, traditional music, Gaelic poetry and the ballad tradition assume a new prominence. (Only McAliskey speaks Irish well but, for example, O’Brien reports that she is glad to know a little of the language, as its rhythm is so ‘rich and intoxicating … I remember all the poems I learned in Irish and so on’.16) Several write about their deep attachment to an Irish rural landscape that testifies to the struggles of earlier generations in its ruined monuments or in the almost erased dwelling places even of comparatively recent times
and the Renaissance’, in Glanmor Williams and Robert Owen Jones (eds), The Celts and the Renaissance: Tradition and Innovation (Cardiff, 1990), pp. 57–89, at p. 81. 15 John MacInnes, ‘Gaelic poetry and historical tradition’, in Loraine Maclean (ed.), The Middle Ages in the Highlands (Inverness, 1981), pp. 142–63, at p. 144; idem, ‘The Gaelic perception of the Lowlands’, in William Gillies (ed.), Gaelic and Scotland: Alba agus a’ Ghàidhlig (Edinburgh, 1989), pp. 89–100, at pp. 92–3; Wilson McLeod, Divided Gaels: Gaelic Cultural Identities in Scotland and
eviction and dispossession there was still,4. . .on the side of the poor much reverence for the owner of the soil’.6 Unlike Irish Gaels, confronting an alien landed class, Highland Gaels could not easily break with traditional loyalties. There was a continuing belief in the notion that if the landlord only knew of the circumstances of the people he would provide justice. Gaelic poetry of the nineteenth century demonstrates a tendency to blame factors, tenants, tacksmen, sheep-farmers and even sheep but rarely individual landowners. When the landed class was criticised it
on the richness of medieval and early modern Gaelic culture.32 It has also been established once and for all that Highlanders wore kilt-like garments and tartan long before 1800, and that the modern form of the Highland costume was much more defined by the nineteenth-century Highland regiments than by any English Quakers.33 Also, the faux-Gaelic poetry of Ossian was indeed a new creation which feigned antiquity – but it also made use of some genuine Gaelic oral tradition, a fact that scholars such as Trevor-Roper were unwilling to accept.34 Like most other
Breton Island: 1981. CCBP, 1981. LP. 5 Seamus Heaney, ‘At a Potato Digging’, Death of a Naturalist (London: Faber & Faber, 1966), p. 20. 6 Peter MacKay, Sorley MacLean: Aberdeen Introductions to Irish and Scottish Culture (Aberdeen: AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, 2010), p. 46. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid., pp. 48–9. 9 S. Heaney, A Boy Driving His Father To Confession (Frensham: Sceptre Press, 1970). 10 S. Heaney, Door into the Dark (London: Faber & Faber, 1969), p. 24. 11 MacKay, Sorley MacLean, p. 46. 12 Sorley MacLean, ‘On realism in Gaelic poetry’, in
At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.